Russia Demands Ukraine Release Communications With Doomed Malaysia Airlines MH17, Preliminary Report On Investigations Out This Month
By Esther Tanquintic-Misa | August 20, 2014 10:33 AM EST
Russia on Tuesday renewed demands that Ukraine release the records of communications between its air traffic control and the Malaysian Airlines MH17 before it was shot down over its turbulent eastern region. A month after the tragic incident occurred, the Kiev government still has yet to disclose such records.
A piece of the wreckage is seen at a crash site of the Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 near the village of Petropavlivka (Petropavlovka), Donetsk region July 24, 2014. REUTERS/Maxim Zmeyev (UKRAINE - Tags: TRANSPORT DISASTER)
Vitaly Churkin, Russia's ambassador to the UN, made the demand during a UN Security Council meeting. Russia called for the meeting to discuss the progress of the investigation into the tragic incident.
A preliminary report into the downing of MH17 is expected later this month.
On July 17, Malaysia Airlines MH17, with 298 people onboard, was downed over eastern Ukraine. The separatists' movement in Ukraine had been blamed for the incident. Russia got included in the chaos because the weapon used came from them. The Ukrainian government said missile was fired from the rebel-held Donetsk region in eastern Ukraine.
Churkin mentioned that the ICAO, the UN's civil aviation watchdog, has been kept on the sidelines of the investigation.
Continued hostilities in the area of the crash site between Ukrainian troops and rebel forces had hampered the investigation into the tragic downing of the Boeing aircraft. Both sides accused the other covering up the crime.
Churkin likewise urged the UN to "make the investigation international."
"How are the Ukrainians playing their part in the international investigation? What comes to mind: they must provide the records of communications of their air traffic controllers so that we could understand why they directed the Malaysian plane into the conflict zone."
As early as July, or days after the July 17 incident, Russia had accused Kiev of tampering with air traffic control data.
BBC News had earlier reported that Ukraine's SBU security service "confiscated recordings of conversations between Ukrainian air traffic control officers and the crew of the doomed airliner."
Russia had claimed that one Ukrainian fighter jet was closely following Malaysia Airlines MH17 in the minutes before it got shredded in the sky.
Mark Lyall Grant, Britain's envoy to the UN, said the preliminary report of the investigations conducted into the deadly downing would not be classified.
After its publication, all interested parties would be given two months to make their comments on the document.
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