MH17: Stop blaming Russia, says ambassador to Malaysia

PHOTO: Reuters

KUALA LUMPUR - Moscow has debunked investigation by the Dutch Safety Board (DSB) which concluded that Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 was shot down by a Russian-made BUK missile.

Russia ambassador to Malaysia Valery N Yermolov said Moscow no longer owns such missiles since 2011, the year when the warhead was decommissioned.

"The BUK missiles mentioned in the report were developed in 1986 during war with the Soviet Union army after the Independence declaration and had the warranty period of 25 years.

"In 2011, these missiles were decommissioned by the Russian army, but we know exactly that the Ukrainian (army) owns 520 missiles until now," said Yermolov at a press conference here, Thursday.

It was reported that the Dutch-led experts have found that the 9N314M missile type had shot down MH17 over eastern Ukraine, killing 298 people on board.

However, Yermolov claimed many other former Soviet Union countries, including some members of the Nato alliance such as Greece, were armed with similar BUK missiles.

"This means that the BUK missiles may not only be owned by Russia, but by former soviet union states," he said.

He explained that the missiles owned by the Russian army no longer contain the shrapnel in shape of butterflies that were found on the fuselage of MH17.

"Our missiles only contain shrapnel in the shape of parallelepiped. And the shrapnel found at the fuselage is a type of missile widely used by other separatists now," he said.

Yermolov lamented that Russian experts were not given access to full investigation materials by DSB.

"It is our understanding that the report on the crash by the experts from Almaz-Antey, the main developer of BUK missile launchers, has also been ignored," he said.

Yurmalov urged Malaysian leaders to stop the blame game and pointing fingers. Instead, he urged them to focus on finding the perpetrators behind the tragedy.

"That is why I was a little bit surprised and disappointed when the leaders of Malaysia said that the aircraft was downed by a Russian-made BUK missile," he added.

He, however, said Russia would continue to work with Malaysia through the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) in seeking justice for the victims.

"Continuing the investigation with the necessary adjustments and ensuring the participation of all countries that possess materials that could shed light on the MH17 crash could be a way out of this situation.

"It goes without saying that Russia stands ready to join these effort," he said.

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