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Russia’s Air Transport Agency urges US to make public satellite data on MH17 crash

February 09, 15:35 UTC+3
Russia's deputy chief of air transport agency underscored that Russia had made public all available satellite data within days following the crash
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© AP Photo/Peter Dejong

MOSCOW, February 9. /TASS/. The United States must make public satellite data that might throw some light on the circumstance of the MH17 crash in Donbass in July 2014, deputy chief of Russia’s Air Transport Agency (Rosaviatsiya) Oleg Storchevoi said on Tuesday.

"The US side is unconditionally obliged to make public the satellite imagery, which, according to US Secretary of State John Kerry, has been at its disposal since the moment of the plane’s crash and can shed light on the circumstances of the disaster. For its part, the Ukrainian side is obliged to present either primary radar data or credible proof they do not exist in reality," he said in response to a letter from the relatives of the crash victims addressed to the Russian president.

He underscored that Russia had made public all available satellite data within days following the crash. "In particular, they confirm the movements and higher activity of Ukrainian air defense systems Buk within the zone of armed confrontation in the east of Ukraine on the eve of the tragedy," he pointed.

Russia, in his words, had transferred these data to the Dutch Safety Board (DSB), but these data "were ignored by the DSB in its work and were not even mentioned in the report [final report on the results of the investigation -TASS]."

Storchevoi reminded that specialists of Russia’s defense manufacturer Almaz-Antey, the developer of the Buk air defense missile system, carried out two full-scale experiments and declassified data on the characteristics of missiles from the Buk and Buk-M1 antiaircraft systems. "All the calculations obtained from the experiments and studies, as well as other data have been transferred to the Dutch Safety Board," he wrote.

"Russia has numerously invited Dutch colleagues for participation in these studies but the Dutch Safety Board, like the joint investigative group today, has not displayed any interest in such cooperation," the Rosaviatsiya official noted. "In our opinion, these data are of considerably greater interest for establishing the causes of the airliner crash than the radar data and satellite images. However, even they have not been taken into account by the bodies in charge of the technical investigation."

A Boeing 777-200 of the Malaysia Airlines en route from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur crashed on July 17 in Ukraine’s eastern Donetsk Region, some 60 km (over 37 miles) from the Russian border, in the zone of combat operations between the Donetsk self-defense forces and the Ukrainian army. All the passengers and crewmembers onboard the aircraft - 298 people - died. Most of the passengers - 196 people - were Dutch citizens.

The international commission arrived at a conclusion that the airliner was hit by a Buk missile. The missile was presumably launched from an area of 320 square kilometres in eastern Ukraine. However, according to Almaz-Antey Concern, the missiled was launched from the settlement of Zaroshchenskoye controlled by Ukrainian troops on the day of the crash. Apart from that, Russian specialist MH17 was shot down by a missile of an older modification whose manufacture stopped in 1986 and withdrawn from service in Russia in 2011.

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