KUALA LUMPUR, July 18:
The Russian Defence Ministry is denying allegations that its air defence and military aircraft were involved in the crash of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17, according to an Interfax report. “In view of various kinds of speculations regarding operations of the Russian armed forces in the areas bordering Ukrainian, we affirm that air defence means of the Russian armed forces were not operating in that region on July 17. “Planes of the Russian Air Force did not fly in Russian regions bordering the Donetsk region on July 17, 2014. “This information is fully proven with objective control means,” read a statement from the ministry’s press service and information department. Instead, the Russian Defence Ministry claimed that Buk-M1 air defence missile launchers belonging to the Ukrainian army were deployed in the plane crash area and Ukrainian Air Force planes armed with various types of missiles were constantly present in the Donetsk region airspace. “This is an indisputable fact,” claimed the ministry. “The statements of Kyiv that those systems and planes did not open fire at airborne targets cause serious doubts.
“It is impossible to draw this definite conclusion within such a short period of time against the backdrop of fierce fighting in that area. “Such important statements that have serious legal consequences require a full evaluation,” it stated, also pointing out that MH17 was flying in Ukrainian airspace and outside of the range of operation of Russian air defence. “We ask the international community to hold a thorough and absolutely transparent inquiry into this plane crash,” the ministry said.