In his recent interview with U.S. filmmaker Oliver Stone, Vladimir Putin repeated a thoroughly debunked claim that a Spanish flight dispatcher saw Ukrainian military jets in the vicinity of MH17 when it was shot down in 2014.
The Malaysia Airlines plane en route to Kuala Lumpur was downed over eastern Ukraine on July 17 that year killing all 298 passengers on board.
“As far as I know, right after this horrible catastrophe, one of the Ukrainian flight dispatchers, I think he is of Spanish origins, said he had seen a fighter in the commercial plane’s flight path,” Putin reportedly told Stone, during an interview recorded in July 2015 for “The Putin Interviews” series.
The comments did not make the final cut, but the opposition-leaning Dozhd television channel gained access to the quotes after previewing a full transcript of the conversations set to be published by the Alpina publishing house.
In the immediate aftermath of the incident, Russian state media widely referred to tweets posted by a Kiev-based Spanish aircraft dispatcher called Carlos, claiming he had spotted Ukrainian military jets in the airliner’s vicinity.
The tweets were later discovered to have been fabricated, while official reports suggested a Russian-made Buk missile fired by pro-Russian separatists was responsible for the downing.
“There could only have been a Ukrainian fighter jet there. That, of course, demands clarification,” Putin is cited as saying by Dozhd.
In his comments to Stone, Putin also repeated previous claims that the Boeing was hit in its tail, implicating Ukrainian government forces, rather than pro-Russian separatists, according to Dozhd.
It is the first time that Putin spoke in such detail about the downing of MH17.
The full transcript of Stone's interviews, titled “Interview With Putin,” claims to contain three times more information than the films, on topics including Putin’s KGB past, the Panama Papers and Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov. It is set to come out on Sept. 11.