THE HAGUE, Sept 10 — Conflicting claims surround the crash of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17, which was downed in rebel-held east Ukraine on July 17 en route from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur, killing all 298 people aboard.
A preliminary report from Dutch investigators, which said yesterday the aircraft was hit by numerous “high-energy objects”, could back up claims that the plane was shot down by a missile, although the report did not apportion blame.
Below are the explanations offered by different parties:
The ukrainian authorities
July 17: Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko says he views the downing as a “terrorist act”, saying “we do not exclude that the plane was shot down and confirm that the Ukraine Armed Forces did not fire at any targets in the sky”.
July 19: Kiev accuses Russia of helping insurgents try to destroy evidence at the crash site.
July 17: The prime minister of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic says that a Ukrainian jet shot down the airliner.
Rebels in the other separatist region, the self-proclaimed Lugansk People’s Republic, claim the airline split in two after being shot down by a Ukrainian jet—which was then shot down in turn.
A social media site attributed to the top military commander of the Donetsk People’s Republic, Igor Strelkov, says the insurgents shot down an army transporter at the exact site of the Malaysia Airlines crash.
July 17: Russian President Vladimir Putin says Ukraine “bears responsibility” for the crash. “This tragedy would not have happened if there was peace in the country, if military operations had not resumed in the south-east of Ukraine,” he says.
July 18: Russian official television, accusing Kiev of being behind the crash, goes as far as to speak of a plot against Putin who was returning from a trip to Latin America.
July 21: Two high-ranking officials of Russia’s General Staff say Russian records show a Ukrainian fighter jet was flying close to the Malaysian airliner just before it crashed and a US satellite was flying over rebel-held Ukraine at the time.
The United States
July 18: US President Barack Obama says that a surface-to-air missile fired from separatist-held territory in eastern Ukraine was to blame for the “unspeakable” downing of the airliner. He says rebels would not have been able to hit the airliner without Russian equipment and training.
US ambassador Samantha Power says the plane was probably shot down by a SA-11, a common variant of Russian-made BUK surface-to-air missile, from a zone held by the separatists.
July 20: The US embassy to Kiev confirms as authentic recordings released by Kiev of an intercepted call between an insurgent commander and a Russian intelligence officer as they realised they had shot down a passenger jet.
US Secretary of State John Kerry says the missile system used to shoot down the Malaysia Airlines jet was “transferred from Russia in the hands of separatists”.
July 22: US intelligence officials say evidence shows pro-Russian separatists launched the missile, possibly targeting MH17 by mistake. — AFP