Malaysiakini News

Loke denies 'Russian spies' behind his remarks on MH17 probe findings

Published:  |  Modified:

Transport Minister Anthony Loke has denied the speculation that Russian intelligence officials had compromised the Malaysian contingent with regard to the findings on the incident involving MH17.

“I categorically and strongly deny the wild accusations against us.

"I have never been in contact with the Russians. My comments are based on the advice of our Ministry of Foreign Affairs,” he told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) in a text message.

In May, the joint investigation team announced that the missile which brought down MH17 over Ukraine in 2014, killing 298 people, belonged to the Russian army, specifically its 53rd Anti-Aircraft Missile Brigade.

However, Loke later said there was “no conclusive evidence to pinpoint Russia”. He added that Malaysia must also consider the diplomatic ties between the two nations.

According to the ABC report, the minister's remarks had caught the attention of Christo Grozev, an investigator with Bellingcat.

Bellingcat is a London-based reporting website that has exposed several of Russia's covert exercises.

Speaking to ABC, Grovez described Loke's stand as a "surprising dissension" and pointed out that Malaysia was the "only country that did not fully endorse the findings of the joint investigation team".

He said the team's "working hypothesis" was that the entire Malaysian contingent, or one member, had been compromised by Russian spies.

"I believe they may have done that in Malaysia, look for discrediting information, for what they call kompromat, on politicians, on members of the investigative teams.

"And then they try to use that to get one member of the team to diverge from the common policy on what they are doing," he said.

In the press conference broadcast across the world, the joint investigation team had insisted the missile's fingerprint was "so special" that it could only have come from the Russian military.

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