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Embassy of the Russian Federation in Australia comments on MH17 accident investigation

2019 marks five years since the tragic crash of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH-17 in the South-East of Ukraine. This disaster took 298 innocent lives, including 38 Australians. We extend again our sincere condolences to families and relatives of those who perished in this tragedy.

From the very beginning Russia has been advocating a comprehensive, thorough and independent investigation under the auspices of relevant international organizations. Our country made utmost efforts to ensure prompt adoption of the UN Security Council Resolution 2166, containing requirements to conduct such an investigation.

It is regrettable that the Joint Investigation Team’s (JIT) activities do not comply with the letter and spirit of this Resolution. The investigation does not recognize the key role of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO). All attempts of Russia to launch discussions on various aspects of the investigation within the UN Security Council have been blocked.

The JIT’s work raises many questions. First, Russia was strictly barred from joining the team. Our country’s access to documents and materials is very limited. On what ground was Ukraine invited to the group as a full-fledged member, being a clearly interested party? Why was this country authorized to work on the “evidence base”? Much of the so called “evidence against Russia” appeared to be fakes, fabricated by Ukrainian secret services. 

Second, why does the JIT rely on dubious materials from social media and unverified open sources, as well as cooperation with notorious pseudo-investigators from Bellingcat, who spread false information? At the same time primary raw data of radar airspace surveillance, presented by Russia, which contains detailed information about circumstances of the tragedy, has been dismissed out of hand. Why? This data is the evidence of crucial importance, it cannot be falsified or changed.

Third, why refusal of Ukraine to provide radar data was considered as a matter of course? It is a certain fact that Ukrainian radar systems were operating on that day with a higher intensity. Where is the data of the Ukrainian air traffic control centre in Dnepropetrovsk and transcripts of its officers’ conversations? This centre should possess important information about the MH-17 Flight route. Why nobody interrogated the traffic controllers, who were on duty that day? Why would the Ukrainian side never present information on air-defense systems activities of that day or conversations of military personnel and documents on registration of missiles?

During the JIT briefing on May 24, 2018 its representatives demonstrated fragments of 9М38 missile, which allegedly hit the plane. It is well known, that such missiles were fully decommissioned and disposed in Russia after 2011, but they are still in active military use in Ukraine. Why does the investigation ignore this fact?

Finally, why was Kiev not charged with accusations for its criminal decision not to close the airspace over the combat area in violation of the ICAO requirements?

We would also like to know, why the investigators did not properly react to the message of the USA that they obtain images from STSS satellites, allegedly confirming a missile launch by Donbass self-defence fighters. Why wasn’t this data made public? Does it mean that the version about self-defence fighters’ complicity appeared to be false?

It is strange that almost five years after the tragedy the JIT fails to present any results. It took more than a year to collect all the airplane remnants, mortal remains and material evidence. At the same time a launch of a solid propellant missile could be defined much faster as fuel particles and distinctive marks remain on the damaged object.

Our country is persistently accused of “lack of cooperativeness” with the JIT, “tarnishing” the work of the group and so on. However, unbiased answers to the above questions clearly show that no one can discredit the work of the JIT more than it does itself as well as those who manipulates it.

Nevertheless, Russia remains committed to the UN Security Council Resolution 2166 and stands ready to assist the investigation in order to establish the truth and bring those responsible for this tragedy to justice.