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Dutch Foreign Ministry Summons Russian Envoy Over MH17 Verdict

The special court outside Amsterdam's Schipol airport where the MH17 trial was held. MT

The Netherlands summoned the Russian ambassador on Friday after Moscow accused a Dutch court of a politically motivated verdict in the downing of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 above Ukraine.

Russia's foreign ministry had on Thursday described as "scandalous" the ruling by Dutch judges that saw two Russians and a Ukrainian sentenced to life imprisonment in absentia over the crash in 2014. 

"We have all heard the court ruling. Russia yesterday dismissed that as a political process," the Dutch Foreign Ministry said in a statement to AFP.

"In doing so, Russia discredits the Dutch constitutional state. That is absolutely unacceptable. That is why the Russian ambassador was summoned this afternoon and asked for an explanation."

The trial was held in the Netherlands as the doomed Boeing 777 took off from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur, and 196 of the 298 people who were killed were Dutch. 

The court on Thursday said the convicted men, Russians Igor Girkin and Sergei Dubinsky and Ukrainian Leonid Kharchenko, were part of a Moscow-controlled separatist group in eastern Ukraine.

It ruled that the three had helped obtain and move the Russian-supplied missile that shot down MH17.

Moscow reacted by saying the Dutch court was under "unprecedented pressure" from Dutch politicians, prosecutors and media.

The Russian Foreign Ministry said the trial could go down in history as "one of the most scandalous in the history of legal proceedings with its extensive list of oddities, inconsistencies and dubious arguments of the prosecution."

"The course and the results of the proceedings indicate that they were based on a political order to reinforce the version promoted by The Hague and its associates," it added.

Moscow has denied all involvement in the downing of the aircraft and has refused to extradite any of the suspects, which is proscribed by the Russian constitution.

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