Rebels admit to BUK missiles; deny MH17 responsibility

The pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine possessed missiles that were able to bring down the Malaysian Airlines flight MH17, but the BUK-system was not used.

This is according to Aleksandr Chodakovski, one of the main rebel commanders. He also says that the BUK was not in the area where MH17 was shot down.

In an interview with Reuters, shortly after MH17 was shot down, Chodakovski said that the rebels had quickly returned the BUK after the plane crashed. "I was misquoted", says Chodakovski. "I only said that the BUK-system was on the way to the are from Lugansk. But it was not there yet. When the fighters of the People's Republic of Lugansk heard about the disaster, the BUK was hastily returned, to avoid that they would get the blame."

He is convinced that the rebels did not shoot down the plane. "I have spoken to all the commanders that have such weapons and they assured me that no one used them."

Chodakovski acknowledges that their is insufficient evidence to prove who actually shot down the plane. "I do not want to jump to conclusions, because it is wrong to use such a tragedy for political purposes. I do not agree with what Russia says: that Ukraine created the conditions for the disaster by keeping the airspace open."