MH17 investigators still waiting for Russian radar images

MH17 wreckage - Dutch Safety Board report (Photo: NL Times/Zachary Newmark). (MH17 wreckage - Dutch Safety Board report (Photo: NL Times/Zachary Newmark))

Despite promising to do so, Russia still has not handed over radar images of the disaster with flight MH17, the Ministry of Security and Justice announced on Tuesday. The Russian Foreign Ministry promised the Dutch ambassador on October 3rd that the radar images will be transferred to the Joint Investigation Team, the Volkskrant reports. 

The Joint Investigation Team (JIT) is handling the criminal investigation into the downing of flight MH17 in eastern Ukraine on July 17th, 2014.

The preliminary results of the JIT's investigation puts Russia in a difficult position. The JIT concluded that MH17 was shot down from a field in the Ukraine that was under the control of pro-Russian separatists. The team also traced the BUK missile system used traveling from Russia to the field in question and then back to Russia again after the shooting. At the presentation of these results, the investigators stated that they have all the radar images they need for the investigation. As far as they are concerned, not getting other radar footage will not hamper them.

But after the results were presented, Russia accused the JIT of not using all the available information, stating that the investigation is based mostly on "speculation". Immediately after the presentation, a spokesperson for Vladimir Putin called for a "transparent complete" investigation. 

Spokesperson Dmitry Peskov called it regrettable that the primary radar data from Russia was not presented. "No conclusions can be drawn without taking the published information from our army." Shortly before the JIT presentation, the Russian Ministry presented radar data to journalists in Moscow which they claim show no sign of a missile in pro-Russian separatist territory.

While meeting with the Dutch ambassador, the Russian Ministry promised to hand over these radar images so that the JIT can assess them. So far this has not happened, the Dutch Ministry of Security and Justice said. Russia also did not explain while the radar images were unavailable for two years or from where they were recorded.