MH-17: Audio Recordings Reveal Kremlin Ties
Intercepted phone calls show near-daily contact between high-ranking Russian officials and members of the Moscow-led forces in Donbas leading up to the downing of flight MH17
Dutch-led investigators have shared recordings of intercepted phone calls between high-ranking Russian officials and members of the Moscow-led forces in the Donbas responsible for the downing of flight MH17, a Malaysian airliner that killed all 298 people on board.
Russia has denied involvement but the recordings provide more evidence that the Kremlin was in command of militants in eastern Ukraine.
“Recent analysis of witness statements and other information revealed that Russian influence on the DPR [the self-declared Donetsk People’s Republic] went beyond military support and that the ties between Russian officials and DPR leaders appear closer,” the Dutch-led joint investigative team (JIT) said.
During one telephone conversation, one of the key figures of the Russian-led forces, Alexander Borodai, confirms that he follows the orders on behalf of Russia.
In one of the recordings, Borodai, is heard saying: “I’m carrying out orders and protecting the interests of one and only state, the Russian Federation. That’s the bottom line.”
Thursday’s intercepts focus on “the military and administrative hierarchy who enabled the shooting down of MH17 in eastern Ukraine”, according to the JIT.
Malaysia Airlines flight MH17, which was en route from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur, was shot down over Donbas in July 2014. There were 283 passengers and 15 crew members onboard the plane. All of them died.
In September 2016, the JIT said it had been established on the basis of irrefutable evidence that the plane had been shot down by a 9M38 Buk missile launched from the territory controlled by Russian-led militants in the eastern part of Ukraine. In addition, the JIT said on May 24 that the Buk missile system from which the aircraft was downed belongs to the 53rd Anti-Aircraft Missile Brigade of the Russian Armed Forces stationed in Kursk.