International prosecutors have revealed that a Malaysian airliner was shot down in eastern Ukraine with a Russian-made Buk missile. The aircraft was downed while flying over a village held by rebels fighting against Ukrainian government forces. This new information contradicts the Russian government’s claims that the aircraft was shot down by the Ukrainian military.
The aircraft was downed in July 2014. Ukrainian and Western officials have claimed that Malaysian Airlines flight 17 was shot down by pro-Russian rebels, Russian officials have denied this allegation since the incident. Shortly following the incident the European Union and United States imposed sanctions on Russia for their involvement in the Ukraine conflict. Sanctions that Russia has claimed are predatory and unfair.
Russia has claimed that, due to satellite and radar images that they refuse to release, it is impossible that a rocket was used in the attack. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov has stated:
“First-hand radar data identified all flying objects which could have been launched or were in the air over the territory controlled by rebels at that moment. The data are clear-cut…there is no rocket. If there was a rocket, it could only have been fired from elsewhere,”
Prosecutors report that the Buk missile system that was used to down the plane was eventually returned to Russia after rebels lost control of the area.
A vast majority of the passengers on the plane were Dutch civilians. All 298 people on board the aircraft were killed in the attack. The families have become restless and are requesting all government agencies involved be upfront and transparent on their involvement in the incident.
Silene Fredriksz lost his 23-year-old son in the attack. He states that he, and the other victim’s families, simply want justice. She told reporters:
“As a family we are impatient. We want to know what happened, how it happened and why. We want those responsible to face justice,”
The Dutch government is investigating the incident and has stated that the Russian government has been somewhat compliant but has refused to answer several questions and has purposely withheld information.