Malaysian PM doubts Russia's involvement in MH17; NL wants explanation

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

Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohammad expressed doubts about Russia's involvement in the downing of flight MH17 over eastern Ukraine in 2014. The Netherlands asked Malaysia for an explanation, RTL Nieuws reports.

Speaking to news agency Bernama, Mohammad said that he supports the conclusions of the Joint Investigation Team (JIT) up to the point in the investigation that showed that the rocket that shot down the Malaysian Airlines plane was of Russian origin. He has doubts about whether it was Russia who fired the projectile. "I do not think that such a disciplined party is responsible for launching the rocket", Mohammad said. "They accuse Russia, but where is he evidence?" he said. "We know that the rocket is of a Russian type, but it can also be made in Ukraine. 

Flight MH17 was shot down over eastern Ukraine on July 17th, 2014. All 298 people on board, including 196 Dutch, were killed. Investigation by the Dutch Safety Board and the Joint Investigation Team (JIT) so far revealed that the Malaysian Airlines flight was shot down by a BUK missile system from the 53rd Anti-aircraft Brigade of the Russian Armed Forces, fired from a field in Ukraine that was under the control of pro-Russian separatists at the time.

It is important to note that the JIT never actually said that it was Russia who fired the missile. The Netherlands and Australia officially held Russia accountable for its role in the disaster - providing the missile that shot down the plane, not shooting down the plane. Russia also held a press conference saying that the missile was made in Russia, but was in Ukrainian hands at the time of the disaster. 

"We have taken note of the statements made by the Malaysian Prime Minister", the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said to RTL Nieuws. The Ministry added that "Malaysia has always fully supported the findings, both bilaterally and as part of the JIT."