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Foreign Ministry: MH17 investigation team ignored data gathered by Russia

The Russian Foreign Ministry says the Joint Investigation Team’s theory on the reason behind the MH17 crash lacks evidence

MOSCOW, May 24. /TASS/. The Joint Investigation Team (JIT) probing the crash of flight MH17 in Donbass in 2014 has ignored data gathered by Russia, the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement on Thursday.

"We point out that sizable amounts of information Russia handed over to the JIT were ignored in materials shown at a news conference," the ministry said. "The authors of the presentation forgot to mention that we had received in Moscow Dutch experts and investigators from the prosecutor’s office, unclassified and passed to investigators technical and design data on the Buk missiles, provided the results of a full-scale experiment carried out by the producer of this type of air defense weapons - Almaz-Antey Air and Space Defense Corporation," the ministry said.

The Joint Investigation Team’s theory on reason for the flight MH17 crash lacks in evidence and causes regret, the ministry said. 

"The theory the Joint Investigation Team announced at the May 24 press conference, claiming that the Buk missile system used to down the aircraft had been brought to Ukraine from Russia and originated from the 53rd Anti-Aircraft Missile brigade, causes us regret," the statement reads. "It is nothing but an allegation aimed at tarnishing our country’s image on the international stage," the ministry added.

"No evidence has been presented except for a colorful video based on information fabricated by bloggers from the Bellingcat agency, who were earlier caught distorting facts to prove Russia’s alleged involvement in the MH17 crash," the statement says.

The ministry added that the Joint Investigation Team had ignored data provided by Russia.

"Nothing was said about our assistance in the investigation," the statement says. "The presentation’s authors forgot to mention that we had received in Moscow Dutch experts and investigators from the prosecutor’s office, unclassified technical and design data concerning the Buk missiles and passed it to investigators, as well as provided them with the results of a field experiment carried out by the Almaz-Antey Air and Space Defense Corporation that produces this kind of weapons," the ministry said.

The ministry also said that Moscow had provided to the Netherlands "primary data received by a radar station operating in the area in question." "This information is crucial as it is fully objective and can be neither falsified nor changed," the statement points out.

"Under these circumstances" Russia "has the right to ask questions about the true reason behind JIT’s decision to make its preliminary conclusion public." "However, we will continue to assist the investigation seeking to establish the cause of the MH17 crash and ensure that those responsible face a just punishment," the Russian Foreign Ministry concluded.

Earlier on Thursday, the Joint Investigation Team looking into the MH17 crash gave an update of the state of affairs in the criminal investigation. According to JIT, "the BUK-TELAR that was used to down MH17, originates from the 53rd Anti Aircraft Missile brigade (hereinafter 53rd brigade), a unit of the Russian army from Kursk in the Russian Federation.