MH17 Tragedy: New Old Allegations (by Ambassador Vladimir Malygin, The Malta Independent, 1 June 2018)

MH17 Tragedy: New Old Allegations (by Ambassador Vladimir Malygin, The Malta Independent, 1 June 2018)


Western media has once again picked up the topic of the 2014 Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash in Ukraine and Russia’s alleged involvement in this tragedy, citing preliminary conclusions of the Joint Investigation Team (JIT), which works under the Dutch National Prosecutor’s Office.

This evokes a strong feeling of déjà vu. Just like in the case of the Salisbury poisoning incident in the UK in March and the fake chemical attack in Syria’s Douma in April, the claims are made before the investigation is concluded and without presenting any evidence.

The investigators based their conclusions on a compilation of photos and videos from social media, the authenticity of which cannot be verified, while at the same time admitting that they can neither say with certainty what type of missile was used to down the plane, nor name suspects, and that a lot of work still needs to be done.

Russia has been cooperating with the investigation more than anyone else despite the fact that we were not invited to join the JIT. The Russian Prosecutor General’s Office has always responded quickly and in full to all inquiries and is currently reviewing two more requests for legal assistance. We have provided a significant amount of information to the JIT, including declassified technical and design data and the results of a full-scale experiment. Russia has also passed on primary raw data from radar surveillance of the airspace at the time of the tragedy, which clearly shows that it was impossible to launch the missile that downed the Boeing plane from a territory controlled by the self-defence fighters, as the JIT insists in its findings. Besides, the Russian Defence Ministry confirmed that not a single anti-aircraft missile system of the Russian Armed Forces had ever crossed the Russian-Ukrainian border.

All this was simply ignored. Also, nothing is being said about the maximum possible assistance which Russia has been providing ever since the tragedy and our country’s role in initiating and passing UN Security Council Resolution 2166 that calls for a thorough and independent international investigation.

In these circumstances, Russia has legitimate questions about the true underlying motives of the JIT decision to disclose its preliminary conclusions. All this only confirms our earlier expressed concerns about the bias and one-sidedness of the ongoing investigation.

For example, this is proved by the Dutch side’s refusal to assess the main cause of the tragedy, that is, the failure of Ukraine’s authorities (in violation of international regulations) to establish a no-fly zone for civil aircraft above the domestic conflict zone. Nor did the Dutch ask Kiev to provide radar data or information on the actions of air traffic control services.

It should also be noted that the United States has never provided the satellite photos related to the crash, which, as the US claimed immediately after the tragedy, were readily available. This looks strange to say the least, as for instance during the 1962 Caribbean Crisis such pictures were swiftly published by the press.

Despite all this, Russia will continue to provide assistance and to cooperate so that the truth about the crash of Flight MH17 is established, and the true perpetrators are brought to justice. The important thing is that this cooperation should be honest and that the information and facts we provide should not be ignored or used selectively.