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Russian aviation watchdog: Kiev didn't close air space before MH17 crash because of greed

July 16, 2015, 14:09 UTC+3 MOSCOW

Russia's aviation watchdog Rosaviation has claims to certain parts of the report prepared by the Netherlands on Boeing Mh17 crash in eastern Ukraine

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© Mikhail Sokolov/TASS

MOSCOW, July 16. /TASS/. Ukraine has not closed its air space in the region of combat actions in eastern Ukraine before the MH17 crash because of its greed, Russia’s Rosaviation federal agency deputy head Oleg Storchevoy told a briefing on Thursday.

After the start of the anti-terrorist operation in eastern Ukraine, heavy weaponry was used and Ukrainian fighter jets started flying in the region, Storchevoy said. "Taking this into account, it is only fair to ask this question: why did Western countries not pressure Ukraine and International Civil Aviation Organization [ICAO] into prohibiting flights over Donbass before the MH17 crash? Why has Ukraine restricted flights over Donbass only at 9,750 meters, but has not closed the air space over the region?" he wondered. "It is obvious that Ukraine did not want to lose any money from closing its air space, and this avarice resulted in victims - 298 people," Storchevoy said.

He reminded that in case of an emergency, a plane has to descend to an altitude of about 3,000 meters. "That means that pilots would have only been allowed to descend over the conflict zone," the deputy head noted.

The deputy head reminded that in April 2014, ICAO immediately reacted to ban on flights over Simferopol after Crimea’s reunification with Russia "for safety concerns." "But ICAO ignored [warnings] and did not ban flights over Donbass," he added.

Rosaviation has claims to certain parts of the report prepared by the Netherlands on Boeing Mh17 crash in eastern Ukraine, Storchevoy said. The claims will be announced after the document is released officially, he added. "We have a lot to say about this document and many arguments about separate issues, but in this case, I am tied by international rules," he noted.

The international commission on investigating the MH17 crash is being pressured, Storchevoy continued. "We cannot talk about appropriate coverage of this investigation. Western journalists and politicians started issuing biased materials. It can be considered as deliberate pressure on the international investigating commission in order to get unambiguous results," he added.

Storchevoy reminded that in accordance with Annex 13 to the Convention on International Civil Aviation, all official comments should be given only by the side conducting the investigation, in this case - by Dutch Safety Board."

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