The fourth anniversary of the tragedy
On July 15, 2018, in advance of a Trump-Putin meeting in Helsinki and the anniversary of the downing of MH17, the Canadian Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued G7 Foreign Ministers’ statement, restating Russia’s role in this tragic event.
On July 17, 2014, 298 crew and passengers were killed when the Malaysian Boeing MH17 flying from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur was shot down over Donbass region controlled by pro-Russian separatists fighting for their independence from Ukraine. Having uploaded photos and video evidence to the web right after the tragedy, witnesses stated that a BUK missile system was seen as crossing a Russian-Ukrainian border and traveling through the separatist-controlled areas. In May 2018, as a result of an independent criminal investigation led by the Netherlands, Australia, Belgium, Malaysia and Ukraine, investigators pointed at the specific BUK system responsible, tracing it to the 53rd anti-aircraft missile brigade based in Kursk. On May 25, 2018, the Government of the Netherlands announced that the Netherlands and Australia were convinced by the results of the investigation on Russia, having been responsible for the BUK deployment, and would proceed with formally holding Russia accountable. Now, G7 Foreign Ministers’ statement repeats that the “findings on Russia’s role in the downing of MH17 are compelling, significant and deeply disturbing.”
“We are united in our support of Australia and the Netherlands as they call on Russia to account for its role in this incident and to cooperate fully with the process to establish the truth and achieve justice for the victims of MH17 and their next of kin.”
In turn, Russia didn’t accept the existing accusations. On the contrary, since the actual tragedy, Russian media has put forward very different causes for the airplane crash all of which were equally taken seriously by a broader Russian audience. The most commonly used versions were that MH17 was downed either by a Ukrainian fighter jet or by a Ukrainian BUK. But for all that, the Russian side had photo proofs broadcasted by the Russian main federal TV channel.
Moreover, the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs declared repeatedly that Russia had never been invited to join the international investigation, although the country provided the joint investigation team with all the necessary information regardless. Nevertheless, in July 2015, the proposed international tribunal to prosecute MH17 suspects was vetoed by Russia in the UN Security Council.