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No Russian air defense missile systems crossed Russia-Ukraine border — top brass

Russia’s Defense Ministry comments on the MH17 crash report

MOSCOW, May 24. /TASS/. None of the Russian Army’s air defense missile systems ever crossed the border between Russia and Ukraine, Russia’s Defense Ministry said on Thursday, commenting on the findings released by the Joint Investigation Team on the MH17 crash in Donbass in 2014.

"We got acquainted with the statements made at today’s press conference by representatives of the international investigation team on probing the crash of the Malaysian MH17 Boeing over Ukraine on July 17, 2014," the defense ministry stated.

Russia’s Defense Ministry rejected both in the first hours after the tragedy and subsequently the Ukrainian side’s insinuations on the alleged involvement of Russian servicemen in the air crash over Ukraine and delivered the corresponding evidence to the Dutch investigative team," the ministry said.

"None of the Russian Army’s air defense missile systems ever crossed the Russia-Ukraine border," the ministry said.

"Within the framework of interaction with the Dutch law-enforcement bodies, the Russian side presented overwhelming evidence confirmed by full-scale tests and clearly pointing to the complicity of precisely Ukrainian crews of Buk missile systems in destroying the Boeing airliner from the Netherlands over Ukraine," Russia’s Defense Ministry stressed.

"Moreover, Russia provided the international investigative team with all the continuous primary (unprocessed) data from the Utyos-T air route radar station that was in operation on July 17, 2014 and was located near the community of Ust-Donetsky in the Rostov Region. This radar did not spot any air objects approaching the Boeing airliner from the eastern side, including from the settlement of Snezhnoye or Pervomaiskoye," the ministry said.

Russia’s Defense Ministry expressed its concern that "the Dutch investigation is focused on substantiating its conclusions by using only images from social networks that were skillfully edited by computer graphic aids."

"Moreover, a part of images used during the briefing and prepared by Ukraine’s special services had been earlier demonstrated more than once by the pseudo-investigators from Bellingcat," the defense ministry said.

"These fakes were disavowed and rejected by Russian experts," the ministry added.

Russia’s Defense Ministry drew special attention to the fact that "the Dutch investigators absolutely fail to take into account and have rejected the evidences of eye-witnesses from Ukrainian settlements located close to the crash area testifying to the missile’s launch from the territory controlled by the Ukrainian armed forces."

"Numerous witnesses of the tragedy over Ukraine are not depersonalized images from social networks but are concrete people who made their statements for being recorded, including statements for representatives of European and American media," the ministry said.

"If the international investigative team is really interested in establishing the true culprits of the MH17 crash over Ukraine, its representatives should rely in their statements primarily on facts and eye-witnesses’ evidence and not on falsifications of fake news generators from Bellingcat or the Ukrainian Security Council (SBU)," Russia’s Defense Ministry stated.

Moscow presented overwhelming evidence proving the use of Ukrainian Buk missile systems in downing flight MH17, the ministry said.

"While cooperating with Dutch law enforcement agencies, Russia presented overwhelming evidence proving that Ukrainian Buk missile systems had been used to down the flight en-route from the Netherlands," the statement reads.

"Moreover, all the primary data received by the Utyos-T radar station, which was operating in the [Russian] Rostov region on July 17, 2014, was passed to the international investigative group," the defense ministry added. "The radar station did not record any aerial objects approaching the Boeing from the east, particularly from the direction of the Snezhnoye and Pervomaiskoye settlements," the statement says.

"The Dutch investigation’s determination to justify its conclusions by using only graphically photos posted on social media causes concern," the statement reads.

"The most important thing that we would like to draw attention to is that Dutch investigators rejected testimonies from eyewitnesses living in Ukrainian settlements close to the crash site, which mention a missile launch from an area controlled by the Ukrainian armed forces," the Russian Defense Ministry added.