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Russian expert doubts authenticity of new info in MH17 case

According to expert, certain minor details cast doubt on entire investigation

MOSCOW, June 19. /TASS/. The new information, revealed on Wednesday by the Joint Investigative Team (JIT) looking into the 2014 Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 crash in eastern Ukraine, demonstrates that the investigation was carried out in a very negligent manner, a senior Russian political expert told TASS.

"It is evident that the investigation into the Boeing crash was carried out in a very unprofessional manner," Director of the Center for Current Policy Alexei Chesnakov said. "They claim that there is a recorded phone conversation between [MH17 crash suspect] Igor Girkin with [Russian presidential aide] Vladislav Surkov. This is total nonsense."

"Surkov has never had any conversation with Girkin, neither in person nor by phone. His level of contacts is the heads of the [self-proclaimed] people’s republics of Donbass. Girkin is simply not his format. This record must be subjected to an independent analysis, which will prove easily that it has no Surkov’s voice on it," he went on.

"When the hostilities were in full swing, Surkov never spoke [with heads of self-proclaimed republics] by phone for security reasons. He maintained contact with [then Chairman of the DPR Council of Ministers Alexander] Borodai in a different form. And he never discussed military issues with him, just because this was beyond his sphere of duties," Chesnakov said.

"This small detail casts doubt on the entire investigation," the expert added. "It [the probe] was either inaccurate or unscrupulous."


MH17 crash

The Boeing-777 passenger plane operated by Malaysian Airlines crashed on July 17, 2014, en route from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur in the east of the Donetsk Region. As a result, 298 people, citizens of 10 states, were killed in the crash. The parties to the armed conflict in Donbass accused each other of being complicit in the tragedy.

On May 24, 2018, the Joint Investigation Team (JIT), consisting of representatives from Australia, Belgium, Malaysia, the Netherlands and Ukraine, released its update on the criminal investigation into the MH17 crash. According to the 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."

Russia’s Defense Ministry rejected all the accusations saying that none of the Russian Army’s air defense missile systems had ever crossed the border between Russia and Ukraine, while the launched missile was delivered to the Ukrainian Armed Forces in 1986 and has not been in possession of the Russian military since then.

On Wednesday, the JIT named three Russian nationals and one Ukrainian citizen suspected of being involved in the Boeing jet crash in Ukraine in July 2014. The list of suspects includes Igor Girkin, known under the nickname of Strelkov, Sergey Dubinsky, Oleg Pulatov and Leonid Kharchenko. International investigators will address Russia with the request to interrogate the suspects.