The international investigative team failed to present any “conclusive evidence” to pin the blame on Moscow for its alleged role in downing MH17 over Ukraine, according to Malaysian Transport Minister Anthony Loke.
“There is no conclusive evidence to point at Russia under the JIT (Joint Investigative Team) evidence,” Loke said in an interview to Channel NewsAsia on Wednesday.
“But who’s responsible – you can’t just pinpoint at Russia,” the minister stated, adding that “any further actions will be based on conclusive evidence.” He also stressed that it is important to safeguard good diplomatic relations.
Last week, the Dutch-led probe claimed that the missile that hit flight MH17 in 2014 and led to the jet crashing, came from a BUK missile system that belonged to a Russian military unit stationed in western Russia. The interim JIM probe results repeated almost one-year-old allegations made by activist group Bellingcat. Despite Moscow insisting that no Russian missile system ever crossed into the Ukraine, Netherlands and Australia were quick to declare Russia “responsible” for the deployment of a BUK missile system.
While the blame-game continues to build up momentum, several Dutch parties, including the Party for Freedom (PVV), Dutch Socialist Party, Forum for Democracy, and the Christian Democratic Appeal (CDA), raised questions as to why Ukraine was not held responsible for what occurred over its territory.
On Thursday, Dutch Foreign Minister Stef Blok said that he could not “rule out anything” speaking about Kiev’s potential liability for the crash, but noted there was no “hard legal ground” for it.
Russian authorities have repeatedly highlighted the fact that Ukraine failed to close airspace, while the West continues to pin the blame on Moscow.
Moreover, Moscow has provided the investigators with untampered radar data, which “didn’t establish any aerial objects approaching the passenger Boeing from the western side,” according to Russian military.
The latest round of allegations also conveniently came “in light of the upcoming important international events,” Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov noted in an apparent reference to the 2018 FIFA World Cup that starts in Russia in just two weeks.
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