Wednesday, July 24

JIT statement on MH17: ‘Regrettable’for Russia, ‘definitive answer’ for Ukraine

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The JIT named four suspects to be charged over the death of the passengers and crew on board Malaysia Airlines flight MH17. Bernama Photo

KUALA LUMPUR: Russia has called the statement by the Dutch-led Joint Investigation Team (JIT) on Wednesday of the alleged involvement of Russian servicemen in the Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 tragedy in 2014 as “utterly regrettable”.

“The JIT continues to put forward not entirely reasonable arguments, some of which are based on dubious information sources. Meanwhile, the data submitted to the investigation by Russia continues to be willfully ignored,” it said in a statement.

The statement was made available by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation on Wednesday through its embassy in Kuala Lumpur.

Russia also denied the accusation made by JIT representatives that it has been withholding full cooperation.

“From the very first day of the tragedy, Russia has been vitally interested in finding the truth and willing to help the investigation in every respect. Russia actively cooperated with the Netherlands and presented all information it had on the MH17 crash,” it said.

In addition, Russia questioned the reduction of its efforts to a secondary role while Ukraine is a full participant in the JIT.

“Nevertheless, the Russian Federation will continue assisting the investigation so that the truth about the MH17 crash is established and the real culprits are duly punished,” the statement said.

Meanwhile, a statement to Bernama by the Embassy of Ukraine in Malaysia said the JIT announcement regarding the case are of key importance as “they provide definitive answer” on the origin of the weapon used to shoot the plane as well as the organiser of the operation.

“Ukraine would like to highlight the fact that the prosecution of suspects in the case of premeditation and committing of crimes related to the shooting down of MH17 is inextricably linked with Russia’s responsibility as a state for violating a number of conventions, thus making these crimes possible.

“Among those, in particular, is the violation of the International Convention for the Suppression of the Financing of Terrorism, which is the subject of court trial of Ukraine against Russia in the International Court of Justice,” it said.

The JIT, established by the Netherlands, Australia, Belgium, Malaysia and Ukraine, has been leading the investigation since the Russian Federation vetoed the draft United Nation Security Council (UNSC) Resolution, initiated by Malaysia in July 2015, calling for an international tribunal, it said.

“We call on the Russian Federation to acknowledge its responsibility for supplying the arms and to cooperate with the investigation, as stipulated by UNSC Resolution 2166 of July 17, 2014,” the Ukrainian embassy said in the statement.

A New York Times report on Wednesday stated that JIT announced charges for the downing of Flight MH17 against Igor Girkin, a former colonel in the Federal Security Service (FSB) of Russia; and Sergey Dubinsky and Oleg Pulatov, who both worked for the Russian military intelligence agency known as the GRU.

The report added that prosecutors also charged Leonid Kharchenko, a Ukrainian citizen who led a Russian-backed separatist unit under the command of Dubinsky.

Flight MH17 was on its way to Kuala Lumpur from Amsterdam when it was shot before crashing near Torez in Donetsk Oblast, Ukraine – about 40km from the Russian border – on July 17, 2014.

The incident killed 298 people, including 15 crew members.

JIT said the team was convinced that a BUK TELAR missile was used to down MH17 and that it originated from the 53rd Anti-Aircraft Missile Brigade (53rd Brigade), which is a unit of the Russian Army in Kursk in the Russian Federation. — Bernama