The 53-year-old Oleg Pulatov is the third in the chain of four people who would have been involved in transporting the rifle installation that shot flight MH17 out of the sky. The man is said to have been involved in monitoring the anti-aircraft guns, among other things.

Where chief intelligence Sergey Dubinsky can be seen as the right-hand man of defense minister Igor Girkin, Pulatov is Dubinsky's.

The born Russian, also called 'Giurza', is a former soldier of the Russian Spetsnaz GRU, the special units of the Russian military intelligence service. He served in wars in Chechnya and Afghanistan and left the Russian army in 2008.

In 2014, Pulatov was deputy head of the intelligence service of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic and one of Dubinsky's deputies. According to the research collective Bellingcat, he fought off and on as a pro-Russian separatist in the war against Ukraine until 2018. He would now live in Russia again.

Man played a role in guarding the box installation

Pulatov is said to have played a role in monitoring the rifle installation at the final launch site in a field near Pervomaisk, from where flight MH17 was shot down.

Evidence (pdf) for this is, among other things, a telephone conversation that Dubinsky had in 2014 with another suspect (Leonid Kharchenko). In the conversation, the former gave him instructions to drive to Pervomaisk. "Giurza" would join him there. Pulatov led a military division that included Kharchenko.

Pulatov denies involvement

According to research collective Bellingcat, Pulatov said, just after he had heard from the Joint Investigation Team (JIT) in June 2019 that he would be prosecuted, that the separatists had nothing to do with taking down flight MH17.

Pulatov is so far the only person assisted by lawyers. Elina Kutina does that from Russia and the two Dutch lawyers Boudewijn van Eijck and Sabine ten Doesschate from the Sjöcrona Van Stigt office do so in the courtroom in the Netherlands.