Ukraine has released evidence of Russia’s involvement in the downing of the Malaysia Airlines flight MH17.
It comes as the United States reportedly confirmed that Russia had supplied sophisticated missile launchers to separatists in Ukraine.
Speaking on the condition of anonymity, a US official told The Washington Post that US intelligence was “starting to get indications ... a little more than a week ago” that Russian launchers were being moved into Ukraine and that “we do believe they were trying to move back into Russia at least three Buk [missile launch] systems.”
Ukraine’s spy chief said during a press briefing on Saturday that he had compelling evidence that could prove flight MH17 was shot down by a Russian missile.
He said they knew pro-Russia rebels were aiming for a plane at the height of 10,000 metres, but were unaware they were targeting a passenger flight.
“We have proof that it was planned and it was committed with the participation of representatives from the Russian federation,” said Vitaly Nayda, head of Ukraine’s Security Service (SBU).
Nayda said they had evidence the BUK-M1 missiles had been transferred in to Ukraine from Russia at the end of June.
He also showed photographs taken on July 18, the day after the crash, showing how two BUK-M1 systems crossed the Ukrainian boarder into Russia, and how one of them was missing one missile.
“All Russian media is lying. It’s cynical propaganda, and Russia is trying to not be held responsible for this.
“But we have evidence. Obvious evidence,” Nayda said during the briefing.
He further said that the SBU had evidence that the missile downing flight MH17 was launched on the July 17, not far from Snizhne, a territory controlled by terrorists.
According to Nayda, the SBU can, with the evidence of intercepted phone conversations between terrorists, confirm that the Russian Federation sent at least one BUK-M1 missile system into Ukraine, through Russian military personnel.
He further argued that after the pro-Russian terrorists realised it was a passenger plane they had shot down, they have been trying to cover up their doings.
According to a spokesperson for Ukraine’s National Security Council, Andriy Lysenko, the Russian terrorists removed 38 bodies from the crash site on the night to July 19.
Lysenko stated that the bodies had been loaded onto a truck and been delivered to a morgue in the city of Donetsk. This was done to remove any shrapnel from the missile.
He also said that the terrorists have been taking personal valuable effects form the bodies and even started using credit cards belonging to the victims.
Top pro-Russia rebel, Igor Strelkov, has, however, claimed many of the bodies onboard flight MH17 had died days before the plane even took off.
According to the AP, he was quoted on pro-rebel website Russkaya Vesna saying: “A significant number of the bodies weren’t fresh.” He added that he had been informed that they smelled of decomposition and were drained in blood.
“Ukrainian authorities are capable of any baseness,” Strelkov added.
Illia Bogdanov, a senior lieutenant at the Russian Federation FSB, was seen speaking via video at a Ukrainian press briefing. Bogdanov said he wished to sign up as a volunteer for the Ukrainian army in order to stop the ongoing war in eastern Ukraine.
“I could not keep witnessing the lies on the Ukraine situation massively spread though Russian media, that’s why I left everything and came here in order to help stop the civil war that the anti-people’s Putin regime is attempting to start,” Bogdanov said in the video.
The head of the information security directorate in Ukraine, Yuriy Stets, argued that Bogdanov is not the only Russian with these views. “We’ve recently been witnessing some citizens of the Russian Federation changing their minds, including FSB officers who have access to truthful information on the situation in Ukraine,” Stets said.
While international investigators have been unable to reach the site of the crashed plane due to the armed pro-Russia rebels guarding the site, Russia has announced it urges an international investigation to be set up.
“Russia urges to set up ICAO-led international commission to investigate MH17 crash,” the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation posted on Twitter.