MOSCOW, July 24 (RIA Novosti) - A leader of the independence supporters in the self-proclaimed People’s Republic of Donetsk, Commander of the Vostok Battalion Alexander Khodakovsky, denied having told Reuters that militia forces possessed Buk missiles when the Malaysia airliner crashed in the region, RT television channel reported Thursday.
"We were discussing theories but one simple phrase was cutting throughout like a red line that I do not have the information on militia possessing such kind of a weapon," Khodakovsky said in an interview with RT, or Russia Today.
On Wednesday, Reuters published an exclusive interview with Khodakovsky saying he acknowledged that independence supporters "did possess the Buk missile system," which the militia forces were provoked to use by Ukrainian special forces and could sent back subsequently "to remove proof of its presence."
In the RT interview, Khodakovsky denied the militia had Buk missile systems near the town of Snizhne, 10 kilometers (six miles) away from the Boeing 777 crash site.
Khodakovsky also said he had a video recording of the Reuters interview that could prove he did not tell the agency that the independence supporters possessed missile systems. He said he had told Reuters that he was not an expert and could not comment on the crash, while all the videos with militia forces talking about having Buk systems were dated the day before the crash.
In a television show broadcast on the Internet a day earlier, Khodakovsky neither agreed nor denied Kiev's claims that independence supporters had shot down the plane. He only said that if Ukrainian authorities knew that the DPR allegedly possessed Buks, they should have banned civilian flights in the Donetsk airspace.
Last Thursday, Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 en route from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur was downed near the city of Donetsk in eastern Ukraine, killing all 298 people on board, including 283 passengers and 15 crew members.
Russia’s Defense Ministry said that at the time of the crash, the Ukrainian military had at least 27 Buk surface-to-air missile systems capable of hitting targets at the attitude of up to 25,000 meters (82,000 feet).