Putin’s Pet Media Slams Report on Airliner Shot Down in Ukraine
Policy + Politics

Putin’s Pet Media Slams Report on Airliner Shot Down in Ukraine


The TASS news service went the conspiracy route, quoting Viktor Ozerov, the head of the Russian Federation Council Committee for Defense and Security saying, “The course of the investigation suggests that someone wants either to drag it on or conceal the tragedy’s true causes.”

He continued, “Naturally, Russia wants to establish the true causes behind the Boeing crash. But the report which the Dutch Safety Board presented on Tuesday is unlikely to resolve this problem. On the contrary, it is raising a number of new questions and makes further investigation necessary.”

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov said, in a separate report, “It's a source of regret that, despite all Russia's repeated and lengthy attempts to organise the investigation in such a way that it is comprehensive and unbiased, and for it to consider all the information we have ... there is an obvious attempt to draw a biased conclusion, and carry out political orders.”

The lead story on the state-funded RT network focused on whether the government of Ukraine was responsible for the tragedy for failing to close the airspace near the fighting to commercial air traffic.

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Sputnik News, meanwhile, suggested that the findings “approximate the truth” of what happened, and noted that the Russian defense firm Almaz-Antey had conducted its own test that determined that the missile must have been launched from territory held by Ukrainian government forces.

Most Russian news outlets ran footage supplied by Almaz-Antey of the destruction of part of a decommissioned airliner with the sort of missile believed to have taken down the plane.

The company’s findings not only challenged the Dutch finding that the missile had been launched from rebel-controlled territory but also claimed that its findings, as well as those of the Dutch report, confirm that the missile used was not one in the Russian arsenal at the time of the attack.

"The 9M38, 9M38M, 9M38M1 missiles are former modifications of the Buk system missiles, but they all have the same warhead,” said Alexander Luzan, a former deputy chief of the Russian army air defense force. They are not in service with the Russian Armed Forces, but Ukraine has them. And we have been for the past 15 years using missiles of another type — 9M317," Luzan said.

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However, IHS, the respected defense reporting and analysis firm, strongly disputed the Russian claim.

“Russia has veered wildly in its claims over who and what shot down MH17, initially the Russian Ministry of Defence made the claim that it was shot down by Ukrainian Su-25 ground-attack aircraft,” Nick de Larrinaga, Europe editor of IHS Jane’s Defence Weekly, said in a statement released to the press.

“The report released today by Russian missile maker Almaz-Antey should be discounted as disinformation and propaganda aimed at drawing attention away from the Dutch report. It is worth remembering that Russia has a long history of disinformation over its involvement in Ukraine, initially the country denied its troops had invaded Crimea – something Russia now acknowledges was the case.”

“Russia has argued that it no longer operates the 9M38 or 9M38M1 missiles. This is not borne out by the evidence, which shows they remained in Russian service and in Russian military stockpiles at the time of the shoot-down.”