Just three days after Russia claimed that Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 was shot down by a Buk anti-aircraft missile fired by Ukraine government troops, an official Russian Investigative Committee has now revealed a “mystery witness” who says that the Boeing 777-200 with 298 people on board, was shot down by a Ukraine Air Force fighter plane.
Western governments and intelligence agencies believe that the Malaysia Airlines plane was downed by Russia-backed anti-government rebels in eastern Ukraine.
Russia has consistently denied any involvement in the July 17, 2014, shootdown that killed everyone in the commercial airliner, which was on its way from Amsterdam, Holland, to the Malaysian capital of Kuala Lumpur.
But the Russians have proposed two separate and seemingly contradictory scenarios for how the plane was downed — claiming hard evidence for both.
Back in December, Russia said it had a mystery witness who could actually name the pilot who mistakenly shot down Flight MH17 with an air-to-air missile. The Russian media identified that pilot as Captain Vladislav Voloshin, pictured below.
Then just earlier this week, representatives of the Russian defense giant Almaz-Antey, makers of the Buk missile, said that evidence confirmed that one of their missiles exploded outside the Malaysia Airlines plane, riddling the aircraft with shrapnel that caused the 777 to crash.
But the defense contractor said that the evidence also proved that the type of missile that downed the plane was used only by the Ukraine government, not by Russia.
On Saturday, however, the story changed again. Russian government-sponsored media outlets ran video — which can be seen above in a Russia Today television news report — revealing the identity of the December mystery witness.
Evgeni Agapov was said to be an aviation mechanic who worked at the Ukraine Air Force base from which Captain Vladislav Voloshin took off last July 17 in an Su-25 fighter jet.
Agapov says that the Su-25 returned without its missiles and the visibly upset pilot saying that the commercial airliner “was in the wrong place at the wrong time.”
“The witness told us that the pilot was shocked, confused”, the Russian investigative committee wrote. “It was an accident and happened in combat conditions, the pilot just confused the planes.”
The Russian committee said that Agapov voluntarily crossed the border between Russia and Ukraine and sought out Russian authorities to tell his story. The alleged “key witness” to the Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 shootdown is now under the protection of the Russian government, the committee said.
[Image: Russia Today TV Screen Grab]