MOSCOW, June 20. /TASS/. Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad has expressed dissatisfaction with the new findings of the Joint Investigation Team (JIT) looking into the crash of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17, The Star wrote on Thursday.
"We are very unhappy. From the very beginning, it became a political issue on how to accuse Russia of the wrongdoing," he said, as cited by the newspaper. "Even before they examined the case, they have already claimed it [the shooting down of MH17] was done by Russia," he added.
"As far as we are concerned, we want proof of guilt [that Russia did it]. But so far, there is no proof, only hearsay," the Malaysian prime minister pointed out. "This is a ridiculous thing. Someone shoots a gun and you are not able to see who, but you know who shot," he said.
Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17, a Boeing-777 passenger plane travelling from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur, was shot down over Ukraine’s eastern region of Donetsk on July 17, 2014. The crash killed all the 283 passengers and 15 crewmembers. There were nationals of ten states among the dead.
The Joint Investigation Team comprises representatives of the Netherlands, Australia, Belgium, Malaysia and Ukraine.
On May 24, 2018, the team gave an update of the state of affairs in the criminal investigation, claiming that "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 allegations and said that none of the missile systems belonging to the Russian Armed Forces had ever been taken abroad. The missile, which downed Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17, had been made in the town of Dolgoprudny outside Moscow in 1986, delivered to a military unit deployed to Ukraine and never brought back to Russia, Chief of the Russian Defense Ministry’s Missile and Artillery Department Lieutenant General Nikolai Parshin said at a briefing.
Nevertheless, on May 25, 2018, Australia and the Netherlands issued a statement saying that they "hold Russia responsible for its part in the downing of flight MH17." "The Netherlands and Australia are now convinced that Russia is responsible for the deployment of the Buk installation that was used to down MH17," the statement said.
On June 19, 2019, the Joint Investigation Team announced that it had identified four suspects involved in the crash, adding that a trial was expected to begin on March 9, 2020. The Netherlands plans to seek their extradition and will ask Russia for an opportunity to question them.