Russia Wants Evidence That A Russian-Made Missile Struck MH17
Pro-Russia separatists are now cooperating with rescue workers at the crash site of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 in the eastern Ukraine, but political tensions remain between Russia and the Western world. On Monday night, Russia asked for evidence that a Russian-made missile struck MH17, claiming that the country is in the middle of "groundless" finger-pointing accusations.
"There have been a lot of accusations and finger pointing towards Russia," Lyudmila Vorobyeva, President Vladimir Putin's ambassador to Malaysia, told reporters. "The U.S. claims they have evidence of what happened, where is this evidence?"
Vorobyeva added her condolences to the family members of the 298 victims killed in the crash last Thursday. However, she emphasized that Russia's current concern is the politicizing of the disaster, which has pitted the eastern and western worlds against each other in recent days.
I want to make it very clear. In Russia we are not playing these games that our Western counterparts are engaging very much in, blaming someone and accusing some parties without any evidence, we are not doing that. We're calling for a thorough investigation that could produce evidence who is responsible for this tragedy.
The call for more evidence, as well as a "transparent investigation," from Moscow comes on the heels of announcements made by both the Ukrainian and U.S. governments that a Russian-made missile downed MH17. A statement from the U.S. embassy in Kiev says:
We assess that Flight MH17 was likely downed by a SA-11 surface-to-air missile from separatist-controlled territory in eastern Ukraine. We base this judgment on several factors. Over the past month, we have detected an increasing amount of heavy weaponry to separatist fighters crossing the border from Russia into Ukraine. Last weekend, Russia sent a convoy of military equipment with up to 150 vehicles including tanks, armored personnel carriers, artillery, and multiple rocket launchers to the separatist. We also have information indicating that Russia is providing training to separatist fighters at a facility in southwest Russia, and this effort included training on air defense systems. Pro-Russian separatist fighters have demonstrated proficiency with surface-to-air missile systems and have downed more than a dozen aircraft over the past few months, including two large transport aircraft.
The U.S. embassy added that social media posts, including videos on YouTube, show that the pro-Russia separatists were in possession of surface-to-air missiles as early as July 14.
The accusations of Russia's involvement in the downing of MH17 continued on Tuesday, as Vitaly Nayda, Ukraine's director of informational security, told CNN that it's very likely a Russian officer launched the missile. Moscow denies the claim.