MH17 Anniversary: ‘Sickening’ video shows pro-Russian rebels ransacking victims' luggage
Published 17/07/2015 | 11:39
Footage has emerged of Russian-backed rebels rummaging through the luggage of passengers killed after flight MH17 was shot down over Ukraine this day last year.
In a video released by News Corp Australia on the first anniversary of the downing of MH17, pro-Russia separatists apparent in a state of confusion as they search through the plane’s remains.
One man dressed in camouflage, speaking a mixture of Russian and Ukrainian, asks where the remains of a military Sukhoi bomber is.
“There it is, it is the passenger plane,” another responds.
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All 298 people on the Amsterdam-Kuala Lumpur flight died when it was thought to have been hit by a surface-to-air missile.
The 17-minute long footage shows militiamen trampling over the charred wreckage site and opening the backpacks of dead travellers, haphazardly discarding neatly folded clothes on the ground.
The film records their apparent dismay as they discover the aircraft was a commercial plane.
A man in black boots and fatigues films as he tours the area, and orders that civilians not be allowed through.
“Malaysia,” he says as he films the wreckage. “Who gave them the corridor?” he adds, apparently referring to the flight path above the war zone.
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“Is it orange?” another man asks, talking about the plane’s flight recorders, which are painted orange to make them easier to find.
The video also shows men, holding guns and dressed in army camouflage, wandering among the downed plane's wreckage, rifling through bags and scattering their contents on the ground.
A militiaman opens a large backpack. “These are clothes,” he says as he pulls out folded jeans and shirts. Other men pick up documents and luggage. “A battery,” he says as men rifle further.
“F**k. Passenger plane was f**ked,” a voice offscreen says later.
Another blood-stained backpack shows a luggage tag with “Australian” written on it.
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The Australian foreign minister Julie Bishop said she was disturbed by the footage, though authorities had not been able to verify its authenticity.
“It is sickening to watch and 12 months on from the downing of MH17 it is deeply concerning that this footage has emerged now,” she said.
The video was obtained by Sydney's Daily Telegraph and published exactly a year after the Malaysia Airlines plane crashed during a routine flight between Amsterdam and Kuala Lumpur.
All 298 passengers and crew on board the Boeing 777 were killed, the majority of them Dutch, but with 38 Australian citizens and residents among them.
The Netherlands, Malaysia, the UK and Australia this month have sought for the creation of a UN tribunal to prosecute those suspected of shooting down the flight.
A leaked draft of the findings of the Dutch Safety Board, which is leading the MH17 investigation, blames a surface-to-air missile fired from a village under the control of Russia-backed separatists.
Russian president Vladimir Putin argued on Thursday against the “counterproductiveness” of creating a tribunal, according to a Kremlin statement.