‘Certainly not’: Putin denies Russian missile shot down flight MH17

‘Certainly not’: Putin denies Russian missile shot down flight MH17
Vladimir Putin rejected the accusations by the Netherlands and Australia that a Russian Buk surface-to-air missile had shot down a passenger plane over eastern Ukraine in 2014. The missile was “certainly not” Russian, he said.

The accusations came from the two nations after the Joint Investigation Team (JIT), an international body convened to investigate the Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 downing, released an update on their work on Thursday. The team endorsed an investigation of the amateur investigative group Bellingcat, which claims that the Buk system, that downed the airliner, came from a Russian military base.

Putin, who took part on Friday in a discussion panel on the sidelines of the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF), reiterated Russia’s complaints about the way the investigation is being handled.

Those include JIT’s exclusion of Russia from the investigation, apparent rejection of evidence submitted by Russia, and use of so-called open source evidence, which Moscow sees as inherently unreliable. Russia believes the probe may be biased, as evidenced by the inclusion of Ukraine in the JIT, a nation that may be responsible for incident.

“Unless there is a comprehensive investigation, it will be very difficult for us to accept the conclusions of the commission that is working without us,” Putin said.

“Are you saying that was not a Russian army missile?” the moderator, Bloomberg Editor-in-Chief John Micklethwait, asked.

“Of course [it was not a Russian missile]. Certainly not,” Putin replied.

In its report, the JIT also showed fragments of the missile that supposedly shot down the Boeing 777 plane with serial number included. The Russian defense ministry said the number indicated that the missile had been produced in 1986 and that its expiry date came in 2011. The ministry added that Ukraine, which has a large number of Buk systems, did not get new missiles for them from Russia after gaining independence in 1991.

The allegation that the missile belonged to the Russian military had earlier been countered by the Buk manufacturer, Almaz-Antey. Its real-time experiment showed that the projectile which hit MH17 (Boeing 777) was from an earlier generation and is no longer in service with the Russian military.

READ MORE: ‘Untenable claims’: Russian activists raise more questions about Bellingcat MH17 investigation

Moreover, Almaz-Antey’s findings, which analyzed the angle from which the projectiles entered the cockpit of the ill-fated flight, showed that the most probable location of the launch site could be only on Kiev-controlled territory.

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