Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 may have been shot down by Russian troops, witnesses in Ukraine have said.
The flight was shot down over Ukraine in July, killing all 298 people onboard. Though the Kremlin suggested that the plane was shot down by a Ukrainian fighter jet, evidence showed that it was a fragmentation weapon, like a BUK missile launcher, that took down Malaysia Airlines flight MH17.
Though pro-Russian rebels have denied using or even having a BUK, photographs did show the missile launcher on their territory.
Now new witnesses to the tragedy said it was indeed a BUK that took down MH17, and it appeared to be Russian troops operating the weapon.
One witness told the BBC that the crew operating the missile launcher spoke in Russian accepts and appeared to be quite different than Ukrainian rebels.
“Well-disciplined, unlike the rebels, and not wearing the standard Ukrainian camouflage uniform sported by government and rebel troops alike,” the witness said. “They had pure Russian accents. They say the letter ‘g’ differently to us,” he said.
A second witness confirmed the account, saying a military officer escorting the BUK had a Muscovite accent.
Early reports suggested that Russian troops were in the area at the time of the plane crash, though the Kremlin has denied all allegations.
If the account is true, it would represent an even greater escalation in the conflict in Ukraine. Last week more than 1,000 Russian troops crossed the border into Ukraine to join the conflict, prompting outrage among world leaders and leading to sanctions against Russia.
But if it was indeed Russian soldiers that shot down Malaysia Airlines flight Mh17, it would confirm rumors that Russian troops have quietly been operating in Ukraine for much longer. Russia has already taken an aggressive stance on the issue, with President Vladimir Putin acting defiantly against world leaders and Russia reportedly threatening to use a nuclear weapon in Ukraine if the conflict continues.