Ukraine ex-security official doubts MH17 report will give answers

A former chief investigator from the Ukrainian security service who looked into the downing of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 in eastern Ukraine, that killed 298 people, blames pro-Russia rebels for the crash and voices doubts about the Dutch investigation.

VINNYTSIA, UKRAINE (OCTOBER 9, 2015) (REUTERS) – A former top official in Ukraine’s security service said on Friday (October 9) he doubted a final international report on the crash of Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 would provide conclusive answers.

The Dutch Safety Board report, to be published on October 13, is keenly awaited by governments and relatives of victims who hope it can shed light on responsibility for the crash over east Ukraine last year in which 298 people were killed.

Vasyl Vovk, who was involved in investigating the crash as chief investigator for Ukraine’s SBU security service until June this year, said it was clear the plane was shot down by a Russian missile on behalf of pro-Russian separatist rebels.

“I have no doubts that the plane was shut down by a missile system. I have no doubts that the plane was shot down by a missile system which was stationed on territory controlled by the rebels. I am confident that this missile system was delivered from the territory of the Russian Federation with a highly skilled crew, most likely a crew of well trained officers, of course from Russian territory,” Vovk said.

“But we are talking about a crew which came from Russia, a crew controlled by the Russian federation. And this crew was working at the request of the terrorist organisations of DNR/LNR to shoot down planes. And this request was fulfilled by the Russian federation. Everything else will be, believe me, established by the investigation with time, if this investigation will be conducted in an efficient, offensive and objective manner,” Vovk told Reuters.

However Vovk said he doubted whether the October 13 report would reach the same conclusion.

“I have doubts that we will see these conclusions (of the investigation commission) on the 13-th of October. I will dare to say this. And if we see them, then I doubt that these conclusions will be either unambiguous, or final,” he said.

In a preliminary report last year, the Board blamed the crash on “high energy objects” striking the aircraft. Western governments have said they believe it was downed by a ground-to-air missile fired in error by Moscow-backed separatists.

Russia contests that claim, and has variously attributed the crash to an unidentified Ukrainian fighter aircraft and a Ukrainian-launched anti-aircraft missile. The Netherlands has avoided committing itself to any theory.

Two-thirds of the victims were Dutch and the Netherlands is leading the judicial and air safety investigations into the crash, which contributed to bringing relations between Russia and the West to their lowest ebb since the Cold War.