Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 was definitely shot down by a Russian missile — and Ukraine has the pictures to prove it, Ukraine President Petro Poroshenko said on Tuesday, during a visit to Australia in which he promised Ukraine’s full cooperation to complete the investigation into the downed passenger plane quickly.
Poroshenko was in Australia to appeal for more foreign aid, to help Ukraine battle the same Russian-backed separatists who shot down the Malaysia Airlines plane. The bloody conflict between the Ukraine government and the pro-Russia forces based in eastern Ukraine has killed at least 4,700 people since April, wounded more than 10,000 others and left more than 500,000 displaced and homeless, according to United Nations figures.
On Friday, Poroshenko and Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott met with the Australian contingent of the Flight MH17 crash investigation team, a meeting in which Petroshenko stated that his country has intelligence proving that Russia was behind the July 17 Malaysia Airlines crash, generally believed to have been the result of a shootdown.
“Intelligence data suggest that the aircraft was downed by a missile launched from a Buk-M system that was brought from Russia into Donbas along with the crew,” Poroshenko said.
But on Tuesday, he went even further, stating that Ukraine has actual photographic evidence that the missile came from the rebel help territory.
“Preliminary results already tell us that the attack was done from the territory controlled by terrorists sponsored by Russians,” Poroshenko said in an Australian television interview. “The surface-to-air missile was delivered from Russia, and we have a satellite photo of the rocket launch.”
The Dutch investigators leading the probe into the downing of Flight MH17, which took off from Amsterdam on its way to Kuala Lumpur, have said that their preliminary findings show the plane was struck by “high energy objects” in mid-air that caused the Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777-200 to crash.
But the investigators have not said what those “objects” were or where they came from.
Russia has denied any involvement in the Flight MH17 shootdown.
In fact, the government backed international TV news channel Russia Today aired a documentary in October claiming to prove that the Malaysia Airlines plane was shot down not by a missile launched from the ground, but by an air-to-air missile fired from a Ukrainian military fighter jet.
The Russian media later published what purported to be a satellite photo of the actual plane firing a missile at Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17, but the photo was quickly exposed as a crude forgery.