MH17 next of kin want Malaysian authorities to do more

MH17 was shot down over eastern Ukraine, killing all 283 passengers and 15 crew on board, five years ago. (Reuters pic)

PETALING JAYA: The next of kin of passengers on board flight MH17 which crashed five years ago have pledged support for the Joint Investigation Team’s (JIT) findings on the tragedy.

“We would also like to place on record our sincere gratitude and appreciation for their effort thus far,” they said in a statement today.

MH17 was flying from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur on July 17, 2014 when it was shot down over eastern Ukraine, killing all 283 passengers and 15 crew on board.

The Dutch-led JIT said last month they were convinced a BUK Telar missile was used to down MH17, and that it originated from the 53rd Anti-Aircraft Missile Brigade, which is a unit of the Russian Army based in Kursk in the Russian Federation.

They named four suspects – Igor Girkin, a former colonel of the Russian Federal Security Service; Sergey Dubinsky and Oleg Pulatov, who worked for the Russian Military Intelligence Service; and Leonid Kharchenko, a Ukrainian former commander.

Many critiques, including Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad, had dismissed the team’s findings, saying they had not produced any solid evidence to show that the four suspects were guilty of the crime.

The next of kin said statements from different quarters had caused confusion and anguish to some of the family members.

They pointed to the fact that Malaysia’s representative on the JIT, Solicitor-General III Mohamed Hanafiah Zakaria, had said Malaysia supported the team’s conclusions.

They quoted Hanafiah as telling a press conference on June 19 that “we (Malaysia) have not changed our position.”

They also urged the Malaysian authorities to reveal their action plans going forward, saying neither Malaysia Airlines nor its owner Khazanah Nasional Berhad had released any statement to explain their roles in the investigations.

“We wish to stress that the inaction by the Malaysian authorities on this issue has caused distress and discontent among several next of kin,” their statement added.