Russia said claims of alleged Russian military involvement in the fatal crash of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 in 2014 are groundless, blaming Ukraine instead
Russia's foreign ministry said claims by the Joint Investigation Team, which is looking into the fatal crash of the Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 in 2014 and alleged Russian military involvement in the downing of the aircraft, are groundless.
Flight MH17 travelling from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur was downed near Donetsk on July 17, 2014. All 298 passengers and crew on board — including 193 Dutch nationals, 43 Malaysian citizens and 27 from Australia — were killed in the crash.
Russia's findings contradict the Joint Investigation Team which found in May that "Russia is responsible for the deployment of the Buk installation that was used to down MH17".
The investigators concluded that the missile had been fired from rebel-held territories in eastern Ukraine and that "all the vehicles in a convoy carrying the missile were part of the Russia armed forces."
Russia has denied any involvement in the plane's destruction, claiming instead that the missile that shot down flight MH17 had been produced in 1986 and was owned by Ukrainian authorities.
In its announcement, the Russian foreign ministry said that as in the case of other press briefings by the Joint Investigation Team, once again no specific evidence was presented to back up similar previous irregular statements.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said he was satisfied with the investigative team's report and he hopes that four Russian suspects will face justice.
But there are questions as to why only four names of suspects have so far been submitted, as activist Roman Dobrohotov, head of the Internet newspaper The Insider, says:
"They show us only those people where they can prove with documents that they are guilty and sometimes there are different standards for journalists and for investigators and for court. For court you must have much more proof supported by documents. That's why I think it took them so long to give us just four names. But I'm pretty sure that all the people that we mentioned in our investigations - and there are a lot of people who directly work for the ministry of defence - their names also will appear during the investigative team press conference later," he said.