Russia says it has proof that Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 was shot down by another plane — a military jet — and now the Dutch prosecutors investigating the July 17 downing of the commercial airliner carrying 298 human beings are telling the Russians to put up or shut up.
About two of every three passengers of the Malaysia Airlines flight that sailed over dangerous Ukrainian airspace during an otherwise ordinary flight from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur were Dutch. The Dutch Safety Board has been in charge of investigating the crash, which is generally believed to have been the result of a shootdown by pro-Russian rebels in eastern Ukraine who were armed with a sophisticated “Buk” surface-to-air anti-aircraft missile system.
United States authorities have said the U.S. has evidence to back up that scenario and said so just days after the horrifying disaster that killed everyone on board Flight MH17.
And just last week, Germany’s intelligence agency, known as the BND, issued a report supporting the same conclusion — that the anti-government Ukraine separatists, who want eastern Ukraine to secede and join Russia, fired a ground-to-air missile that brought down the Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777.
Russia, other the other hand, maintains that a Ukrainian military fighter jet shot down Flight MH17 with an air-to-air missile and the Russians say they have radar evidence and photos that prove they’re right.
The claim that Flight MH17 was shot down by another plane was the theme of a Russian TV documentary that aired last week on the Kremlin-backed English-language Russia Today network. The documentary, MH17: The Untold Story, can be viewed below.
But a Dutch Safety Board report issued in September concluded only that the Malaysia Airlines plane was “penetrated by a large number of high-energy objects” which caused the plane to blow up in mid-air. The Dutch investigators stopped short of saying who fired the “high-energy objects” or where they were fired from.
A Dutch prosecutor said in a Monday interview that the Dutch “aren’t closing [their] eyes” to the possibility that a military aircraft shot down MH17, but his country is demanding that Russia hand over the proof that it says it possesses, backing up the air-to-air shootdown scenario.
“We are preparing a request to Moscow for information,” Dutch chief prosecutor Fred Westerbeke told Germany’s Der Spiegel magazine. “Including the radar data with which the Russians wanted to prove that a Ukrainian military jet was nearby.”
Westerbeke also said he is aware that Russia claims to have photographs showing that a Ukrainian fighter jet shot down Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17, but “we are not aware of the specific images in question.”