Disturbing new theories and accusations regarding the shooting down of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 over Ukraine on 17 July 2014 have emerged as Dutch investigators prepare to release their official report today into the downing of the plane.
The official Dutch report on the MAS B777 crash over Ukraine, due for release later today, has stirred controversy even before release. On the eve of the report’s publication, Russia has appealed to the head of the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) to intervene in the investigation.
Russia alleges that the Dutch experts are deliberately ignoring the findings of their Russian counterparts and turning a blind eye to evidence presented to them.
In a scathing letter from the Russian investigators to ICAO, cited by Malaysia’s New Straits Times, Russia’s deputy director of the Federal Air Transport Agency, Oleg Storchevoy, accuses the Dutch Safety Board (DSB) of ignoring “comprehensive information” provided by the Russians.
Storchevoy says that instead of studying the nature of the damage to the aircraft and then arriving at a logical conclusion, the DSB sets out to prove that the aircraft was destroyed by a Russian-manufactured BUK ground-to-air missile.
Storchevoy says this flies in the face of new facts that show a BUK missile is unlikely to have been involved.
During two meetings with the DSB, the designer and producer of BUK missile systems, Almaz-Antey, declassified the specifications of its missiles to aid the inquiry, the letter said. Almaz-Antey provided full technical specifications, flight and ballistics characteristics, launch parameters, algorithms governing the detonator and characteristics of the warhead, the report said.
“According to the (DSB) calculations, the weight of the warhead was no more than 33kg, and the main warhead was equipped with between 3000 and 4000 ‘pre-formed fragments’ (flechettes) that weighed around 3g each. These do not correspond with the BUK at all.”
Russia has repeatedly suggested that a Ukrainian fighter jet shot down MH17. Russian media has published an even more astonishing accusation – that the damage to MH17 corresponds, not to a BUK, but to an Israeli Python air-to-air missile.
Details of that have been published on a Russian news website, in English: https://www.rt.com/news/310039-mh17-israeli-missile-version/
Adding to the mystery, the largest Dutch newspaper, de Telegraaf, has a sensational new theory, which it says is currently under investigation by the Dutch Militaire Inlichtingen en Veiligheidsdienst (MIVD) or Military Intelligence and Security Service. The gist is that MH17 could have been brought down by a bomb in the cockpit.
Amid all this, the official Dutch report on the MH17 tragedy is awaited with interest. Apart from the matter of air safety, the findings will carry obvious political implications if they name, or even suggest, who was responsible.
Written by Peter Needham