'Anything can be fabricated': Retired Russian general on accusations of involvement in MH17 crash
"Anyone can claim whatever he or she wants, and no one's mouth can be shut. These days, everyone writes or says whatever he or she thinks. As for me, I haven't been anywhere even near Ukraine in 2014. Since 2012, I never traveled outside Yekaterinburg [a city in Russia's Ural mountains]," the retired lieutenant-general told RT Russian.
The high-ranking military official, who took part in two Chechen wars in the 1990s and 2000s, said he had been in retirement according to his age and Russian laws since January 2014. "I have no idea who has made this [allegation] up and at whose order," Tkachyov told RT, adding: "Now, anything can be faked and fabricated."
Last week, a group of journalists that includes the British Bellingcat team, partnered with a US McClatchy DC Bureau and the Insider based in Moscow, published reportsclaiming that they had identified a "Russian Colonel General" as a "key figure" in the MH17 case.
Having used "open source research, investigative journalism, and forensic voice analysis," they asserted that the Russian military man is the person previously only known as 'Delfin' (Dolphin) – a callsign heard in intercepted phone calls allegedly dealing with military action in southeastern Ukraine. In the recordings, “Delfin” is apparently discussing some movements of military forces with another unidentified person, both of them speaking Russian.
“Delfin” is "a key figure sought by the Joint Investigation Team (JIT)" which deals with the crash, Bellingcat's report claims, adding however that "his exact role and importance for the MH17 case has not been made public so far." Having concluded that Tkachyov "was by far the most likely candidate to be Delfin," the journalists deceived the Russian military official to obtain his voice samples. They interviewed Tkachyov "under the cover of writing a story" on his activities at a Yekaterinburg military school. They then gave the samples for forensic voice analysis to two centers, one in the US and another in Lithuania. "A probable match" has been established, the report said.
Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 with 298 people on board crashed in July 2014 while flying in Ukrainian airspace. Hostilities between Ukrainian troops and anti-government paramilitary forces were ongoing in the area at the time. Almost three and a half years after the tragedy, an international inquiry carried out by the JIT, comprising aviation experts and investigators from the Netherlands, Belgium, Australia, Malaysia and Ukraine, is still unable to reach firm conclusions and has failed to name a single suspect.