PETALING JAYA: The Dutch-led team investigating the Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 tragedy said Malaysia had supported its findings about Russian involvement in the downing of the plane five years ago.
“Malaysia has supported earlier conclusions of the JIT,” said Brechtje van de Moosdijk, spokesperson for the Dutch public prosecution service, referring to the Joint Investigation Team which announced its findings yesterday.
“For years now, our cooperation with the juridical authorities in Malaysia that are represented in the Joint Investigation Team, has been very good,” she told FMT.
It comes hours after Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad accused the investigation team of being politically motivated in accusing individuals linked to Russia for the tragedy.
He said investigators had all along wanted to accuse Russia as the culprit.
“And now they say they have proof who the person is (persons are). This is ridiculous,” Mahathir said today. “We want proof of guilt but so far there’s no proof, only hearsay.”
Flight MH17 was shot down over eastern Ukraine on July 17, 2014, killing all 298 people on board, mostly Dutch nationals.
Mahathir had in the past questioned Western theories accusing Moscow, which had backed pro-Russian rebels in the Ukraine conflict, of shooting down the plane using a Buk ground-to-air missile.
Van de Moosdijk said Malaysian Solicitor-General III Mohd Hanafiah Zakaria had also declared support for the team when four suspects were named as those responsible for the downing of MH17.
“The Malaysian foreign ministry has also confirmed this support in today’s press release,” she said.
Yesterday, JIT named the four suspects it said were responsible for the incident. They are Igor Girkin, a former colonel of the Russian Federal Security Service; Sergey Dubinsky and Oleg Pulatov from the Russian Military Intelligence Service, and Leonid Kharchenko, a Ukrainian former commander.
“We have evidence showing that Russia provided the missile launcher,” said Dutch prosecutor Fred Westerbeke.
JIT said a BUK Telar missile was used to down MH17, adding that it originated from the 53rd Brigade of the Russian army in Kursk.