The Russian Foreign Ministry stated on Wednesday that the Joint Investigation Team (JIT) had slanted facts in order to accuse Moscow of the 2014 downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17.
"We are calling on the JIT to focus on its main goal, on the impartial analysis of all the available data in order to establish the true reasons of the incident and finding out who is really behind the tragedy. Given the manner that the investigation has been and continues to be conducted in, we cannot qualify it as impartial and independent”, the ministry's statement read.
The diplomats noted that Russia, which was excluded from participating in the probe, had presented unique data on the incident, but the investigators repeatedly ignored this crucial information and "concealed it during JIT press events, which more resembled propaganda political shows".
Despite the row, Moscow has confirmed it is ready to cooperate with the team, but stressed that the probe must be impartial and avoid politically-motivated and baseless accusations.
The MH17 Catastrophe
Malaysian Airlines Flight MH17 was downed over eastern Ukraine on 17 July 2014, amid a military conflict in the county caused by a violent coup d'état in Kiev.
All 298 passengers on the aircraft, predominantly Dutch and Malaysian nationals, died in the crash.
Almost immediately after the incident, the US and its European allies claimed without presenting any evidence that Russia was responsible for the tragedy. These allegations were used by Washington and Brussels as a pretext to introduce sanctions against Moscow, while Russia repeatedly denied the accusations.
A Dutch-led JIT, formed soon after the crash, invited Ukraine, Belgium, and Australia to join the probe, but excluded Russia from the investigation.
In 2018, JIT claimed that the plane was shot down by a Buk missile system, which allegedly came from the 53rd Anti-Aircraft Missile Brigade of the Russian military, citing "classified information" provided by the Dutch and US authorities that could not be revealed. It was also noted that the team used images from social networks to prove the claims.
Addressing the allegations, Moscow conducted its own investigation showing that the Buk missile which hit the flight was made at the Dolgoprudny Plant in Moscow region in 1986, delivered to a military unit in Ukraine and remained there after the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. However, the evidence was completely ignored by the Dutch-led investigation.
In its "latest finding", JIT has named 3 Russian citizens and one Ukrainian as suspects in the MH17 downing and announced that a trial into the case will begin in the Netherlands in March 2020.
Moscow once again slammed the accusations, calling for an unbiased investigation. According to President Vladimir Putin, Russia could only recognise the results of the probe if it was allowed to participate in it.