Russian envoy to Malaysia casts doubt on MH17 probe

Russian envoy to Malaysia casts doubt on MH17 probe
Parts of the Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 at the crash site near the village of Hrabove (Grabovo), some 80 kms east of Donetsk.

KUALA LUMPUR - Outgoing Russian Ambassador Luidmila G. Vorobyeva has cast doubts on the investigation in the downing of the Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17, claiming that the way it was being conducted has raised more questions than answers.

According to the ambassador, the full report of the crash would only be out in 2016, alluding that it was too long a period and that it could lead to manipulation.

Citing a white book on violations of human rights and the rule of law in Ukraine, Vorobyeva said the "evidently soft-pedalled" investigation was in violation of UN Security Council Reso­lution 2166 and the rules of the International Civil Avia­tion Organisation (CIAO).

"Why take so long? In one a half years, we have plenty of time do anything, but I don't want to blame (anyone) because the investigation is still ongoing," she said.

She said one of the methods to determine the cause of the crash was to reconstruct the aircraft, which the investigation team had not been able to do.

"It is sort of puzzling because one of the first things you want to know about what happened during the air crash is to reconstruct the aircraft by using the debris," she said at the embassy here yesterday.

Vorobyeva said that Russia, with the help of Israel, had managed to reconstruct an airplane that crashed into the Black Sea in 2001, in a matter of days.

In 2001, the Ukrainian airforce downed a Russian commercial airplane by mistake during a military exercise.

"Although the aircraft fell into the Black Sea when it was flying from Israel to Russia, the investigation team managed to do the reconstruction in a few days. Here, the wreckage is on the land," she said.

Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 was shot down over the conflict-riddled eastern Ukraine en route to Kuala Lumpur from Amsterdam on July 17, killing all 298 passengers and crew on board.

Initial Western media reports accused the pro-Russian separatists of being responsible but both Russia and Ukraine have denied involvement and blamed each other for the tragedy. The wreckage was only collected in November.

Varobyeva said even as it entered the fifth month, the investigation was still not conclusive.

"The question is why is it being conducted in a slow manner. Accor­ding to many experts, it is very easy to identify what kind of weapon was used to shoot down the aircraft,"

"It can take days, not months or years. So there are a lot of unanswered questions in this investigation," she said, adding that the Ukrainian side should also be held responsible for the crash.

"Russia wants the truth as the second round of sanctions was applied to Russia because we were accused of taking part in the downing of MH17," she added.

Vorobyeva, whose term will end in January, also thanked Malaysia for not taking sides in the tragedy and wished to maintain an amicable bilateral relationship.

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