U.S. State Department: Russia "without a doubt responsible" for shooting down MH17
Spokesperson for the U.S. Department of State Heather Nauert has said Russia is "without a doubt responsible" for shooting down MH17.
"The United States Government has long said that Russia is without a doubt responsible for shooting down MH17," she said at a press briefing on July 18.
"As recently as May, we put out two statements, and I'd like to read a bit from those statements. The first one came out on May the 24th. It said, 'The United States has complete confidence in the findings of the joint investigation team as presented today by the Dutch public prosecutor. The missile launcher used to shoot down Malaysia Airline Flight MH17 originated from the 53rd anti-aircraft brigade of the Russian Federation stationed in Kursk.' It goes on to say, 'MH17 was shot down by a Russian-made surface-to-air missile fired from the territory in eastern Ukraine controlled by Russia and Russian-led forces.' That was May 24th," she said.
"May 25th we put out another statement that said, 'We strongly support decisions by the Netherlands and Australia to call Russia to account for its role in the July 2014 downing of the Malaysia flight MH17 over eastern Ukraine and the horrific deaths of 298 civilians. It's time for Russia to acknowledge its role in shooting down the plane and cease its callous disinformation campaign,'" she continued.
"We stand by those statements," Nauert added.
She said the United States had joined the G7 and put out a foreign ministers statement.
"We joined – and perhaps some of you haven't seen it, but we joined our G7 colleagues and put out a foreign ministers statement – I believe it was Monday of this week. And I can read for you a bit of that statement. It says, among other things, 'We, the G7 foreign ministers' – Canada, France, Germany, et cetera, along with the European Union – 'are united in condemnation, in the strongest possible terms, of the downing of Malaysia Air Flight MH17, a civilian aircraft flying from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur July 17th, 2014.'"
"It goes on to say, 'In a rules-based international order, those responsible for unacceptable actions such as the firing or launching of a missile of Russian origin which intercepted and downed a civilian aircraft must be held accountable. To this end, we call on Russia to immediately engage with Australia and The Netherlands in good faith and to address all relevant questions regarding any potential breaches of international law. We once again express our deepest condolences to the family and the victims of that flight,'" she said.
"Our position on Russian culpability for this has not changed. Our policy on this has not changed," Nauert stressed.
UNIAN memo. Malaysia Airlines' MH17 Boeing 777 heading from Amsterdam for Kuala Lumpur was shot down on July 17, 2014, over militant-occupied territory in Donetsk region. All 298 people on board who were citizens of 10 countries were killed in the crash. The majority of the victims, 196, were citizens of the Netherlands. The Dutch Safety Board October 13, 2015, issued a report on the causes of the accident. It was revealed that the plane had been shot down by a Buk anti-aircraft missile system. The Joint Investigation Team in its report published on September 28, 2016, confirmed that the plane had been downed by a Russian-made Buk brought to Ukraine from Russia. Dutch Chief Prosecutor Fred Westerbeke said his office had identified 100 "persons of interest" in the investigation, including those who organized the arrival of the rocket and oversaw its transportation from Russia to Ukraine and back.