KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 29 ― Ukraine, as part of the MH17 Joint Investigation Team (JIT), will provide absolute support to the investigation in ensuring judicial responsibility is upheld no matter how long it takes.
Ukrainian Ambassador to Malaysia, Olexander Nechytaylo, said that at the end of the day, substantial evidence that will convict the perpetrators in court, was more crucial than how long it would take to complete the entire investigation.
“Now that we have discovered what weapon was used, we can go after the individuals,” he told Bernama in an exclusive interview at the news agency’s headquarters here today.
Yesterday, the JIT released an interim report in the Netherlands on the criminal aspect of the downing of flight MH17, which was shot down in the Donetsk region, eastern Ukraine on July 17, 2014, killing all 298 people onboard, including 44 Malaysians.
The report found that the Boeing 777 was shot down by a BUK 9M38 series surface-to-air missile, brought in from Russia, launched from the territory controlled by Russian-backed separatist militia and taken back to Russia.
The JIT said that the next move of the investigation focuses on the perpetrators and so far it has identified approximately 100 people who can be linked to the downing of MH17 or the transport of the BUK-TELAR.
They also agreed to extend the JIT agreement until Jan 1, 2018.
In responding to a question, Nechytaylo opined that the investigation should not focus on the rebels but people who are behind them who are “pulling the strings.”
Asked on his personal feelings on the incident, he said that nothing could replace lives that have been lost.
“What makes me sad is that these completely innocent people are not involved in the conflict (in Ukraine).”
Commenting on Russia’s claim that the report was biased and politically motivated, Nechytaylo stressed that the findings were indeed independent with five countries involved namely the Netherlands, Australia, Malaysia, Belgium and Ukraine.
“In this situation it’s not Ukraine or Russia, but five countries (JIT). You may call it politically motivated, but if you don’t have substance in your words, it’s just words,” he said.
He added that all the United Nations (UN) member countries were welcomed to provide evidence to the JIT as stated in Resolution 2166 of the UN Security Council.
The resolution, which was also supported by Russia, called on all UN member states “to provide any requested assistance to civil and criminal investigations.”
Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova was reported as saying that Russia was disappointed that nothing has changed in the investigation, and that the findings were biased and politically motivated. ― Bernama