Russia slams MH17 murder charges

A STATEMENT released by the Russian embassy in Canberra has accused the international team investigating the MH17 tragedy of not having "a single shred of concrete evidence".

In a statement released by the Russian embassy in Canberra tonight, a Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson said accusations that Russian servicemen had carried out the attack were "unfounded" and "utterly regrettable".

The international team investigating the 2014 disaster announced murder charges against three Russians and one Ukrainian last week for their alleged roles in the attack, which killed all 298 people on board, including 38 Australians.

"The Russian Federation once again finds itself the target of completely unfounded accusations intended to discredit it in the eyes of the international community," the statement said.

"As was the case at its previous news conferences, the JIT did not produce a single shred of concrete evidence to back up its groundless statements.

"The JIT continues to put forward not entirely reasonable arguments, some of which are based on dubious information sources. Meanwhile, the data submitted to the investigation by Russia continues to be wilfully ignored."

Russian denied withholding information and said it had "actively co-operated with the Netherlands and presented all information it had on the MH17 crash".

"From the very first day of the tragedy, Russia has been vitally interested in finding the truth and willing to help the investigation in every respect," the statement said.

 

 

The partially reconstucted Malaysia Airlines plane. Picture: Ella Pellegrini
The partially reconstucted Malaysia Airlines plane. Picture: Ella Pellegrini

 

"In the process, Russia's relevant agencies carried out an enormous amount of unprecedented work: from declassifying information on Russian military equipment and conducting a meticulous experiment in collaboration with Almaz-Antei, to providing primary radar data and documents showing that the missile that downed the Malaysian Boeing belonged to Ukraine, as well as precision expert analysis proving that the video clips supporting the JIT's conclusions were fabricated."

The statement said Russia had been excluded form the investigation, giving Ukraine "the opportunity to falsify evidence and completely evade responsibility for failing to close its air space".

"Nevertheless, the Russian Federation will continue assisting the investigation so that the truth about the MH17 crash is established and the real culprits are duly punished," the statement said.

 

 

The development came after 12 Australian families whose relatives died when MH17 was shot out of the sky reached a confidential settlement with the airline.

The class action headed by Cassandra Gibson, whose mother Liliane Derden had been flying from Amsterdam to Perth to see her daughter, ended in an out-of-court settlement in Sydney ahead of a Federal Court trial.

The crash site of MH17 in Grabovo in the aftermath of the tragedy. Picture: Ella Pellegrini
The crash site of MH17 in Grabovo in the aftermath of the tragedy. Picture: Ella Pellegrini

It is believed to be among the last of the claims by families of the 283 passengers on board MH17 in courts around the world under the so-called Montreal Convention which makes an airline liable for the death of a passenger.

The terms of the settlement were approved by Justice Nye Perram, who congratulated the parties on reaching an agreement ahead of the eight-day trial.

Justice Perram said in his judgment that there were "at most" 12 Australian members of the class action and "each of those group members has now settled" with the airline.



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