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Malaysia Airlines Flight 17: Former Russian spy takes ‘moral responsibility’ for downing of plane

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By Euronews
Malaysia Airlines Flight 17: Former Russian spy takes ‘moral responsibility’ for downing of plane
Copyright  Euronews
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A former colonel in Russia's FSB security service says he takes "moral responsibility" for the 2014 downing of Malaysia Airlines flight 17, but insists that his men did not down the passenger jet.

Igor Girkin was leading Russia-backed separatist forces in eastern Ukraine when the passenger plane was shot down and crashed in the region on July 17, 2014, killing all 298 people on board.

Girkin and three others have been charged in absentia by the International Court of Justice in The Hague.

Girkin says as military commander in the region he has "indirect" responsibility for the attack – but he insists his forces did not fire the missile that brought the plane down.

The Kremlin has also denied any involvement.

Galina Polonskaya, Euronews' correspondent in Moscow, spoke to Girkin on Wednesday, following a report in the Times newspaper.

“Igor Gorkin has just told me over the phone that he feels moral responsibility for downing the MH17 plane,” she reports.

“But he stressed that he feels this responsibility only as one of the participants of military actions in the east of Ukraine in summer 2014, one among all the others.”

In July 2014 Girkin, back then known as the “Minister of Defence” of Donetsk separatists, was one of the first to report a plane had been downed.

Girkin insists that the rebels who were under his command did not bring down MH17.

“I asked Girkin if this moral responsibility that he feels could possibly mean that Russia was the one to blame, but he refused to comment any further,” Galina reports.

Watch her update in the video player above.