Five years since Malaysia Airlines flight MH-17 was downed over eastern Ukraine, the probe drags on, producing more questions than answers. Not content with general Russia-blaming, Malaysia says it wants the culprits named.
On Wednesday, vigils great and small were held worldwide to mourn the 298 people that died when a Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 went down over eastern Ukraine in July 2014.
An international probe into the MH-17 crash was taken on by the Netherlands-led Joint Investigation Team (JIT), which included Ukraine and excluded Russia and Malaysia.
Heavily relying on evidence posted online, the probe maintained that it was pro-Russian separatists fighting the Ukrainian government forces who launched the Buk missile from the territory they controlled.
Russia, effectively sidelined by the probe, has contested the findings, calling them biased. The Russian military has maintained that the videos showing the Buk missile being moved through Ukraine have been fabricated.
Five years ago to the date, the wide-body plane took off at Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport and headed for Kuala Lumpur International Airport.
Hours later, radar contact with the aircraft was lost when it was traversing over eastern Ukraine. It crashed near the village of Grabovo (Hrabove) amid hostilities between Kiev’s troops and anti-government Donbass militias.
The ill-fated aircraft was of the same model as Malaysia Airlines’ flight MH-370, which mysteriously vanished while flying from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing in March 2014.
Built in 1997, it had a robust maintenance record with no mechanical issues reported prior to the flight. It is understood that 13:20 GMT (16:20 local time) was the moment an anti-air missile hit the plane.
No distress signal is said to have been sent by the crew of flight MH-17, and the confiscated black boxes, investigated in London recorded nothing unusual until the readings abruptly stopped.
In the years since the tragedy, several investigations have been launched into the cause of the crash, and numerous experiments and simulations carried out, some of which even included live-fire tests.
Meanwhile, the Buk manufacturer Almaz Antey carried out two full-scale experiments to reconstruct the MH-17 crash.
It said the data demonstrated that the missile that downed the plane was not used by Russia and was instead an older model fired from a Ukraine-controlled area.
The Dutch investigators, however, were reluctant to scrutinize that evidence, brushing away Almaz Antey’s findings?
Moscow has repeatedly offered help and demonstrated evidence, provided radar data and declassified military information on the Buk missile, but the data has been either ignored or deemed insufficient.
The question remained which of the conflicting sides in Ukraine actually fired the missile. For now the evidence presented against Russia is ‘no proof at all’.
Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad on Wednesday said he was dismayed that those responsible for the downing have still not been found five years after the tragedy.
Malaysia was not at all convinced by the JIT’s findings regarding Russia’s alleged role and demanded that the investigators provide proof that the Russians were behind the shooting.
Moscow has outright denied its involvement in the downing of flight MH-17, while pointing out that the JIT probe has been designed to squarely pin the blame on Russia.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has recently denied any guilt on behalf of Russia in the MH-17 tragedy, calling the JIT findings “no proof at all” and saying that Moscow’s evidence has been ignored.
President Vladimir Putin also has dismissed allegations by international investigators who have accused three Russians, one Ukrainian of using a surface-to-air missile, brought from Russia, to shoot down Malaysian Airlines flight MH-17.
RT. com / ABC Flash Point News 2019.