US Court Fines Russian Separatist Leader £400m for Shooting Down MH17

February 2, 2018

Igor Girkin, otherwise known by the pseudonym “Strelkov” (“the Shooter” in Russian) in his native country, has been found guilty by a United States court of downing Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 over eastern Ukraine in 2014.

Commander and self-proclaimed minister of Defence of so the called “Donetsk People’s Republic” Igor Girkin, aka Strelok (C), walks with his bodyguards in the eastern Ukrainian city of Donetsk on July 11, 2014. Intense battles raged on July 11 around the airport in the main stronghold of pro-Kremlin insurgents as Ukraine’s new leader laid out tough terms for a ceasefire demanded by his European allies and Russia. AFP PHOTO/ ALEXANDER KHUDOTEPLY (Photo credit should read Alexander KHUDOTEPLY/AFP/Getty Images)

When he’s not participating in live-action role-play scenarios, recreating historical Russian battles, Girkin has been one of the leading voices for Russia’s neo-imperialist movement which seeks to recover the lands of the former Russian empire, including significant parts of today’s Ukraine.  He has also been heavily involved in separatist military operations in east Ukraine.

The Dutch publication Zembla reported on the court’s verdict, which was reached on December 20 2017 by a court in Illinois and demanded that Girkin pay in excess of $400 million to the relatives of the plane’s passengers, all of whom perished in the incident.

In an interview with Radio Liberty, lawyer Floyd Wisner emphasised that “The aim was never really just to collect this kind of money from [Girkin], it’s to try to get justice for these families. To shed some light on this terrible tragedy they’ve gone through. And to get the world to focus on it, to hold the people responsible like Mr. Girkin.”

Igor “Strelkov” Girkin responded that he is not worried by the verdict.  However, he would be willing to help the families of the victims if he “receives an extra half-a-billion somehow”.

Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 was shot down over Donbas region on July 17 2014, killing all 298 people on board.  The international investigative committee Bellingcat came to the conclusion that the plane was hit by a Russian “BUK” missile system that was hastily returned to Russia after the incident.

The rocket was fired from a zone under the control of Kremlin-backed separatist forces in the east of Ukraine.  Investigators have gathered the names of around 100 people who may have been involved in the shooting down of MH17, although the group has not publicly released any of them.

Multiple sources have reported that Girkin boasted publicly on social media about shooting down aircraft from a location very close to where MH17 was brought down.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email