MOSCOW, July 18 (RIA Novosti) – The Russian Defense Ministry says it had intercepted the activity of a Ukrainian radar system on the day the Malaysian plane went down in eastern Ukraine, the ministry’s press service said Friday.
“Throughout the day on July 17, Russian means of radar surveillance intercepted the operation of the Buk-M1 battery’s Kupol radar station located in the region of the populated area of Styla [30 kilometers south of Donetsk],” the press service said in a statement.
“The technical capabilities of the Buk-M1 allow the exchange of data on air targets between batteries of one battalion. Thus, the launch of rockets could have also occurred from any of the batteries deployed in the populated area of Avdeevka [8 kilometers north of Donetsk] or from Gruzsko-Zoryanskoe [25 kilometers east of Donetsk],” the ministry said.
A Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 flying from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur crashed near the town of Torez in the Donetsk Region on Thursday, killing all the 283 passengers and 15 crew members on board.
Kiev blamed independence supporters in the turbulent Donetsk Region for downing the passenger plane with a surface-to-air missile. Militia forces said they had no missile systems that could hit a target flying at an altitude of 10,000 meters.
Ukrainian authorities and Malaysia Airlines are investigating the incident. Various international observers, including the Interstate Aviation Committee (IAC) and Interpol experts, also intend to join the investigation of the case.
ABC News reported that the United States has already sent their investigators from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) to the crash site.
On Friday morning, it was reported that a tripartite contact group of the representatives of the Organization for the Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), Ukraine and Russia had held a video conference with the militia, urging them to cordon off the crash site. The OSCE reported that the militias guaranteed safety and free access to the crash site to international investigators and observers.