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Dutch name two Russian speakers in MH17 probe

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The Hague: Dutch prosecutors, for the first time in their long inquiry, today released the names of two Russian-speaking men in connection with the MH17 disaster after investigators found the missile to down the plane had been transported from Russia.

The inquiry is “especially looking for more information” on two people, Dutch investigators said hours after releasing a report into their initial criminal findings.

The men used the pseudonyms of “Orion” and “Delfin” but have been respectively identified as Andrey Ivanovich and Nikolay Fiodorovich, according to a statement published on the Dutch police’s website.

It is the first time that the probe, which also includes investigators from Australia, Belgium, Malaysia and Ukraine, has named individuals in relation to the attack.

The inquiry team released five wiretapped conversations in Russian “in which these people participate,” the statement said.

But, it stressed, “there is no evidence that these calls are directly related to the shooting down of MH17.”

However, if people recognise the voices, know either of the individuals or have any “information concerning these people or their connection to the BUK (missile) that allegedly shot down MH17,” they should contact investigators immediately, the statement said.

“If you are concerned about your safety, various protective measures can be taken,” the investigators promised.

English transcripts of the conversation show two men talking about a “convoy” moving in the direction of an airport, at Sabivka near Luhansk in eastern Ukraine.

The Boeing 777 passenger jet was brought down over rebel-held eastern Ukraine in July 2014 on a routine flight from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur, killing all 298 people on board including 196 Dutch citizens.

The inquiry team concluded Wednesday that the missile that shot down the plane came from a battery that was transported from Russia across the border into Ukraine and taken back after the launch.

The preliminary criminal findings also said around 100 people are under investigation for playing “an active role” in the incident and confirmed the missile was fired from a field which at the time was in territory held by pro-Moscow rebels, who are battling Kiev.

Russia immediately described the report as “biased”, while Ukraine said it proved Moscow’s direct involvement in the tragedy.

The pro-Russian separatists have denied having fired the missile, denying possessing such a weapon.

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