We must not confuse lack of results with lack of effort

Despite the Kremlin’s constant denials, it was determined that the Buk missile that downed MH17 came from the Russian Federation. The investigation pointed the finger at the 53rd Brigade in Kursk, Russia.


Among other things, to determine the identity of the crew, the Joint Investigation Team tracked down transport orders from this brigade. They show that in June and July 2014, three convoys with vehicles and military personnel were sent from Kursk to the Ukrainian border. The Buk TELAR, which shot down the Boeing 777 airliner, went with them.

After a thorough investigation, the investigation led to three other officers – crew members of the 53rd Brigade or their superiors. Although their names will not be revealed, brief evidence will be forwarded to other investigations, including the European Court of Human Rights.

Intelligence collectors proved that the Kremlin – as high up as Putin’s own office – was in touch with and aware of the separatists’ work on the ground. Covert recordings of phone calls revealed that the separatists’ demand for a longer-range anti-aircraft system was being discussed at the Presidential Executive Office in Moscow in June 2014, weeks before the attack.

In the recorded conversations, Russian officials say the decision to provide military support rests with the president. The decision is even postponed by a week, “because there is only one who makes a decision […]the person who is on a summit in France”.

They refer to him as “The Number One”.

The wreckage of the MH17 plane that was shot down in Ukraine in 2014.

The wreckage of the MH17 plane that was shot down in Ukraine in 2014.Credit:AP

Back then, on June 5 and 6, 2014, Putin was in France to commemorate D-Day. There was concrete information that the separatists’ request was submitted to the President and that this request was granted. It was not known whether a Buk system was explicitly mentioned in the request. But a little later, the heavier anti-aircraft systems were delivered, including the Buk that shot down MH17.

But, as Deputy Attorney General Digna van Boetzelaer put it, the high bar for complete and conclusive evidence was not met. So the case could not continue.

We must remember that this barrier separates the west from Moscow, where Putin’s political rivals are poisoned, imprisoned without trial, disappear or die untimely.

Putin also enjoys immunity in his position as head of state, though that would change if he steps down or is deposed.

Van Boetzelaer said the purpose of the lengthy investigation was “to find out the truth”.

“I think we went further in 2014 than we ever imagined,” she said. “The world now knows what happened to Flight MH17. Three perpetrators were identified and sentenced to life imprisonment.”

Australian Federal Police Deputy Commissioner David McLean remains optimistic it is not the end. He said Australia has always worked to ensure that justice is done on behalf of the next of kin of the 38 Australian citizens and residents who have died. “Solving these types of crimes is a matter of patience,” he said, adding the taskforce will continue to share new information.

Ultimately, the answers can only be found in Russia. And we can’t blame the investigative team for not knowing how to attack the Kremlin or Putin. After all, the rest of the world has long had no answers.

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https://www.smh.com.au/world/europe/we-mustn-t-confuse-a-lack-of-mh17-probe-results-with-a-lack-of-effort-20230209-p5cj6x.html?ref=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_source=rss_world We must not confuse lack of results with lack of effort

Callan Tansill

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