A Russian warlord who was accused of shooting down the MH17 passenger plane seven years back is now made frontline commander in the Ukraine war. Igor Girkin, who went silent for the past week, was pictured bidding farewell to his wife.
"Girkin's silence since October 10 is explained by the fact that after eight years he was allowed to leave for the war zone. He went to fight in one of the volunteer battalions as chief of staff or deputy commander," said military reporter Yuri Kotenok.
Girkin Warned That Putin Could Be Toppled Due To Military Defeats
Accusing Russian Defense Minister Sergei of incompetence, Girkin threatened that Russian President Vladimir Putin could be toppled due to military defeats.
"All it will take is an outbreak of inflation or a few more military defeats to finish him off," he posted about Putin.
Girkin Was Defense Minister of Donetsk People's Republic in 2014
Girkin also held the position of defense minister of the self-styled Donetsk People's Republic (DNR) when Malaysian Airlines Flight 17 was shot down by a Russian-made Buk surface-to-air missile.
The passenger plane was struck by a missile over Ukraine's Donbas region in July 2014. In the tragic incident, 298 people died including 80 children. The plane flew from Amsterdam and was enroute to Kuala Lumpur when it was blown out of the sky.
Girkin Was Communicating With Russia At The Time of Plane's Downing
In connection with the incident, four suspects were charged with mass murder in June 2019. Girkin, Sergey Dubinsky and Oleg Pulatov, and Ukrainian Leonid Kharchenko were the suspects.
As top commander of DNR's militia forces back in 2014, Girkin is believed to have been the most senior army officer who was communicating with Russia during the war between pro-Russian separatists and Kyiv, at the time the plane's downing, according to The Sun.
Girkin told The Times that he feels a moral responsibility for the deaths of MH-17 passengers.
"In as much as I was the commander of the rebels and a participant in the conflict, I feel a moral responsibility for these deaths," said Girkin but he was adamant the separatists under his command "did not bring down the plane".