Press-release: Position of Ukraine regarding the catastrophe of Malaysia airlines flight MH 17
Position of Ukraine regarding the catastrophe of Malaysia airlines flight MH 17
24 July 2014
On July 17, approximately at 4:20 p.m., Malaysia Airlines plane Boeing 777 en route from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur carrying 298 people on board (283 passengers, including 3 infants, and 15 crewmembers) disappeared from radar at an altitude of 10100 m. At 4.45 p.m. the plane crashed near the village Grabovo in the Donetsk oblast near the Ukrainian-Russian border.
Within a few hours after the crash the Security Service of Ukraine (SSU) made public the conclusive evidence of the fact that the plane was downed by pro-Russian terrorists with a “BUK-M” SAM system, which together with the crew had been supplied from Russia. The SSU intercepted telephone conversations of the terrorists, during which I.Bezler (aka 'Bes') reports to his coordinator, the Russian GRU colonel V. Geranin on a civil airplane being shot down by militants. In another intercepted telephone conversation, terrorists discussed the fact that on July 17 the “BUK-M” SAM system had been supplied to them from Russia.
The number of passengers and their nationalities of those on-board MH17: Netherlands – 193 (including 1 dual Netherlands/USA citizen), Malaysia – 43 (including 15 crew and 2 infants), Australia – 27, Indonesia – 12 (including 1 infant), United Kingdom – 10 (including 1 dual UK/S. Africa citizen), Germany – 4, Belgium – 4, Philippines – 3, Canada – 1, New Zealand – 1.
On July 21, search operations at the crash site were fully completed. The units of the State service on emergencies of Ukraine discovered 282 dead bodies and 87 fragments that belonged to 16 other bodies. On July 22, at 11.20 a.m. a train with the bodies of victims arrived in the city of Kharkiv.
International experts’ examination of the crash site is complicated by the fact that Russian military experts under the guise of civilians have already inspected the crash area.
On July 22, the Vice-Prime-Minister of Ukraine, Head of the State Commission for the Investigation of the circumstances of the Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 crash V.Groisman informed that international experts continue to work on the examination of the bodies and are preparing them to be transported to the Netherlands. This work is to be finished till July 25, 2014. The experts are working on the territory of the Malyshev Tank Plant, using equipment that was imported earlier from the Netherlands.
On July 22, Dutch mission head Jan Tuinder reported that experts had examined 2 of the 4 train carriages and 200 bodies and fragments of the bodies.
The United Kingdom agreed the Dutch request for air accident investigators at Farnborough to retrieve data from MH17 black boxes for international analysis. The MH17 black boxes are already in the United Kingdom.
On July 23, the first plane with bodies of the victims left Kharkiv Airport for the Netherlands.
Ukraine’s principled position:
- the jet fighters of the Ukrainian Armed Forces were not in the airspace before, at and immediately after the crash of the Malaysian civilian aircraft;
- since the start of the CTO, the Ukrainian Armed Forces have never used any anti-aircraft missiles.
- It is the core interest of Ukraine to ensure immediate, comprehensive, transparent and unbiased international full-scale probe into the tragedy.
The State commission with the involvement of experts from ICAO and other international structures, including the EUROCONTROL, was established. The Ukrainian Foreign Ministry established the crisis response unit for communication with relatives of victims of this terrorist act.
In accordance with international law, on behalf of the President and decision of the Prime Minister of Ukraine as well as the National Bureau of Investigation, Ukraine proposed to the Dutch side to conduct a full investigation into the Boeing 777 disaster together with Ukraine and all sides of the plane crash.
- Ukrainian authorities render all possible assistance to the foreign investigation teams. We provided all necessary technical equipment and personnel to hold the investigation and forensic examinations, as well as all means to repatriate the victims’ bodies to their respective countries. On 21 July, the President of Ukraine ordered the CTO forces to ensure a 40 km safety zone from place of the airplane crash.
For reference: a special investigation team from Malaysia (133 persons) and special investigation teams from the Netherlands (50 persons), Germany (4 persons), UK (7), United Arab Emirates (6), USA (3), Australia (20), Switzerland (3), France (3), Indonesia (3), Italy (1), EU (3), ICAO (3) arrived in Ukraine and started investigating circumstances of Malaysia Airlines aircraft crash.
- We urge the international community to apply maximum political pressure on Russia in order to make it withdraw the terrorists from Ukraine, to allow the Ukrainian and international experts full and unimpeded access to the crash site and actively promote the comprehensive investigation into the tragedy.
For reference: On July 21, the UN Security Council unanimously adopted a resolution calling for an international investigation into the downing of a Malaysia Airlines passenger flight in eastern Ukraine, and demanded that armed groups allow unfettered access to the crash site and ensure that its integrity is maintained. The Council also demanded that those responsible for this incident to be held to account and that all States cooperate fully with efforts to establish accountability.
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