A top Russian official said Tuesday that the Dutch Safety Board report into the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 is flawed.
Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said Tuesday the “attempt to make a biased conclusion, in essence to carry out a political order, is obvious.” The Dutch say the Buk missile that brought the plane down was fired from a specific territory eastern Ukraine — land that was held at the time by Russia-backed separatists. All 298 people aboard died.
Even before the Dutch report was released, the Russian maker of Buk missiles presented its own report trying to clear the separatists, and Russia itself, of any involvement in downing the plane.
Almaz-Antey contended that its experiments — in one of which a Buk missile was detonated near the nose of an airplane similar to a 777 — contradict that conclusion. The experimental aircraft’s remains showed a much different damage pattern than the remnants of MH17, the company said.
Rebel leaders in the eastern Ukrainian city of Donetsk refused to comment Tuesday on the Dutch report.
Geoffrey Robertson, a former United Nations war crimes judge, said the Dutch Safety Board report on MH-17 is important because it refutes Russian “lies and propaganda” claiming the Malaysian Airlines flight was shot down by a Ukrainian plane, not by a missile.
But he said the families of the victims still don’t know what the next step will be in their quest for justice.
He said “the families must wait until the Dutch criminal report, which is due at Christmas or shortly afterward, which would try to identify those criminally responsible.”
He said the International Criminal Court is unlikely to be able to prosecute those responsible but that murder or manslaughter prosecutions could be brought by the countries where the victims lived, including Holland and Ukraine.
Ukraine’s foreign minister defended the country’s decision not to close its airspace on the day that Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 was brought down, saying no one in Kiev knew that Russia had brought highly sophisticated anti-aircraft missiles into Ukraine.
Pavlo Klimkin told a news conference Tuesday at U.N. headquarters in New York that the government had consulted all Ukrainian authorities involved in risk assessments and found “no clue” that anyone even imagined this possibility before the July 17, 2014, attack.
Klimkin praised the Dutch report as objective, “fully unbiased and transparent,” and said now the criminal investigation must show the chain of command and bring the perpetrators to justice.
Malaysia’s prime minister, speaking about the downing of MH-17, says the world “must move forward toward ensuring that those responsible are held accountable for this murderous act. ”
Prime Minister Najib Razak says “15 months may have passed, but our commitment to bringing the perpetrators to justice remains as strong as it was on that fateful day, 17 July 2014, when hundreds of innocent people lost their lives in a conflict that was not theirs.”
Of the 298 lives lost when Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 was downed by a Buk missile, 43 were Malaysians.
The Malaysian leader also noted that no one was advised by the relevant authorities against any specific threats to aviation.