Dutch court convicts three over MH17 Ukraine disaster

STORY: A Dutch court has convicted three men of murder over the destruction of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 in Ukraine back in 2014, during the conflict between Ukraine's government and pro-Russian separatist forces that set the stage for the ongoing Russian invasion.

The three convicted men are two former Russian intelligence agents and a Ukrainian separatist leader.

A fourth man, another intelligence agent and the only one to submit a "not guilty" plea through his lawyers, was acquitted on all charges.

Over half of the 298 people aboard the civilian airliner were Dutch. The convicted were given life in prison and representatives of the victims are calling the ruling a milestone although, all of the men are believed to be in Russia, which will not extradite them.

The convicted were all tried in absentia.

The four men were charged with shooting down an airplane and with murder in a trial that was held under Dutch law.

Phone call intercepts that formed a key part of the evidence against the men suggested they believed they were targeting a Ukrainian fighter jet.

Moscow has long denied any responsibility for the incident and, in 2014, also denied any presence in Ukraine.

On Thursday Russia's foreign ministry said it would "examine" the court ruling, and that, quote, "every nuance matters."

The investigation into the disaster was led by the Netherlands, with participation from Malaysia, Australia, Belgium, and Ukraine itself.