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ICAO’s non-participation in MH17 crash investigation raises questions in Moscow

August 10, 2015, 16:01 UTC+3 MOSCOW
The manufacturer of Buk missile system was recognized as the guilty party in this catastrophe by many but investigators did not ask the manufacturer, Russian Foreign Ministry speaker notes
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Site of MH17 crash in Donbas

Site of MH17 crash in Donbas

© ITAR-TASS/Zurab Dzhavakhadze

MOSCOW, August 10. /TASS/. The fact that ICAO (International Civil Aviation Organization) does not participate in the investigation of MH17 crash in east Ukraine causes confusion and raises questions in Moscow, Russian Foreign Ministry’s official spokesperson Maria Zakharova told Rossiya 24 TV channel on Monday.

"The manufacturer of Buk missile system, the system itself was recognized as the guilty party in this catastrophe by many [countries]," Zakharova said. "However, no one from the group that is investigating the causes of the air crash never asked the manufacturer, never showed interest and never asked for any materials. Isn’t it strange?" she wondered.

"It is more than strange because there is such organization as ICAO which professionally deals with such issues," the diplomat continued. "Considering its history, it is hard to doubt the level of its professionalism," she noted. "As far as I know, there is the manufacturer who made its own analysis of the possible causes of the catastrophe and provided all data and even convened a conference. But its findings were not interesting for anybody. Why?" Zakharova said.

"I am not even talking about plane parts that were left in the field. Our questions on why not all debris were collected, we were told that what had been collected and transported was enough. But this is not right," she stressed.

Answering a question on whether Russia recognizes the results of the investigation, Zakharva stressed that "it is not the issue of guessing." "This is the issue of working with facts. We do not want to talk about what we don’t know at all or don’t know without facts. It would have been coffee fortune telling then or political games. Neither the first nor the second option is our way. We work with facts, work with UN Security Council on the basis of concrete international laws, and we will continue adhering to this in the future," Zakharova concluded.

Moscow calls on countries that have information about MH17 crash in eastern Ukraine to make it public, she continued. "An informational model is created when one side is accused without direct evidence, without any evidence," Zakharova said speaking about the UN Security Council draft resolution on establishing an international tribunal on MH17 crash in Ukraine. "For a year, an image of an enemy, of absolute evil was being formed which is necessary to be strengthened by creating a model that will be convenient for adjusting the result well-known for someone already a year ago," she added.

"It was unacceptable to put with such an absolutely politicized approach in line with an aggressive informational campaign on vilification of someone and simultaneously on ‘brushing away’ all substantial facts. We are talking about hundreds of people who died. Their fate should not remain a ‘black hole’. Truth should be found, but it is necessary to do it in line with international law, and that is what we are going to do," the diplomat stressed.

"We strongly urge and have been urging for a year that all countries that have any information [on MH17 crash in eastern Ukraine] make it public," Zakharova said.

Zakharova noted that Russia addresses the group of countries "that joined some kind of investigation" of Malaysian Boeing air crash. "Countries in this investigation group have ‘organized’ themselves and started working on the basis of bilateral agreements with Ukraine. It is worth noting that these agreements were not made public. We have a very vague idea of these agreements and what these countries agreed to do to somehow shed light on this tragedy," she concluded.

Ongoing investigation

On July 29, Russia vetoed the United Nations Security Council resolution on establishing an international tribunal to prosecute persons guilty of the MH17 plane crash over Ukraine on July 17, 2014. Eleven Security Council members voted for the Malaysia-proposed draft, which, in fact, was enough for its adoption but Russia used its right of veto. Another three countries, including Angola, Venezuela and China, abstained from voting. Churkin said that the draft resolution was "devoid of any legal and precedent basis" while authors of the draft document preferred political and propagandistic aims to practical tasks.

On July 17, 2014 a Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 passenger airliner on flight MH17 from the Dutch city of Amsterdam to the Malaysian capital of Kuala Lumpur crashed in the Donetsk Region in eastern Ukraine, killing all 298 people on board. Most passengers — over 190 people — were Dutch nationals.

The Dutch Safety Board, which is leading the probe and coordinating the international team of investigators, said in its preliminary report published last year on September 9 that "flight MH17 with a Boeing 777-200 operated by Malaysia Airlines broke up in the air probably as the result of structural damage caused by a large number of high-energy objects that penetrated the aircraft from outside."

Dutch Foreign Minister Frans Timmermans initially announced that the final report on the results of the investigation into the crash of the Malaysian passenger aircraft in Ukraine would be presented this summer, but eventually the deadline was moved.

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