Russia claims it has a new reason to blame Ukraine for the downing of Malaysia Airlines MH17 in 2014

EMMANUEL DUNAND/AFP/Getty ImagesThe wreckage of the Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 is exhibited during a presentation of the final report on the cause of the its crash at the Gilze Rijen airbase October 13, 2015.
  • Russia’s defence 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 defence ministry claimed it had “newly discovered evidence” which it says discredits previous findings and pins the attack on Ukraine.

Russia’s defence 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 analysed 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 defence ministry claimed it had “newly discovered evidence” which potentially pins the attack on Ukraine.

Log book russian defence ministryRussian Defence Ministry/YoutubeRussia’s Defence Ministry purported to show a ‘logbook’ indicating that the Buk missile had been delivered to a unit in the Ukraine in 1986.

According to the Defence 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.

Russia MH17 launcher videoRussian Defence Ministry/YoutubeRussia also claimed that video provided to investigators used doctored footage of the Buk missile being transported on a white truck.

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 Defence 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.

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