The court sentenced all three men to life imprisonment without confiscation of property in the case of shooting down a Ukrainian military cargo aircraft near Luhansk airport in June 2014, killing 49 soldiers aboard the plane.
The judges were reading out their 130-page verdict over two days. In it, they found “LNR head” Igor Plotnitsky and two other militant leaders – Andrey Patrushev and Alexandr Gureev – guilty of committing a terror attack, which was their main accusation at the trial. It was the Prosecutor’s Office that requested life imprisonment for the three suspects.
Also, the court found the commanders of the militants financially responsible to the relatives of the victims of the terrorist attack and obliged Plotnitsky, Patrushev, and Gureyev to pay UAH 500,000 ($18,000) in moral damages to each family of 49 victims of the attack. Also, those sentenced to life imprisonment are ordered to pay legal costs.
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The Russian-hybrid forces controlled the entire nearby city of Luhansk, the regional capital, and they had cut off most of the land passages to the airport. This is why Ukraine attempted to proceed with the rotation of the troops and delivering supplies by air.
According to the court, the terrorist attack with the MANPAD Igla on the Ukrainian plane was organized by Igor Plotnitsky, the commander of the illegal armed formation Zarya at the time, with a group of accomplices.
In total, Ukraine lost 22 aircraft in 2014 amid the Russian aggression in the Donbas, including 12 planes with 3 cargo planes among them.
A few months later, Plotnitsky became the “LNR head” and ruled the Russian-occupied part of Luhansk Oblast from the late summer of 2014 to November 2017. Eventually, he fled to Russia after a conflict with his “ministry of internal affairs,” Igor Kornet, who had staged a “coup” against Plotnitsky.
Plotnitsky remains on Ukraine’s wanted list for years.
The Krasnohvardiyskyi Raion court of Dnipro was considering the case of the downed IL-76MD for more than 2 years since February 2018.
The verdict of the first instance court can be appealed against in a court of appeal within 30 days from the date of the announcement of the verdict.
Earlier a court in Pavlohrad, Dnipropetrovsk Oblast, tried Major-General of the Armed Forces of Ukraine Viktor Nazarov for neglect of duty in the same case and sentenced him to seven years in prison.