Malaysia rejects Russian involvement in MH17 downing

Photo: Reuters

Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad has rejected the implication that Russia may have been involved in the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 over Ukraine in 2014.

Mahathir says he doesn't think the findings of an international investigative team "is true at all" as it was based on hearsay.

He says Malaysia is "very unhappy because from the very beginning, it became a political issue on how to accuse Russia of the wrongdoing."

The investigation team last year said it was convinced that the Buk missile system used to shoot down the aircraft came from the Russian army's 53rd Anti-Aircraft Missile brigade, based in the Russian city of Kursk.

On Wednesday, investigators charged with murder four people, including a prominent eastern Ukrainian separatist commander.

4 charged in downing of Malaysian airliner

Russia's Foreign Ministry has dismissed charges against Russian nationals for their alleged roles in the downing of a Malaysia Airlines passenger jet over Ukraine five years ago as "absolutely unfounded."

The international team investigating the 2014 downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 announced murder charges Wednesday against three Russians and one Ukrainian for their alleged roles in the attack that killed all 298 people on board.

Photo: AFP

Russia's Foreign Ministry criticized the investigators for using "dubious sources of information" and ignoring the evidence provided by Moscow in order to "discredit the Russian Federation."

It noted that the international team turned a blind eye to Ukraine's failure to close its airspace to commercial flights despite the fighting in the east.

The ministry said despite the investigators' "bias," Russia will cooperate with the probe to "help determine the truth."

MH17 crash probe set to name suspects

International investigators are on Wednesday expected to announce charges against several suspects in the shooting down of flight MH17 over eastern Ukraine five years ago in an attack which killed all 298 people on board.

The Dutch-led probe has said it will first inform families, and then hold a press conference to unveil "developments in the criminal investigation" into the downing of the Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777.

The breakthrough comes nearly a year after the investigators said that the BUK missile which hit the plane had originated from a Russian military brigade based in the southwestern city of Kursk.

The airliner travelling between Amsterdam and Kuala Lumpur was torn apart in mid-air on July 17, 2014 over territory in eastern Ukraine held by pro-Russian separatists.

Ukraine's deputy foreign minister Olena Zerkal told Interfax-Ukraine news agency on Tuesday that four people would be named over MH17, including senior Russian army officers.

"The names will be announced. Charges will be brought, Zerkal said, adding that a Dutch court would then "start working to consider this case".

Zerkal added that the transfer of weapons like the BUK anti-aircraft missile system "is impossible without the (Russian) top brass's permission" and said others would have been involved beyond those being charged.

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