Russia rejects downing Malaysia plane, refutes probe findings
Iran Press TV
Wed Sep 28, 2016 3:50PM
Russia has strongly dismissed alleged involvement in the 2014 downing of a Malaysia Airlines flight over the skies of Ukraine after a Dutch-led investigation indicated the blame rests with Moscow.
In a statement published on Wednesday, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman, Maria Zakharova, expressed disappointment with the findings of the probe, denouncing the inquiry as biased and politically motivated.
"To arbitrarily designate a guilty party and dream up the desired results has become the norm for our Western colleagues," Zakharova said.
International investigators ignored "incontestable evidence" from Russia and prevented Moscow from playing a full role in the investigation while allowing Ukraine to fabricate evidence and turn the case to its advantage, she added.
The Russian diplomat further expressed hope that new radar data from the Russian military would trigger a revision of the findings.
In July 2014, all 298 people on board Flight MH17 were killed after it was blown from the skies over Ukraine during a flight from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur.
Earlier on Wednesday, the Dutch-led Joint Investigation Team (JIT), comprising prosecutors from the Netherlands, Australia, Belgium, Malaysia and Ukraine, said the missile that slammed into the plane was fired from an area in eastern Ukraine, where pro-Russia forces are active.
"Based on the criminal investigation, we have concluded that flight MH17... was downed by a BUK missile of the series 9M38, that came from the territory of the Russian Federation," said Wilbert Paulissen, the head of the Dutch national detective force.
Afterwards, the missile launcher system "was taken back to Russia," Paulissen claimed, adding that over 100 people were under investigation in connection with the incident.
However, Russian arms manufacturer Almaz-Antey rejected the findings of the probe, arguing that they were not supported by technical evidence.
The company also noted that the BUK missile, which downed Flight MH17, was fired from territory held by the Ukrainian army, Russia's RIA news agency reported.
Additionally, General Eduard Basurin of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic echoed Moscow's position on the issue, saying, "The forces of the People's Republic of Donetsk could not have fired at the plane from a BUK system, because we have no such sort of weapons."
The Kremlin spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, also insisted that Russia had provided "exhaustive information" which investigators should take into account.
"The data is unequivocal and on that data, there is no missile. Therefore, if there was a missile it could have been launched only from a different territory," Peskov added.
The downing incident came at a critical time in Ukraine and strained relations between the West and Moscow.
The self-proclaimed republics of Donetsk and Lugansk have witnessed deadly clashes between pro-Moscow forces and the Ukrainian army since Kiev launched military operations in mid-April 2014 to crush pro-Moscow protests there.
The crisis has left more than 9,400 people dead and over 21,500 others injured.
Culprits in downing MH17 will face justice: Malaysia
Meanwhile, Malaysia, which lost 44 of its citizens in the incident, vowed "firm action" against those behind the downing of Flight MH17 based on the JIT findings.
"We have promised that those who were responsible for the downing of the aircraft will be brought to justice," the Bernama national news agency quoted Prime Minister Najib Razak as saying during a trip to Germany on Wednesday.
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