Kremlin dismisses claims Putin was involved in MH17 downing

The Kremlin rejected the findings of international prosecutors investigating the downing of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 (MH17), who said they found “strong evidence” of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s involvement in the incident.

Prosecutors told The Hague they found “hard evidence” that Putin approved the use of Russia’s BUK missile system, which was used to shoot down a plane over eastern Ukraine in 2014. In Moscow’s first response to their statement, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that Russia “cannot accept” the results of the investigation since it was not involved in the process. He also said that investigators have not publicly presented evidence to support him. MH17 was shot down by a Russian BUK missile system while flying over eastern Ukraine from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur on July 17, 2014, killing all 298 passengers and crew, including 196 Dutch nationals.

At the time, pro-Russian separatists were fighting Ukrainian forces for control of the eastern Donbass region. The phone call did not mention weapons

Prosecutors cited the intercepted phone calls for their findings, but said evidence of involvement by Putin — or other Russian officials — was not enough to pursue criminal charges and end their investigation.

Russia has repeatedly denied state involvement in the downing of MH17. Peskov rejected the evidence presented by investigators.

“We know that the records of the phone calls have been released… not one word about weapons was mentioned. Even assuming this conversation is real… there is no mention of guns. No one has published anything else, so it is impossible to say anything,” Peskov told reporters. Asked specifically about the statement that Putin approved the delivery of BUK missile systems to pro-Moscow separatists in Ukraine, Peskov said: “Russia did not participate in this investigation, so we cannot accept these results. – especially since there is no basis for these claims made public.

After the plane crashed, the Netherlands, Australia, Belgium, Ukraine and Malaysia formed an investigative team to find out who was responsible and gather evidence for a criminal case.

In November, a Dutch court convicted two former Russian intelligence officers and a Ukrainian separatist leader of murder for helping to arrange the weapons used to shoot down the plane. Men, tried in ABKenia, remain in freedom.

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