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Kremlin believes mistake in MH17 disaster story does not undermine trust towards Channel 1

The Kremlin spokesman said that when such high-profile incidents occur, it is important to present the whole range of opinions

MOSCOW, December 11. /TASS/. A mistake made in a story about the MH-17 disaster over eastern Ukraine aired by Russia’s Channel 1 several years ago does not undermine trust in this government-run television broadcaster, Russian presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Wednesday.

"It does not undermine [trust in the TV broadcaster]," he said, when asked if the Kremlin believed the mistake was harmful to Channel 1.

Earlier, the chief of Russia’s Channel 1, Konstantin Ernst, told New Yorker magazine in an interview the editors made a mistake in the story aired in November 2014 saying that the Malaysian Boeing-777 might have been attacked by a Ukrainian fighter jet. "Yes, we’re human, we made a mistake, but not on purpose," Ernst said.

Peskov said that "when such high-profile incidents, like the MH17 flight disaster occur, it is important to present the whole range of opinions, and not just one, contrary to what many Western broadcasters do."

"In this respect, yes, some versions that may surface at a certain stage may eventually turn out wrong, unfounded or doubtful. Such things may happen at certain stages," Peskov said.

MH17 flight disaster

A passenger Boeing-777 of the Malaysia Airlines (flight MH17 from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur) was shot out of the sky over Ukraine’s Donetsk Region on July 17, 2014. A total of 298 people - citizens of 10 countries - died in the disaster. Although hostilities were underway on the ground at the moment, Kiev failed to close Donbass airspace to international passenger flights.

A Joint Investigation Team consisting of Australian, Belgian, Malaysian, Dutch and Ukrainian officials was created. In June 2019, the JIT said it had identified four suspects in the crash, including three Russians - Igor Girkin (also known under the nickname Strelkov), Sergei Dubinsky, and Oleg Pulatov. The fourth suspect is Ukrainian citizen Leonid Kharchenko. Their trial is scheduled to begin on March 9, 2020.