Malaysiakini News

'Russia must account for its role in MH17 downing'

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Russia must "account for its role" in the 2014 downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 over Ukraine and cooperate with efforts to establish truth and justice, said the foreign ministers of G7 countries.

News agency AFP quoted the ministers as saying that a joint investigation into the crash had yielded "compelling, significant and deeply disturbing" findings on Russia's involvement.

"We are united in our support of Australia and the Netherlands as they call on Russia to account for its role in this incident, and to cooperate fully with the process to establish the truth and achieve justice for the victims of MH17 and their next of kin," the ministers said in a statement.

The G7 consists of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

Canada is currently holding the presidency of the group comprising the seven largest advanced economies in the world.

The ministers' call came on the eve of the summit between US President Donald Trump and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin, also the anniversary of the July 17, 2014, air disaster.

According to the AFP report, Putin was not only scheduled to meet with Trump at the summit in Helsinki today, but had also met with France President Emmanuel Macron in Moscow before attending the World Cup final yesterday.

In May, the Dutch cabinet said the Russian state must be held responsible for what it called its role in the downing of MH17, in which all 298 aboard were killed.

The cabinet's announcement came a day after an interim report by prosecutors investigating the plane’s destruction said the missile that shot it down was fired from a launcher in Russia’s 53rd Anti-Aircraft Brigade.

After four years of investigation into the downing of Flight MH17, a Dutch-led Joint Investigation Team (JIT) said the jetliner was shot down with a Russian missile, Buk-Telar.

In a statement published on its website, JIT said the team was convinced that a Buk-Telar was used to down MH17, and that it originated from the 53rd Anti Aircraft Missile Brigade (53rd Brigade), a unit of the Russian Army from Kursk in the Russian Federation.

Russia has always denied any involvement in the incident, and insisted that none of its missile launchers has ever entered Ukraine, despite photo evidence to the contrary shown by prosecutors.

The Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 was flying from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur when it was shot down over the conflict zone in eastern Ukraine on that fateful day.

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