Russia’s Defense Ministry has claimed that a late Soviet-era missile that downed Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 four years ago was delivered to Ukraine and never made it back to Russia.
A Dutch-led investigation said last May that the Buk missile used to shoot down the plane came from a Russian anti-aircraft brigade based in Kursk. Russia has denied involvement in the July 2014 incident over rebel-held eastern Ukraine that claimed 298 lives.
At a news conference claiming to reveal new facts about the MH17 crash, the Russian Defense Ministry said the Buk manufacturer’s declassified archives showed the missile had been made in 1986 and transported to western Ukraine.
“After the fall of the Soviet Union, it wasn’t moved [back] to Russia,” the state-run RIA Novosti news agency quoted Lieutenant General Nikolai Parshin as saying Monday.
Major General Igor Konashenkov, the Defense Ministry spokesman, accused Dutch investigators of “faking” videos that reconstructed the Buk transport and launch vehicle’s path toward the launch site.
Konashenkov claimed that intercepted audio of Ukrainian troops speaking by phone during exercises in 2016 also implicated the country in the MH17 downing.
Oleksandr Turchynov, the head of Ukraine's National Security Council, told Interfax-Ukraine that the Russian Defense Ministry press conference was ”another unsuccessful Kremlin fake.”
The Dutch-led investigation said on Monday that it would “meticulously study” the newly presented materials once they are made available to them.