The head of the State Duma's Foreign Affairs Committee has denied Russia's involvement in the downing of Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 following the publication of a German report blaming Ukrainian rebels for the crash.
"The German secret services noted: The Boeing [airplane] was hit by a Ukrainian Buk missile system 'in possession of the separatists.' In other words: Russia is not involved here. And the Buk could have been launched by Ukrainian armed forces," Alexei Pushkov wrote Monday on his Twitter account.
German newspaper Der Spiegel reported Sunday that the head of Germany's foreign intelligence agency, Gerhard Schindler, told a secret parliamentary committee in September that the plane had been downed by pro-Russian separatists using a Russian Buk missile system fired from a Ukrainian base.
The German investigation, based on an analysis of satellite and other photos, was the first to formally conclude Ukrainian rebels had caused the crash, with a preliminary Dutch report published last month saying the plane crashed due to a "large number of high-energy objects" that exploded outside of the aircraft, without specifying the culprits.
Prime minister of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic in eastern Ukraine, Andrei Purgin, dismissed the German conclusion as meaningless.
"A member of the militia, who yesterday was a miner and today is protecting his land with weapons in hand has neither the skills nor the knowledge to operate such a complex device," he was quoted as telling the Interfax news agency on Sunday.
The doomed MH17 airplane, which was flying from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur, crashed over Ukraine's rebel-held territory in July, resulting in the loss of all 298 lives on board.
While Western nations have accused Moscow of supplying eastern Ukraine's pro-Russian separatists with weapons, Russia has repeatedly denied the claims.