A new mystery witness claims that Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 was shot down not by a Russian ground-to-air missile, but by a Ukraine fighter jet — and the witness says he knows the pilot who pulled the trigger and even named him in the Russian media.
The new witness story emerged late Monday in the Russian media, in a story broken by the daily newspaper Komsomolskaya Pravda. The newspaper reported that the man, whose name was kept secret, was an employee at Aviatorske Airport, a Ukrainian military airfield in the city of Dnipropetrovsk.
The witness told the paper that July 17, the day Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 was shot down over eastern Ukraine on its way from Amsterdam, Holland, to Kuala Lumpur, was a deadly one in the skies, even before the commercial Boeing 777 went down, killing all 298 passengers and crew.
Three Ukraine Su-25 fighter jets — similar to the one pictured above — were in the air that day, and two had already been shot down, he said The third Su-25 was carrying air-to-air missiles and returned to the base safely, but without the missiles.
The pilot, named as Captain Vladislav Voloshin of Nikolaev, Ukraine, got out of his plane appearing “frightened,” the mystery witness told the Pravda paper. Voloshin simply said, “wrong plane,” when he emerged, the alleged witness recounted.
The witness said the pilot was asked again what had happened, and replied, “The plane was in the wrong place at the wrong time.”
“I know the pilot a little,” the secret witness told the paper. “It is quite possible that when two fighters were shot down in front of his eyes, he could’ve fired the missiles out of fright or revenge. Maybe he mistook it for some other combat aircraft.”
The Ukrainian government immediately dismissed the Russian media account as a fabrication.
Indeed, while the unproven but generally accepted version of the Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 shootdown blames Russian-backed rebels firing a Russian-made “Buk” missile, Russia has previously pushed the story that a Ukrainian fighter jet shot down the airliner.
In October, the government-backed Russian English-language news network Russia Today broadcast a documentary purporting to show that Ukraine was responsible for shooting down Flight MH17.
Then in November, the government-run Channel One news operation published what it said was a satellite photo showing the moment of the Malaysia Airlines shootdown. But that photo was quickly exposed as a crude forgery.
The new mystery witness claim that a Ukraine fighter pilot admitted shooting down Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 was called “important proof” of Russia’s claim that Ukraine was responsible, in a Russian investigating committee statement on Wednesday — the same day new ceasefire negotiations between Ukraine and the Russian-backed rebels were set to begin.