MH17 may have been shot down by Ukrainian missile: Russian firm 

Moscow, June 2 (IANS) If one presumes the Malaysia Airlines’ flight MH17 was shot down by an air defence system from the ground, it has to be acknowledged a Buk-M1 system armed with a 9M38M1 missile was the weapon used, a Russian weapons manufacturer said on Tuesday.

Yan Novikov, CEO of Almaz-Antei, recalled that production of the missile 9M38M1 was stopped in Russia way back in 1999, TASS news agency reported.

The Boeing 777-200, en route from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur, crashed on July 17 last year in Ukraine’s eastern Donetsk Region, some 60 km from the Russian border, in the zone of combat operations between the Donetsk self-defence forces and the Ukrainian army.

All the 283 passengers — citizens of 10 countries — and 15 crew members on board the aircraft died. Most of the passengers — 196 people — were Dutch citizens.

“Not a single missile has been made since 1999. Neither the Almaz-Antei concern, not its affiliates could have supplied this weapon to any recipient”” Novikov said in a press conference.

“At the same time we have irrefutable evidence this type of missiles is still in service in the Ukrainian armed forces. Back in 2005, the company conducted pre-contract work on prolonging the service life of these weapons in Ukraine. At that moment there were 991 such missiles there,” he stated.

“We do not dismiss other versions, but if it is true that the Boeing airliner was shot down by an air defence missile, the Buk-M1 system and the mentioned rocket were the sole possibilit”.”

Meanwhile, Mikhail Malyshevsky, an advisor to Almaz-Antei, said the missile that downed the plane had been launched from the vicinity of the Ukrainian village of Zaroshchenskoye.

“We have calculated the most probable area (of the launch). This is the area to the south of the village of Zaroshchenskoye,” he said.

Novikov said Almaz-Antei was prepared to stage an experiment at its own expense proving that flight MH17 was downed by a missile launched with a Buk-M1 system

“If necessary, we will be prepared to stage a full-scale real-life experiment attended by independent observers and experts,” he said. “In other words, we will blow up a 9M38M1 missile placed next to the fuselage of the same manufactur’r’s written-off plane at the angles mentioned at this presentation.”

Novikov said the results of the costly experiment would prove Almaz-Antei’s case.

“We will do it, if strictly necessary, despite serious expenses,” he added.

The CEO also said that data from US military satellites Washington mentioned at a certain point might prove very helpful in efforts to establish who was to blame for shooting down copmmercial jetliner.

He believes that images of the area taken at the moment of the disaster from US satellites “would have certainly provided a clear answer to the question who is to blame”.

“I do hope that the information will be handed over to the commission for identifying those responsible,” Novikov said.

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