Russia says findings of MH17 investigation are groundless

People gather near a monument for the victims of the Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 plane crash to mark the fourth anniversary of the accident near the village of Hrabove (Grabovo) in Donetsk Region, Ukraine. (Reuters pic)

MOSCOW: Russia’s foreign ministry said on Wednesday that it regretted the findings of the Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 crash investigation and called murder charges against Russian suspects groundless.

Three Russians and a Ukrainian will face murder charges for the 2014 downing of the MH17 jet over eastern Ukraine which killed 298 people, in a trial to start in the Netherlands next March, an investigation team said earlier on Wednesday.

“Once again, absolutely groundless accusations are being made against the Russian side, aimed at discrediting the Russian Federation in the eyes of the international community”, the Russian foreign ministry said on its website.

In the statement, Moscow said it had been ready to provide “all-round assistance to the investigation” from the first day, but argued it had been frozen out of the investigation.

The foreign ministry said information given by the Russian side had been ignored.

Russia has long denied all involvement in the downing of the jet.

“You know our attitude towards this investigation.

“Russia had no opportunity to take part in it even though it showed initiative from… the very first days of this tragedy,” President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters earlier Wednesday.

The four suspects are likely to be tried in absentia in the Netherlands as neither Russia nor Ukraine extradites their nationals.