World

Russia refutes MH17 report

Missile that downed plane was Russian-made, says Dutch report, but Russia claims other countries own similar missiles

Russia claimed yesterday that its experts had not been given access to the investigation into the downing of Malaysian Airlines flight MH17.

It has also expressed dissatisfaction at the findings of the Dutch Safety Board's final report, the New Straits Times reported.

The Russian Ambassador to Malaysia, Dr Valery N. Yermolov, said in a press conference in Kuala Lumpur yesterday that there were still many questions left unanswered.

He said: "We had repeatedly voiced misgivings about how the investigation was conducted, but the situation remained unchanged in this respect."

Russia, he said, has been calling for an unbiased, comprehensive and transparent investigation.

Investigators said the flight, from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur, was brought down by a BUK surface-to-air missile on July 17 last year, killing all 298 people who were on board.

Said Dr Yermolov: "The Dutch Safety Board report did not state the exact point from which the missile was launched, but there were claims in Malaysia that the plane was downed by pro-Russian rebels."

He said there were many other former Soviet Union countries and countries such as Greece that were armed with similar BUK missiles.

He also said that the missiles owned by the Russians do not contain the shrapnel in the shape of butterflies that was found on the MH17 fuselage.

The ambassador said that Russia is ready to work with Malaysia and the International Civil Aviation Organisation to find the truth and continue the investigation to bring the perpetrators to justice.

Meanwhile, for the Dutch-led criminal probe, the top priority is to find those responsible for the crime, AFP reported.

CRIMINAL CASE

Mr Tony van der Togt, international relations researcher at the Clingendael Institute in The Hague, said: "If Russia cooperates in the criminal case, it also means their alleged involvement in Ukraine comes under the spotlight in a court of law.

"They (Moscow) will never accept this," he told AFP.

In the Netherlands, where most of the victims were from, the call to nab those behind the missile intensified after the release of the report.

"What's missing now are the guilty!" said the headlines in several Dutch newspapers.

Dutch media acknowledged that a criminal investigation will be bumpy, particularly if Russia fails to cooperate.


"If Russia cooperates in the criminal case, it also means their alleged involvement in Ukraine comes under the spotlight in a court of law... They (Moscow) will never accept this."

- Mr Tony van der Togt, international relations researcher at the Clingendael Institute in The Hague, on why Russia is unlikely to cooperate with an investigation.


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