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Russia says US replacing MH17 inquiry with anti-Russian propaganda

August 19, 2015, 6:28 UTC+3

"But the United States as a country and Americans as people are not our enemies", says Russian diplomat Maria Zakharova

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MOSCOW, August 19. /TASS/. The Russian Foreign Ministry has accused US authorities of spreading anti-Russian propaganda instead of conducting an investigation into last year’s crash of Malaysia Airlines flight MH-17 in eastern Ukraine.

In an interview with newspaper Komsomolskaya Pravda, Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said: "On the second day after the catastrophe, we already heard from the United States that it knew who had shot down the plane."

"On the eve of the tragedy’s anniversary, US ambassador to Russia John Tefft publicly repeated that it was known. If there is a country which knows everything, why is no data being published? Why is no evidence being presented?" Zakharova asked, adding that: "Such special-order propaganda is being conducted against Russia irrespective of what actually happened there."

The spokeswoman recalled that Russia was the only country that blocked the idea of creating an international tribunal to prosecute those suspected of having shot down the airliner. She said Russia had prevented "catastrophic politicisation of the tragedy at the UN Security Council".

"The US pressure is being observed everywhere. And everything we see now is the result of the superpower’s colossal pressure on all players," Zakharova said, noting also that the current U.S. leadership was seeking to impose "anti-Russian perception of the world" on its people. "But the United States as a country and Americans as people are not our enemies," she added.

The Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777, flying from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur, crashed in Ukraine’s eastern Donetsk region on July 17, some 60 kilometres (around 37 miles) from the Russian border in the zone of combat operations between Donetsk self-defence forces and the Ukrainian army. All 298 passengers and crew on board perished, the Netherlands reporting nearly 200 victims, the highest death toll in the disaster.

The Netherlands is leading two international investigations into the report: an air safety accident resort led by the Dutch Safety Board, which will examine the technical causes of the crash, and a criminal investigation examining who was responsible.

In early September, the Dutch Safety Board said in its preliminary report that the MH17 flight broke up in the air probably as a result of structural damage caused by a large number of high-energy objects that penetrated the aircraft from outside. A surface-to-air or air-to-air missile that allegedly hit the plane is considered the biggest factor behind the crash.

Kiev authorities and militia forces of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic have blamed each other for the shooting down of the plane.

On July 29, the United Nations Security Council failed to endorse a draft resolution on creation of an international tribunal to prosecute those responsible for the MH17 downing after Russia used its veto power to block the document submitted by Malaysian officials.

Russia’s Foreign Ministry said that Moscow considered the idea of establishing an international tribunal as "premature and counterproductive", confirming its commitment to ensure "a thorough and unbiased international investigation" into the crash.

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