Putin denies Russia responsible for MH17 downing

Malaysia Airlines

Russian President Vladimir Putin has strongly rejected claims from the Netherlands, Australia and others blaming Russia for the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 over war-ravaged eastern Ukraine nearly four years ago, killing all 298 people on board.

Posted: May. 25, 2018 10:59 PM

THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) - The Latest on the international reaction to a report on the downing of MH17 in 2014 (all times local):

5:15 p.m.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has strongly rejected claims from the Netherlands, Australia and others blaming Russia for the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 over war-ravaged eastern Ukraine nearly four years ago, killing all 298 people on board.

The Netherlands and Australia say they are holding Russia legally responsible for the plane's downing after international investigators concluded that the missile that hit the plane came from a Russian military unit.

Speaking at a business forum on Friday, Putin emphasized that Russia can't trust the investigators' conclusions because it was excluded from the probe.

He deplored the downing of MH17 as a "terrible tragedy" and alleged the Ukrainian military's involvement. Putin noted that in 2001 the Ukrainian army accidentally downed a Russian airliner flying from Israel, killing all 78 people aboard.

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1:15 p.m.

Russia's foreign minister says he has urged his Dutch counterpart to study facts presented by Moscow before rushing to blame Russia for the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 over war-ravaged eastern Ukraine nearly four years ago, killing all 298 people on board.

Sergey Lavrov said he told his Dutch counterpart Stef Blok that Moscow is ready to cooperate with the probe, and warned investigators against stonewalling facts provided by Russia. The Netherlands and Australia said Friday they are holding Russia legally responsible.

The accusations followed international investigators' announcement Thursday that the missile system that downed the plane was whisked into Ukraine from a Russian military unit. Russia denied the claim and said the serial number on fragments of the missile indicated that it belonged to the Ukrainian military.

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12:45 p.m.

Germany is backing calls for the suspected perpetrators of the shooting down of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 to be held to account.

Almost 300 people, including four German citizens, were killed when the plane was shot out of the sky over eastern Ukraine nearly four years ago.

A team of international investigators this week blamed a Russian military unit operating in Ukraine for the crime.

Spokeswoman Martina Fietz said Friday the German government accepts and supports the investigators' report.

She told reporters that "Russia should meet its responsibilities so that the tragedy can be fully cleared up and the perpetrators can be held to account."

Fietz added that no decision has been made on whether members of the German government will attend the soccer World Cup in Russia next month.

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12:30 p.m.

The Russian Defense Ministry claims that a missile that downed down a Malaysia Airlines passenger jet over eastern Ukraine in 2014, killing all 298 aboard, "more than likely" came from Ukrainian arsenals.

The Netherlands and Australia say they are holding Russia legally responsible for the plane's downing after international investigators concluded that the missile that hit the plane came from a Russian military unit, accusations Russia has rejected.

The ministry said Friday the fragments displayed by investigators indicated the Soviet-made missile was produced in 1986. It said the Russian military decommissioned all missiles of that type in 2011.

It added that Ukraine inherited such missiles from the Soviet army, adding that the fragments displayed by the investigators indicated the weapon "more than likely belonged to the Ukrainian armed forces."

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12:15 p.m.

The European Union is calling on Russia to recognize the conclusions of international investigators that the missile that brought down Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 over war-ravaged eastern Ukraine nearly four years ago came from a Russia-based military unit.

EU foreign affairs chief Federica Mogherini said in a statement that those responsible for the attack that killed all 298 people on board should be held accountable and said Thursday's conclusion by the Joint Investigation Team showed the missile system in question "belonged beyond doubt to the armed forces of the Russian Federation."

The EU statement called on Moscow "to accept its responsibility and to fully cooperate with all efforts to establish accountability."

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11:55 a.m.

Russia is rejecting the claim by the Netherlands and Australia that it is legally responsible for the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 over war-ravaged eastern Ukraine nearly four years ago, killing all 298 people on board.

The accusations came a day after international investigators announced that the missile system that brought down the plane was whisked into Ukraine from a Russian military unit. Dutch Foreign Minister Stef Blok said "the government is now taking the next step by formally holding Russia accountable."

Russian President Vladimir Putin's spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, rejected the accusations. He said Friday that Russia has been barred from the investigation and thus can't trust its results. He also charged that Ukraine contributed to the tragedy by failing to ban civilian air traffic over the war zone.

11 a.m.

The Netherlands and Australia are holding Russia legally responsible for the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, which was shot down over war-ravaged eastern Ukraine nearly four years ago, killing all 298 people on board.

The announcement Friday came a day after international investigators announced that the missile system that brought down the Amsterdam-Kuala Lumpur flight came from a Russia-based military unit.

Dutch Foreign Minister Stef Blok says that following that conclusion, "the government is now taking the next step by formally holding Russia accountable."

Blok says that the Netherlands and Australia have "asked Russia to enter into talks aimed at finding a solution that would do justice to the tremendous suffering and damage caused by the downing of MH17."

Russia denies involvement in the July 17, 2014, missile strike.

(Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

5/25/2018 10:14:18 AM (GMT -5:00)

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