Putin faces lawsuit over MH17 disaster

The case would further damage relations between Russian President Vladimir Putin and the West. Photo / AP
The case would further damage relations between Russian President Vladimir Putin and the West. Photo / AP

Vladimir Putin is facing a multimillion-dollar legal action for his alleged role in the shooting down of a Malaysia Airlines passenger jet over eastern Ukraine.

British lawyers are preparing a class action against the Russian President through the American courts. Senior Russian military commanders and politicians close to Mr Putin are also likely to become embroiled in the legal claim.

The case would further damage relations between Mr Putin and the West, but politicians would be powerless to prevent it.

Last week, lawyers from McCue & Partners, the London law firm, flew to Ukraine for discussions about how to bring the case and where it should be filed. Victims' families will be invited to join the action. The case will inevitably highlight the role allegedly played by Russia in stoking conflict in eastern Ukraine.

A representative from the family of British-born Kiwi Rob Ayley, killed on the flight, said "there was no comment".

The father of Mary Menke, an Australian-based New Zealander who was also on the flight, gave his name only as Bill and said he had not heard of any pending legal action.

The family had not discussed pursuing compensation. "We're leaving it just to take its course at this stage," he said.

There is overwhelming, but largely circumstantial, evidence that Russian-backed rebels mistakenly brought down the Boeing 777, killing all 298 people on board, having mistaken it for a Ukrainian military aircraft.

It is almost certain the aircraft was brought down by a Russian-made SA-11 missile fired from a Buk mobile launcher that had crossed into Ukraine from Russia.

- Daily Telegraph UK

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