PUTRAJAYA: Dr Mahathir Mohamad has slammed the findings of the team probing the Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 tragedy, saying investigators had all along wanted to accuse Russia as the culprit who shot down the plane killing all 298 on board.
“And now they said they have proof who the person is. This is ridiculous,” the prime minister told reporters at a Hari Raya open house hosted by the Prime Minister’s Department today.
“No one saw who the shooter was, yet they know who shot (down the plane).”
He also said that as far as Putrajaya was concerned, they wanted proof of guilt that Russia was responsible for the tragedy.
“So far, there is no proof; only hearsay.”
Yesterday, four suspects were named as those responsible for the downing of MH17 over conflict-torn eastern Ukraine on July 17, 2014.
Investigators named 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.
Asked what would happen if Russia refused to comply with the probe’s findings, Mahathir said Malaysia could not do anything as it is a “small country”.
“We wanted to go to war with Russia, but our military is not big enough,” he said sarcastically.
Mahathir’s comments come barely a month after he said Putrajaya wants strong evidence that Russia was responsible for downing MH17.
He said while the government agreed that the plane was brought down by a Russian missile, it could not be ascertained whether the missile was launched by Russia.
“They are accusing Russia but where is the evidence? We know that the missile that brought down the plane was a Russian-type missile, but it could also have been made in Ukraine.
“It could be by the rebels in Ukraine; it could be the Ukrainian government because they too have the same missile,” he said during a dialogue and media conference with the Japanese Foreign Correspondents Club in Tokyo.
He also said the Russian people are a military people and would have known that MH17 was a passenger plane.