Monday 24 November 2014

Ukraine denies Russian claims war plane was flying alongside Malaysia Airlines MH17

Natasha Culzac

Published 21/07/2014 | 22:51

In this annotated photo dated Sunday, July 20, 2014 provided by Airbus DS/AllSource Analysis, a satellite image shows the primary crash site, at top right, of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 located near Hrabove, eastern Ukraine. Four days after Flight 17 was shot out of the sky, international investigators still have had only limited access to the crash site, hindered by the pro-Russia fighters who control the verdant territory in eastern Ukraine. (AP Photo/Airbus DS/AllSource Analysis) MANDATORY CREDIT
In this annotated photo dated Sunday, July 20, 2014 provided by Airbus DS/AllSource Analysis, a satellite image shows the primary crash site, at top right, of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 located near Hrabove, eastern Ukraine. (AP Photo/Airbus DS/AllSource Analysis)
An armed pro-Russian separatist stands guard near the train transporting the remains of victims from the crashed Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 plane before its departure, with bags and suitcases of passengers seen in the foreground, from the railway station in the eastern Ukrainian town of Torez, Donetsk region July 21, 2014. REUTERS/Maxim Zmeyev
Parts of the wreckage are seen at a crash site of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 near the village of Hrabove (Grabovo), Donetsk region July 21, 2014. REUTERS/Maxim Zmeyev
Railway employees are pictured as they work near refrigerator wagons, which according to employees and local residents contain bodies of passengers of the crashed Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 plane, at a railway station in the town of Torez, Donetsk region July 20, 2014
A message of sympathy for the victims of the flight MH17 disaster, is written on a wooden klomp, a traditional Dutch footwear for farmers, placed together with bouquet of flowers in front of the Netherlands Embassy in Washington, Monday, July 21, 2014. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)
Armed pro-Russian separatists stand guard near the train transporting the remains of victims from the crashed Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 plane before its departure, with bags and suitcases of passengers seen in the foreground, from the railway station in the eastern Ukrainian town of Torez, Donetsk region July 21, 2014. REUTERS/Maxim Zmeyev
An imprint of where a body used to lie on the ground is seen at a crash site of the Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 near the village of Hrabove (Grabovo), Donetsk region July 21, 2014. REUTERS/Maxim Zmeyev
Portraits of (L-R) Jenny Loh, her mother Tan Siew Poh and Popo Fan, who were victims of the Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 plane crash, are seen as a man lays flowers during a silent march held in their memory outside the restaurant, which Loh and Fan owned, in Rotterdam July 21, 2014. REUTERS/Marco de Swart

A senior Russian officer has claimed that a Ukrainian military jet was flying just a few kilometres from the Malaysian Airlines plane minutes before it was downed, while also refuting allegations that it had provided separatists with BUK missile launchers.

In a statement to a press conference today, Lieutenant-General Andrei Kartopolov said the Defence Ministry would like to know “why the military jet was flying along [the same civil aviation lines] at almost the same time and at the same level as a passenger plane.”

The SU-25 was, Mr Kartopolov says, gaining height and reached a distance of three to five kilometres from the Boeing 777.

Mr Kartopolov, a senior member of the Russian military forces, said that Ukraine’s claims that no military jet operated near the site of the crash last Thursday are “false.”

He told the room that the jets “can briefly climb up to 10,000metres [and are] regularly equipped with air-to-air missiles R-60 that can capture and destroy targets of a distance up to 12km and up to 5km as guaranteed.”

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has denied the claims this evening and said all Ukrainian planes in the area were on the ground at the time of the tragedy.

Russian officials say they have evidence of the jet’s presence following images taken by the Rostov monitoring centre, and has urged the US to release satellite images taken at the time of the crash.

"According to the statement by the US representative, they have some pictures from space that confirm that the missiles were launched by the rebels. By nobody has seen these shots," Mr Kartopolov added.

The train carrying the bodies of  victims on its way to an unknown destination.
The train carrying the bodies of victims on its way to an unknown destination.
A pro-Russian fighter guards the crash site near the village of Hrabove (AP)
Monitors from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) and members of a forensic team meet with reporters after inspecting a refrigerator wagon, containing the remains of victims from the downed Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17, at a railway station in the eastern Ukrainian town of Torez
A man holds a baby as he walks next to a refrigerated train loaded with the bodies of jet crash victims in Torez, eastern Ukraine (AP)
Workers carry away a victim in a body bag from the crash site
Workers carry away a victim in a body bag from the crash site

He said that a US satellite was present over Ukraine territory at the time of the crash and and would like American authorities to release these images to the "world community for further investigation."

The audience was shown graphics and video that purport to be three civilian aircrafts flying at the same time at MH17, including a Copenhagen to Singapore flight.

“Ukrainian officials reported that on the day of the Boeing 777 crash there were no military aircraft available in the region, so as you can see, this doesn’t appear to be true.”

He said that Ukraine had self-propelled, anti-aircraft BUK missile launchers 8km north-western from Lugansk, close to the territory controlled by the rebels and that images show it was present on 14 July, but absent on 17 July.

He also denied that the Russian military had supplied pro-Moscow rebels with any weapons, according to journalists tweeting from the meeting.

Sweden’s Foreign Minister Carl Bildt has tweeted: “There are those who remember press conference where Soviet Ministry of Defence denied everything concerning shooting down of KAL007.”

Korean Airlines KAL007 was a passenger plane shot down by a Soviet fighter jet in September 1983, after the Seoul-bound New York flight flew into USSR airspace during heightened US-Soviet tensions.

Russia’s latest attempts at distancing itself from the downing of flight MH17, refuting allegations that it is somehow culpable, could inflame relations with Western leaders.

David Cameron had said that if President Putin failed to adjust his stance “radically,” there could be sweeping sanctions imposed on Russia and its business operations abroad.

Kiev stresses that its military has not used surface-to-air missiles and it, too, has evidence including video recordings of an anti-aircraft weapon being moved across the country by "Russian-backed bandits."

Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk said its "Defense Ministry will provide complete information about the whereabouts of all air defense missiles."

In a statement on the Ukrainian government's website, it said it was committed to a "broad and deep international investigation of the MH17 disaster."

According to Reuters, Ukrainian security forces stand by information it holds that rebels received BUK-M1 missile systems from Russia.

(Independent.co.uk)

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