Saturday 27 November 2021

No evidence of direct Russian involvement in MH17: US officials

US intelligence officials say pro-Russian rebels shot down Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 by mistake and have not found any direct link to Russia, Dutch and foreign media report on Wednesday.

However, Russia ‘created the conditions’ for the incident by arming the rebels, the reports say. There is no evidence Russian nationals were involved in launching the missile or if those who did so were trained in Russia.

The Boeing 777 crashed in a rebel-held area after apparently being hit by a rocket, killing all 298 people on board, including 193 Dutch nationals.

The Americans base their conclusions on a study of phone taps, satellite photos and social media statements by members of the militia.

Investigators

Meanwhile Trouw states that the first step in the international investigation into the crash will have to take place at the crash site. Dutch investigators, who are taking the lead in the investigation, flew to Kiev on Friday but by Tuesday afternoon had still not visited the crash site, the paper says.

While most of the bodies are thought to have been recovered, it remains unclear if rebels will cooperate with the researchers and they may not fall into line with the UN Security Council’s unanimous call for an independent inquiry, Trouw says.

Dutch prime minister Mark Rutte has made it clear that an international, independent inquiry is his top priority after the bodies of the victims have been recovered.

The black boxes, which may contain vital clues, were handed over to Malaysia Airlines earlier this week and will undergo analysis in England.

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