MOSCOW, July 18 (RIA Novosti) – Ukrainian battalions of 27 Buk-M1 missile systems able to hit targets across the entire altitude range have been deployed near the city of Donetsk, the Russian Defense Ministry said in a statement Friday.
“According to Russia’s Defense Ministry, battalions of the Ukrainian Armed Forces operating air defense systems such as Buk-M1 are deployed near the accident site [of the crash of a Malaysian passenger plane]. These systems can detect air targets within the range of up to 160 kilometers and hit them across the entire altitude range within the range of over 30 kilometers,” the statement said.
The Ministry also expressed doubts over the recent claims by Kiev that Ukrainian Buk air defense systems and air force planes had not shot at air targets near the Boeing crash site.
“The claims by the official Kiev suggesting these systems or planes did not carry out shooting at air targets raise serious doubts. It is impossible to draw a definite conclusion at such an early stage, especially amid running battles in this region,” the ministry elaborated.
A Malaysia Airlines Boeing-777 flying from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur crashed near the town of Torez in the Donetsk Region on Thursday.
Various sources speculated that the plane was shot down by a Buk surface-to-air missile.
Earlier in the day, an adviser to the Ukrainian Interior Minister wrote on his Facebook page that a Buk surface-to-air missile system was indeed used to down the plane, but insisted that the self-defense forces had done that.