KUALA LUMPUR – Russia has called for a stop to accusing it in the shooting down of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17, saying that it had stopped using the type of BUK missile involved in the tragedy.
Russia ambassador to Malaysia Valery N. Yermolov said Russia no longer owned such missiles from 2011, the year when the warhead was decommissioned.
“The BUK missiles mentioned in the report were developed in 1986 during the war with the Soviet Union army after the Independence declaration and had a warranty period of 25 years.
“In 2011, these missiles were decommissioned by the Russian army, but we know that the Ukrainian (army) owns 520 missiles until now,” said Yermolov at a press conference here yesterday.
Painful reminder: A screen displaying an experiment showing what the Russians conclude happened to MH17 during the press conference. — EPA Painful reminder: A screen displaying an experiment showing what the Russians conclude happened to MH17 during the press conference. -EPA
The Dutch Safety Board (DSB) has concluded that flight MH17 was shot down by a Russian-made BUK missile.
It was reported on Tuesday that the Dutch-led experts found that the 9N314M missile type had shot down the MH17 flight 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, also had similar BUK missiles.
He explained that the missiles owned by the Russian army no longer contained the shrapnel in the shape of bowties that were found on the fuselage of MH17.
“Our missiles only contain shrapnel in the shape of a parallelepiped.”
Yermolov also said that Russian experts were not given access to full investigation materials by the DSB.
“It is our understanding that the report on the crash by the experts from Almaz-Antey, the main developer of BUK missile launchers, was also ignored,” he said.
Yermolov urged Malaysian leaders to stop the blame game and pointing fingers. Instead, he urged them to focus on finding out the perpetrators behind the tragedy.
He said Russia would continue to work together with Malaysia with the International Civil Aviation Organisation in seeking justice.
“Participation from all countries that possess materials that could shed light on the crash could be a way out of this situation.” -Star