Friday 2 December 2016

Russia appeals to UN aviation body to open new MH17 probe

Published 14/10/2015 | 11:11

The reconstruction of flight MH17 by the Dutch Safety Board
The reconstruction of flight MH17 by the Dutch Safety Board

Russia has appealed to the International Civil Aviation Organisation to open a new probe into last year's downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 over eastern Ukraine.

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The Dutch Safety Board said in its final report released on Tuesday that the Boeing 777 was destroyed on July 17, 2014, by a Buk surface-to-air missile fired from the area controlled by Russia-backed separatist rebels.

Two-thirds of the 298 people who were killed were Dutch, and the Netherlands is conducting the investigation.

The chief of the Russian aviation agency Oleg Storchevoi said that Moscow "categorically disagrees" with the results of the Dutch probe and that it has appealed to the UN's civil aviation agency to intervene.

Mr Storchevoi called the evidence presented on Tuesday "unfounded and biased".

The 15-month probe did not explicitly say who had fired the missile, but it identified an area of 320 square kilometres from where it said the launch must have taken place.

All of the land was in the hands of pro-Russian separatists fighting Ukrainian forces at the time of the disaster, according to daily maps of fighting released by the Ukrainian National Security Council.

Russia and the rebels insist that if the plane was destroyed by a missile, it must have been fired by the Ukrainian military.

Mr Storchevoi hinted Russia believes that some of the evidence has been faked. He accused the Dutch of "hiding important data" from Russia, calling into question the authenticity of the shrapnel and pieces of the missile reportedly found in the wreckage.

Speaking in Donetsk, rebel leader Alexander Zakharchenko denied any involvement in the crash.

"We have said before and we still say that we did not shoot down the plane," he said.

Press Association

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