- EMMANUEL DUNAND/AFP/Getty Images
- Russia’s defense ministry claims it has new evidence that the missile that downed Malaysian Airlines Flight 17 (MH17) in 2014 was fired by Ukrainian forces.
- The Amsterdam-to-Kuala Lumpur flight was shot down by a Soviet-made missile over the rebel-held eastern Ukraine on July 17, 2014, killing all 298 people on board.
- In May, international investigators concluded that a Russian-made Buk surface-to-air missile supplied by Russian separatists in Kursk were responsible for the crash.
- But Russia has repeatedly denied any involvement, and its defense ministry claimed it had “newly discovered evidence” which it says discredits previous findings and pins the attack on Ukraine.
Russia’s defense ministry claimed on Monday it had new evidence that the missile that downed Malaysian Airlines Flight 17 (MH17) in 2014 was fired by Ukrainian forces.
The Amsterdam-to-Kuala Lumpur flight was shot down by a soviet-made missile over the rebel-held eastern Ukraine on July 17, 2014. All 298 people on board, including 27 Australians, were killed.
Remnants of the Boeing 777 aircraft that crashed outside the city of Donetsk in Ukraine have been analyzed extensively, and investigators are still trying to determine with certainty where the missile emanated from.
In May, international investigators concluded that a Russian-made Buk surface-to-air missile supplied by Russian separatists in Kursk were responsible for the downing of MH17.
“The Buk that was used came from the Russian army, the 53rd brigade,” Chief Dutch Prosecutor Fred Westerbeke told Reuters. “We know that was used, but the people in charge of this Buk, we don’t know.”
The investigating team has referenced images and video showing a white Volvo truck with markings unique to the 53rd brigade carrying the missile from Russia to the Ukraine. The Netherlands and Australia have directly blamed Russia for the attack, and have called on Moscow to admit responsibility and cooperate fully with the ongoing investigation.
But Russia has repeatedly denied any involvement, and has instead shifted blame towards Ukraine with information investigators have deemed “factually inaccurate on several points.“
On Monday, Russia’s defense ministry claimed it had “newly discovered evidence” which potentially pins the attack on Ukraine.
According to the Defense Ministry, the serial number found on debris from the Buk missile was cross-referenced with a log book purporting to show it was produced in 1986. The missile was then delivered by rail to a military unit in Western Ukraine and to their knowledge had since not left Ukraine.
The ministry also claimed some of the video provided to investigators showing the Buk system being transported from Russia were manipulated. The ministry cast doubt on its authenticity.
The ministry also claimed to have audio recordings of Ukrainian airspace officials discussing shooting down aircrafts which flew over its restricted airspace, specifically calling out the targeting of Malaysian Boeings.
In response, the joint investigative team said they would “meticulously study” the new information as soon as the documents were made available, noting that previous information provided from Russia had been misleading on several fronts.
Ukraine’s Defense Minister Stepan Poltorak on Monday dismissed Russia’s claims as an “absolute lie” and “another fake story.” Also on Monday, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko signed a decree ending a bilateral friendship treaty with Russia amid deteriorating ties.