MOSCOW, May 30 /TASS/. Moscow has been deliberately accused of being involved in the MH17 crash ahead of important international events, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said, addressing the Primakov Readings conference in Moscow on Wednesday.
According to him, accusations against Moscow were not based on facts. "They want us only to admit that it indeed was our military unit and our Buk missile system - that’s all," Lavrov pointed out. "The investigation is not over yet but our offers of assistance are being rejected," he added.
"I think they decided to make public accusations in light of the upcoming important international events," the Russian top diplomat noted. "They seek to spoil the mood but they are trying to employ useless tools," he said.
Lavrov also said that Australia and the Netherlands had sent an official note to Russia demanding talks on compensations to the families of the crash victims though the investigation had released only preliminary conclusions. "What do they mean by that? How can they expect us to deal with them normally when they show such an approach?" the Russian foreign minister said. "They should learn good manners. I have already said that many have lost the culture of diplomacy. It is a sad thing which seems to be contagious," he noted.
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.
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."