Malaysiakini News

Report: Pilot blamed for MH17 crash commits suicide

Published:  |  Modified:

A Ukrainian military pilot accused by Russia of shooting down Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 has committed suicide, according to reports.

Captain Vladyslav Voloshyn, 29, a navigator well-known for having flown 33 combat missions against Russian-backed separatists, was found dead in his home on Sunday, with a military service pistol at the scene.

Police have classified Voloshyn's death as a suicide, but it is being investigated under the "premeditated murder" section of Ukraine's Penal Code, said a report.

Voloshyn leaves behind a wife and two young children.

Family members were quoted in local media as saying that the deceased had appeared depressed prior to his death, likely due to problems at his work, managing an airport in the Black sea town of Mykolaiv, which he took up after leaving the army.

According to a report in late January, Voloshyn may have been implicated in a local corruption scandal, where he was allegedly pressured by local government officials into signing illegal documents for procurement tenders at the airport where he worked.

Local media outlets even published his text messages with a friend, in which he purportedly said he felt suicidal for having "broken the law".

Russia blamed Voloshyn for the downing of MH17 on July 17, 2014.

The Boeing 777 was headed to Kuala Lumpur from Amsterdam when it was shot down over a conflict zone between pro-Russian separatists and Ukrainian troops, in eastern Ukraine.

The tragedy killed all 298 on board, including 80 children.

Russia denied involvement and accused Voloshyn as shooting down the flight, and even cited an award given to him just days after the incident, as "evidence" of his involvement.

Investigations have since concluded that the plane was downed by a Buk missile brought from Russia and handed over to pro-Russian separatists.

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