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Russia fears MH17 crash probe in east Ukraine to establish no truth

February 09, 17:02 UTC+3 MOSCOW
The Russian aviation deputy chief thus responded to a letter written by the relatives of the air disaster’s victims to Russia’s President Vladimir Putin
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© Mikhail Pochuev/TASS

MOSCOW, February 9. /TASS/. Russia fears that the criminal probe into the MH17 air crash in east Ukraine being conducted by the joint investigative group will fail to establish the true reasons of the disaster, Russia’s Federal Air Transport Agency (Rosaviatsia) Deputy Head Oleg Storchevoi said on Tuesday.

Russia fears that this probe will fail to establish the truth as was the case with the technical investigation whose results were made public last year, Storchevoi said.

The Russian aviation deputy chief thus responded to a letter written by the relatives of the air disaster’s victims to Russia’s President Vladimir Putin.

As Storchevoi said in his reply obtained by TASS, Russia has numerously pointed to the extremely closed nature and biased approach of the Dutch technical investigation conducted by the Dutch Safety Board.

"Unfortunately, a completely identical situation is observed with the activity of the joint investigative group responsible for the criminal investigation," Storchevoi said.

"The same unjustifiably long process, as well as a selective approach by the Dutch side to the selection of partners for the criminal investigation cause a lot of very unpleasant questions and compel you to fear that the criminal investigation will repeat the fate of the technical probe and, as if according to plan, will fail to establish the truth," the Russian deputy aviation chief said.

The Dutch Safety Board should explain why the technical investigation lasted so unjustifiably long and resulted in "quite abstract and vague formulations," Storchevoi said.

Also, the Dutch authorities distorted the facts and concealed information and failed to take into account important data provided by the Russian side, Russia’s deputy aviation chief said.

"It is necessary to get answers from the Dutch Safety Board to the questions about the untrue data in the final report on striking elements, as well as the place of their discovery, the failure to qualitatively examine the holes on the airliner’s body, the improper work with the airline’s debris, the incorrect determination of the possible area of the missile’s launch and other inconsistencies, which are abound in the final report," the Rosaviatsia deputy head said.

"The Russian side, as distinct from the Dutch Safety Board and the joint investigative group, has never delayed the investigations, for which it was responsible or in which it took full-fledged participation, and has carried out all works openly, constantly informing the public about the results of expert studies and all steps that were taken," Storchevoi said.

"This was exactly the case with the investigation of the Russian A321 airliner crash over Egypt when Russia, despite numerous provocative statements on the causes of the crash, did not support any of the versions until evidence was obtained on the presence of the traces of foreign-made explosives on the airliner’s debris and the version of a terrorist act was confirmed, about which the international public and the investigation partners were immediately informed," Storchevoi said.

Moscow acted in the same way during the investigation into the downing of the Russian Su-24 bomber over Syria in November 2015, Russia’s deputy aviation chief said.

"Russia has organized unprecedentedly open work to find out the reasons of the air crash, invited numerous international experts and media representatives to be present during the opening of the attack aircraft’s flight recorders. Many foreign specialists, in particular, from the United Kingdom, highly appreciated both the quality of work that had been done and the openness of the process," Storchevoi said.

"All this proves that Russia has always kept to the principle of consistency in conclusions and does not advance any accusations until investigative procedures are over and a final and accurate result is obtained," the Russian deputy aviation chief said.

The Malaysia Airlines Boeing-777 passenger airliner on a flight 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 in July 2014. All 298 people aboard the airliner died in the air crash.

Most of the air crash’s victims were Dutch nationals.

The Dutch-led international commission investigating the MH17 crash came to the conclusion that the airliner had been downed by a surface-to-air missile from a Buk antiaircraft missile system, with the missile launch site located within an area of about 320 square kilometers in east Ukraine.

According to data of the Russian defense manufacturer Almaz-Antey, the developer of the Buk missile system, the airliner had been fired at from the community of Zaroshchenskoye controlled by the Ukrainian army on the day of the air disaster.

Also, the Russian experts came to the conclusion that the Boeing airline had been hit by a missile of an older modification that had been removed from operational use in Russia in 2011.

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