A pro-Kremlin Russian newspaper has made a series of claims about the downing of Flight MH17, alleging that the disaster was a failed attempt by the Ukrainian air force to assassinate Vladimir Putin, under orders from a billionaire oligarch.
According to the Daily Mail, Russia’s Komsomolskaya Pravda newspaper and Moment of Truth program allege that the downing of MH17 was conducted under the orders of oligarch Ihor Kolomoyskyi. The paper claims that Kolomoyskyi, a known enemy of Putin, received intelligence about the Russian president’s aircraft, Plane Number One, and its intended landing site at Rostov-on-Don. They further allege that Kolomoyskyi ordered the Ukrainian air force to shoot down Putin’s jet, setting in motion the events that led to the MH17 tragedy. The flight path of Putin’s plane, they assert, was changed at the last minute, taking it to Moscow instead.
Though pro-Kremlin media outlets have long placed blame for the MH17 disaster on Ukraine, the Komsomolskaya Pravda story takes those assertions a step farther by identifying a Ukrainian army pilot that they allege shot down the plane. The report claims that Lt. Col. Dmitro Yakatsuts of the elite 299 squadron in the Ukrainian air force piloted an Su-25 aircraft, tailing flight MH17, and also alleges that the jetliner was hit by a 30mm projectiles from the military plane.
— Vladimir Putin News (@Putinizer) November 25, 2014
The report further claims that air traffic controller Anna Petrenko, based in Dnepropetrovsk, was in charge of MH17 when it was shot down. As proof of their allegations, the paper asserts that Petrenko and Yakatsuts have both disappeared to Dubai. TV presenter Andrey Karaulov claimed that the exact whereabouts of the pair are unknown.
“No-one is searching for them. It is the first case in the world that an air traffic controller that was in charge of the crashed plane is urgently sent on holiday. She wasn’t even interrogated,” he asserted.
— brgsjk (@brgsjks) November 6, 2014
Vladimir Putin was returning from a trip to Latin America on the day that MH17 was brought down over Ukraine. The flight paths of both aircraft did indeed intersect over Poland, though MH17 and Putin’s plane were 37 minutes apart. As the Inqusitr previously noted, rumors of a Ukrainian attempt to shoot down Putin’s aircraft began to circulate shortly after the disaster.
During the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in November, Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott discussed the MH17 disaster with Putin, having previously threatened to “shirtfront” the Russian president. According to the Guardian, Abbott indicated to Putin that he was in possession of evidence suggesting that MH17 had been destroyed by a missile from a Russian launcher fired in Ukraine.
While it is not immediately possible to asses the validity of claims that the MH17 disaster was tied to an attempt on Putin’s life, Western experts have warned about Russian efforts to mask the true cause of the crash.
[Image: AP via the Daily Mail]