DPR Ombudsman Daria Morozova said she has added Vladimir Tsemakh, DPR air defence ex-commander, who was abducted by SBU officers from his own flat, to the exchange list.
Earlier, Tsemakh’s relatives confirmed information about his abduction by SBU from his flat. DPR Head Denis Pushilin linked the abduction of Tsemakh to Kiev’s attempts to fake the evidence for downing MH17 in summer 2014.
“Mr. Tsemakh’s detention has been prolonged, so we added him to the exchange list. I hope we will see him soon,” said Morozova to journalists.
On 17 July 2014, on its way from Amsterdam to Kuala-Lumpur, the Malaysian Boeing was downed near Donetsk. It carried 298 persons; all of them died. Kiev blamed rebels in the catastrophe, but they said they didn’t have weapons which could hit a vehicle in such a height.
The Joint Investigation Team (JIT), which, under the leadership of the Netherlands Prosecutor General’s Office without the participation of the Russian Federation, is investigating the circumstances of the incident, later presented interim results. The investigators claim that Boeing was hit by Buk air defence system belonging to the 53rd anti-aircraft missile brigade of the Russian Armed Forces in Kursk. According to the Deputy Prosecutor General of Russia Nikolai Vinnichenko, the Russian side gave the Netherlands not only Russian radar data but also documents indicating that the Buk air defence missile that hit Boeing belonged to Ukraine, although this information was ignored by the investigators.
The Ministry for Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation stated that the accusations voiced by the JIT on Russia’s involvement in the downing of the Malaysian Boeing are ill-founded and disappointing, and the investigation is biased and one-sided. Later, Russian President Vladimir Putin noted that Russia was not allowed to investigate the catastrophe in eastern Ukraine, and Moscow could only recognize the results of the investigation if it would fully participate in it. All missiles, the engine of which was demonstrated by the Dutch commission to investigate the MH17 crash, were discarded after 2011, the Russian Defense Ministry said. Press Secretary of the President of the Russian Federation Dmitry Peskov has repeatedly stated that Russia categorically rejects accusations of involvement in the downing of the Malaysian Boeing.
In June, international investigators working on MH17 downing announced the names of four suspects. According to the statement, the suspects are Russians Igor Girkin, Sergey Dubinsky and Oleg Pulatov, as well as a Ukrainian citizen Leonid Kharchenko. The investigation considers them to be involved in the delivery of the Buk air defence system to Donbass and in the attack on the Malaysian Boeing. According to a JIT representative, they will be charged with murder, and the investigators will issue international warrants for their arrest. The JIT also reported that the trial of the downing of MH17 will be held in the Netherlands, starting on March 9, 2020.
Commenting on new statements by the international investigation team, the Russian Foreign Ministry again called allegations against Russia ill-founded, emphasizing that the JIT did not provide any specific evidence of unlawful statements against Moscow. The Russian Foreign Ministry denied statements about Russia’s refusal to cooperate with the investigators in МН17 case and stated that Moscow would facilitate the investigation so that the truth about the catastrophe would be found, and the real perpetrators would be brought to account. At the same time, the Russian Foreign Ministry noted that Russia continues to have justified questions regarding the quality of work of the joint investigation team.