Statement by the Foreign Ministry regarding the May 24, 2018 press conference of the Joint Investigation Team on the preliminary findings of the criminal investigation into the July 17, 2014 crash of the Malaysian Boeing in eastern Ukraine

Submitted on Fri, 05/25/2018 - 13:01

The version of events presented by the JJoint Investigation Team (JIT) during a press conference on May 24, according to which the Buk anti-aircraft missile system used to launch the missile at the airliner arrived in Ukraine from Russia and belonged to Air Defence Brigade 53 deployed in Kursk, is regrettable. This is a case of unfounded accusations aimed at discrediting our country in the eyes of the international community. No evidence, of course, was presented, except for a visually striking video based on data fabricated by Bellingcat bloggers, who were previously found to be distorting facts to support the hypothesis of Russia’s involvement in the crash of the airliner.

It is also puzzling that the JIT put forward this theory at a time when Russia has not yet finished examining the requests for legal assistance from the Dutch Prosecutor’s Office.

We note that the materials shown at the press conference ignore a significant amount of information provided by Russia to the JIT. Nothing was said about the assistance we provided during the investigation. The people behind the presentation forgot to mention that we hosted Dutch experts and investigators of the Dutch Prosecutor's Office in Moscow, declassified and handed over technical and design data of the Buk missiles to the investigators, and provided the results of a full-scale experiment carried out by Almaz-Antey, the manufacturer of this type of anti-aircraft missile systems.

Russia also transferred to the Netherlands primary raw data from radar surveillance of the airspace at the time of the tragedy. This critical information is of an exhaustive and completely objective nature, as it cannot be tampered with or altered. However, this did nothing to affect the line of investigation. Based on the radar records, the findings of unknown experts hired by the JIT cannot be characterised otherwise than absolutely untenable.

In these circumstances, we have legitimate questions about the true underlying motives of the JIT decision to disclose the preliminary conclusion.

All this only confirms our earlier expressed concerns about the bias and one-sidedness of the ongoing investigation.

Nonetheless, we will continue to provide assistance so that the truth about the crash of flight MH17 is established, and the true perpetrators are brought to justice.