Russian Federation must answer for role in MH17 downing - Johnson

Elias Hubbard
May 27, 2018

A possible next step is to present the case to an global court or organisation for their judgment.

The reconstructed wreckage of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17. In a statement on Friday, the Defense Ministry said the missile engine's unit number, which indicates that it was manufactured outside Moscow in 1986, proves that the weapon fired at flight MH17 wasn't in the Russian military's arsenal, because Russia's armed forces decommissioned and scrapped all 1986-generation missiles in 2011.

However, there's no doubt that the report poses real political problems for the countries most affected by the disaster - in which 298 passengers and crew died, including 80 children and three infants - not least in terms of how they deal with Vladimir Putin's Russian Federation. In all there were 17 nationalities on board including Australians, Britons, Malaysians and Indonesians.

Bellingcat said it had established that before his deployment to the Donbas in 2014, Ivannikov served as the "defense minister" of South Ossetia - a part of Georgia that has been occupied by Russia since the Russian-Georgian war in 2008.

Prosecutors have said that the BUK missile system was sacked from the Ukraine village of Pervomaysk and later returned to Russian territory.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov compared the MH17 case to British allegations that Moscow is responsible for poisoning former spy Sergey Skripal - another charge widely believed in the West that the Kremlin denies.

"Holding a country legally responsible is a complex process but what Netherlands and Australia want is for Russian Federation to enter into negotiations with both of them which will ultimately lead to reparations for the victims' families".

The Russian Foreign Ministry also criticized the investigators for allegedly ignoring evidence provided by Russia, including radar surveillance of the airspace at the time of the flight.

The team of worldwide investigators, however, found that "all the vehicles in a convoy carrying the missile were part of the Russian armed forces". During the presentation, the JIT officials referred to markings on the Buk launch vehicle which they compared to "fingerprints", saying these fingerprints could be used to identify which unit the Buk belonged to.

"I asked [Dutch Foreign Minister Stef Blok] about facts proving these claims".

Despite Russia's resistance, the father of one of the passengers welcomed the move on Friday.

Their U.S. aviation attorney, Jerry Skinner, told the Dutch EénVandaag current affairs program about the plans, the Ukrainian news outlet Yevropeiska Pravda said, citing the De Morgen newspaper.

Two days earlier, families of the victims wrote an open letter to the Russian government, saying "we do not blame the Russian people for what happened" despite "all the credible evidence point [ing] in that direction".

Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop called for support from the global community for the move.

"This is an example of baseless accusations aimed at discrediting our country in the eyes of the global community", the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement. "If military weapons can be deployed and then used to bring down civilian aircraft in what was essentially a war zone, then global security is at risk and we call on all countries to inform the Russian Federation that its conduct is unacceptable".

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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