At January 1 Ukraine online media UNN was first to report that the Dutch prosecutor would release the names of 120 suspects involved in the downing of MH17. The release of names was supposed to be done at January 1. Which is strange as this is not a working day in the first place. UNN did not mention the name of the source. The name of the journalist who wrote the story could not be found on internet.
In the afternoon of January 1, Russian Moskovsky Komsomolets copied the news but did not quote UNN as source. The article says that an anonymous souce in the Ukraine Ministry of Foreign affairs is the source. A limited number of mainly small Russian media copied the story like Moskovsky Komsomolets (MK) and Echo of Moscow (Ekho Moskvy). Echo of Moscow is seen as a Kremlin critical radio station which has a news website as well. Pavel Gusev (MK editor-in-chief) is a moderate critic, his media is also quite moderate towards Kremlin.
Other relevant Russian media than the two mentioned did not report. Western media did not report either.
In the afternoon, Ukrinform quoted Deputy Prosecutor General of Ukraine Yevhen Yenin.
“As of now, the investigative actions in the territory of Ukraine have been practically finished. However, at the request of our Dutch colleagues, we plan to take additional measures to find the evidence that is necessary to ensure the prosecution in the trial in the court of the Netherlands,” he said.
Yenin also noted that the representatives of the Prosecutor General’s Office of Ukraine would meet in ten days with a delegation of the Public Prosecutor’s Office of the Netherlands. The parties would discuss the plans of the Joint Investigation Team in the MH17 case for the near future.
While Yevhen Yenin did not confirm the release of names of 120 suspects, this article made the news about the publication of names of suspect more likely. Also Ukraine 112 reported the statements, without checking if the release of names was true.
I decided to call Wim de Bruin, spokesman of the Dutch Public Prosecution Service. He was very clear. He stated “articles in press about a list of 120 suspects of MH17 downing are false. JIT wil never make public a list of suspects before a courtcase starts”.
About one hour later, Russian Moskovsky Komsomolets reported about the fake news while quoting my Tweet.
He writes that the reports in media are an attempt by Russian propaganda. Interesting enough the first to report was Ukraine media. I could only find one Russian media reporting. And many Ukraine media copied the news without contacting spokesman Wim de Bruin to check if the news was true. Why would Russian media start this rumour in the first place?
In fact, I found in Russian press more news about the denial of the release of names of suspects than in Ukraine media.
The comment by Yevhen Yenin reads:
The announcement in the media that the intention to announce the names of the mythical 120 people involved in the downfall of the Malaysian Boeing MH17 is inconsistent with reality and is nothing other than an attempt by Russian propaganda to divert attention from accusations of the Smolensk tragedy.
The governments of Ukraine and the Netherlands continue to coordinate efforts to bring the perpetrators / states to responsibility for the terrorist attack in the sky over the Donbas
Kiev Post reported about the fake news here.
However, the number of 120 suspects is not fake! In March 2017, Ukraine Ukrinfom published an interview with Dmitry Storozhuk, First Deputy Prosecutor General. He states that the investigation team identified 120 people
Ukrinform did another interview with Dmitry Storozhuk, First Deputy Prosecutor General at December 13, 2017.
Storozhuk confirms the number of 120 suspects has not increased.
In the late afternoon of January 2 2018, Russian press agency Tass reported that Dutch spokesman Wim de Bruin of JIT denied it would release names of suspects. Also Russian Life.ru reports the denial of the release by Dutch prosecutor.
Russian press agency Ria quoted the Ukraine prosector saying that there will be around 12 to maximum 25 suspects. Which is remarkable as Dmitry Storozhuk at December 11 2017 said the number of 120 suspects had not increased.by