Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17, the commercial Boeing 777 shot down over Ukraine on July 17 with 298 people on board, is generally believed to have been downed by at least one surface-to-air missile fired by pro-Russian Ukrainian rebels. But a new documentary that aired Wednesday on a Russia-sponsored, English-language TV channel tells a very different story.
The downing of the Malaysia Airlines flight, taking off from Amsterdam and bound for Kuala Lumpur, killed everyone on board, making it the worst shootdown of a commercial aircraft in history. Russia has consistently denied any responsibility for the downing of the aircraft, and international investigators have accused Russia and the pro-Russian separatists in Ukraine of actively obstructing the investigation.
At the United Nations on Thursday, Alexey Zeitsev — an official with the Russian U.N. delegation — declared that the investigation into the downing of Flight MH17 was stalled.
“The investigation into the crash of MH17 flight of the Malaysia Airlines in fact reached its dead end,” Zeitsev declared.
But the reason that the investigation has not made progress — with 43 of the MH17 passengers still to be accounted for, even three months after the disaster — is the Russians themselves, say other world leaders.
Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbot promised to “shirt front” — an Australian sports term for “confront” — Russian President Vladimir Putin at the G20 economic summit meeting last week, to “demand that you fully cooperate with the criminal investigation.”
There were 38 Australians and residents of Australia who died on Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17. But the summit meeting passed without Abbot finding his shirt-fronting moment, and now the Kremlin-backed TV network Russia Today has aired its film MH 17: The Untold Story, which shifts blame from the Russia-backed separatists to a presumably Ukrainian military fighter jet. That jet, the film alleges, actually shot the Malaysia Airlines flight out of the sky.
The 23-minute Russia Today documentary can be viewed above.
“I lifted my head and saw a small military aircraft in the sky. So I’m 100 percent sure there was a second aircraft,” says one witness interviewed in the Russia Today film.
“Aircraft MH17 was crippled by an air-to-air missile, and as it descended, it was finished off by cannon fire,” says another of the film’s interview subjects, who claims to have seen the Malaysia Airlines shootdown occur.
Last week, Germany’s intelligence agency, the BND, told the country’s parliament that satellite images and other evidence clearly established that the Malaysia Airlines plane was shot down by a Buk missile fired from the ground by the pro-Russian rebels. But so far no other European country has officially assigned blame for bringing down Flight MH17.