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Russia sends Netherlands 'new important facts' on MH17 crash

January 14, 11:34 UTC+3
According to the Russian side, Kiev should have closed the airspace over the country’s southeast back in April 2014
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Dutch military police standing next to parts of the wreckage of the Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17, in a hangar at Gilze-Rijen airbase, Netherlands

Dutch military police standing next to parts of the wreckage of the Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17, in a hangar at Gilze-Rijen airbase, Netherlands

© AP Photo/Peter Dejong

MOSCOW, January 14. /TASS/. Deputy head of Russia’s Federal Air Transport Agency (Rosaviatsiya) Oleg Storchevoy has sent Chairman of the Dutch Safety Board Tjibbe Joustra comments on the final report prepared by the Dutch agency concerning the circumstances of the crash of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 over Ukraine in the summer of 2014.

"I am forwarding you for your consideration and taking necessary decisions new important facts that should be reflected in the final report," reads Storchevoy’s letter posted on Rosaviatsiya’s website on Thursday.

The document emphasized that "new important facts obtained by Russian specialists during additional experiments and research pointed to unsoundness and uncertainty of data cited in the final report" on a number of points.

Storchevoy recalled that the letter criticizing the course of the investigation sent to the Dutch side in September 2015, had been ignored.

Ukraine should have closed airspace over country’s east back in April 2014

The conclusion on Ukraine’s responsibility made in the final report of the Dutch side on the crash of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 passenger plane is incomplete - Kiev should have closed the airspace over the country’s southeast back in April 2014, Oleg Storchevoy wrote.

The DSB report published in October 2015 says that the Ukrainian authorities should have closed the airspace over the conflict zone as a preventive measure. Kiev called these findings ungrounded, and Moscow, which generally criticized the Dutch report, on the contrary, supported the Board’s conclusion.

Storchevoy’s letter, made public on Thursday, also says that this conclusion "appears to be incomplete and does not reflect the objective picture of ignoring the scale of risks to civil aviation by Ukraine after unlashing of an armed conflict in the east of the country."

"The decision on the termination of civil aviation flights over the armed conflict zone should have been taken by the Ukrainian authorities back in April 2014, after active hostilities began in the east of Ukraine", Storchevoy’s letter says. According to the document, that's when the confrontation "became active and an armed conflict zone appeared that created danger to civil aviation flights."

Thus Rosaviatsiya criticized the arguments of the international commission that said that only the crash of the An-26 and S-25 planes on July 14 and 16, 2015 was the reason for closing the airspace. Storchevoy’s letter says that due to this the conclusion in the final report on the Ukrainian authorities’ responsibility is "unjustifiably shifted" into a short span of time and "is linked with the alleged bringing into the region of "heavy" antiaircraft weapons not controlled by Ukraine’s authorities." Rosaviatsiya says that the Dutch Safety Board report "fails to present the facts of the presence in the region and use of the Buk air defence missile systems."

Dutch report shifts responsibility for MH17 crash

Dutch Safety Board unfairly shifts responsibility from Ukrainian authorities to airlines and International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) in its final report on investigation into MH17 crash over eastern Ukraine in July 2014, Oleg Storchevoy said in a letter addressed to Dutch Safety Board chairman Tjibbe Joustra.

"The report also unfairly blurs the level of responsibility shifting it from Ukraine to airlines and international aviation organizations, in particular ICAO," the letter published on Rosaviatsiya’s official website said.

Storchevoy stressed that the Dutch Safety Board report "points to lack of reaction from ICAO, other countries and airlines when it came to independently introducing restrictions on flights over Ukraine." At the same time, information about the crash of An-26 military aircraft on 14 July 2015, cited in the report as grounds for suspending flights over the region, was communicated only to Western diplomats and was rather controversial, the Rosaviatsiya head added.

Since April 2014 until MH17 crash in July 2014, Ukrainian authorities "failed to issue official information in the form of NOTAM (Notice to Airmen) which would, in accordance with international standards, clearly state threats for civil aviation security connected with using different types of weapons in the region of the armed conflict," Storchevoy noted.

"Ukrainian authorities deliberately concealed or distorted real threats to civil aviation security from Ukrainian defense ministry’s military activities… As a result, other countries and airlines (including Malaysia Airlines) did not have necessary and sufficient official information to make a decision to suspend flight over the territory of Ukraine," Storchevoy concluded.

Dutch investigators wrongly established type of warhead that struck Flight MH17

Russian specialists confirmed that the Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 that crashed in east Ukraine in July 2014 could not have been downed by a 9N314M missile, Rosaviatsiya agency head Oleg Storchevoy said in a letter addressed to Dutch Safety Board chairman Tjibbe Joustra.

The Dutch Safety Board report presented on 13 October 2015 said the weapon used was a 9N314M-model warhead carried on the 9M38M1 missile. The Board came to the conclusion that the airliner was shot down from the Buk missile system.

"If we assume that the airliner was downed by a Buk missile, then characteristics of fragments outlined in the report are not the same as characteristics of 9N314M warhead’s submunitions," the document said.

Russian specialists said that the mass and size of the two fragments that led the commission to believe the 9N314M warhead was used, "are not in line with field tests and experiments." Moreover, "chemical composition of fragments described in the final report contradicts the conclusion on them being part of the 9N314M warhead."

"Characterizes of punctures on the airliner’s fragments do not correspond to characteristics of punctures that appear at the explosion of the 9N314M warhead," the Rosaviatsiya head noted.

He reminded that field tests confirmed that many punctures of a certain form should have been found on the airliner’s fuselage. "There were no punctures like this on fragments of the Boeing 777," he stressed.

A report prepared by the Dutch-led international commission indicated no distance, at which a fatal missile was detonated, Oleg Stotchevoy went on to say.

"At the beginning of the probe, the Dutch side indicated that the missile blast occurred at a distance of 4-6 meters from the airliner. Back at that time, we were categorically against this and were convincingly proving that the detonation occurred much closer. With the help of calculations and even live demonstrations we were proving that our version was more correct," he said in an interview with Rossiya-24 TV Channel.

The distance of the missile detonation "was narrowed to three meters," according to the Dutch experts and this distance was "simply washed out and not indicated at all," Storchevoi added.

Malaysian Boeing crash in East Ukraine

The Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 passenger jet, Flight MH17 from the Dutch city of Amsterdam to the Malaysian capital of Kuala Lumpur crashed in the area of hostilities between local militias and Ukrainian governmental troops in east Ukraine’s Donetsk region on July 17, 2014. All 298 people aboard the airliner died in the air crash. Most of the air crash’s victims were Dutch nationals. The international crash probe commission arrived at the conclusion that the airliner was downed by a missile fired from the Buk air defence missile system.

The Ukrainian authorities and the militia of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) accused each other of the airliner crash. The UN Security Council resolved on July 21 to hold a comprehensive and independent probe. Russia’s representatives have said on many occasions they are dissatisfied with how the investigation is being carried out and that the data presented by the Russian side are ignored. All sides of the conflict in eastern Ukraine have denied any involvement in the downing of the plane.

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