MINSK, May 29. /TASS/. The missile used to shoot down flight MH17 in Donbass, could not have been launched from the area mentioned by the Dutch-led investigation, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said in Minsk on Tuesday.
While commenting on preliminary conclusions recently announced by the Joint Investigation Team (JIT) looking into the crash, Lavrov pointed out that the team had rejected "all the documentary evidence that Russia presented more than once." "The results of a field experiment carried out by the Almaz-Antey Air and Space Defense Corporation that produces Buk missiles and the primary data received by radar stations prove that the missile could not have been launched from the area mentioned by the investigation," the Russian top diplomat stressed.
Moreover, in Lavrov’s view, all the accusations in the case that are being made against Russia even though the investigation is not over, are incorrect and aimed at playing on the hate of Russia.
"It is at least incorrect to make such statements at the current stage," the Russian foreign minister said. "But they are tempted to play on the hate against Russia and draw the world’s attention to them, distracting their own people and the global community from the issues they are facing," he said.
The Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17, a Boeing-777 passenger plane travelling from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur, was shot down on July 17, 2014, over Ukraine’s eastern region of Donetsk. The crash killed all the 283 passengers and 15 crewmembers. There were nationals of ten states among the dead.
The Joint Investigation Team (JIT) looking into the crash comprises representatives of the Netherlands, Australia, Belgium, Malaysia and Ukraine.
On May 24, the team gave an update of the state of affairs in the criminal investigation, claiming that "the BUK-TELAR that was used to down MH17, originates from the 53rd Anti-Aircraft Missile brigade (hereinafter 53rd brigade), a unit of the Russian army from Kursk in the Russian Federation."
Russia’s Defense Ministry rejected all the allegations and said that none of the missile systems belonging to the Russian Armed Forces had ever been taken abroad. The ministry noted that Moscow had provided Dutch investigators with overwhelming evidence proving that a Ukrainian Buk missile system had been used to bring down the aircraft.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said the investigation was reminiscent of the Skripal case as there was no evidence.
Nevertheless, on May 25, Australia and the Netherlands issued a statement saying that they "hold Russia responsible for its part in the downing of flight MH17." "The Netherlands and Australia are now convinced that Russia is responsible for the deployment of the Buk installation that was used to down MH17. The government is now taking the next step by formally holding Russia accountable," the statement reads.