KUALA LUMPUR — October 15, 2015: Russia maintains that it no longer produces the cube and bow-tie shaped shrapnels for its BUK surface-to-air missile system which were found in the Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 wreckage and bodies of three of the crew members.
Its ambassador to Malaysia Valery N. Yermolov categorically stated today that his country had not owned the 9N314M warhead that hit MH17 since 2011, the year when it was decommissioned.
“Russian missiles only contained shrapnels in the shape of parallelepiped. The shrapnels found at the fuselage were a type of missile widely used by other separatists and rebels in the conflict area,” said Yermolov at a press conference at the embassy here.
He pointed out that even the Dutch Safety Board’s (DSB) report on the MH17 crash stated that the missile that hit MH17 was an old type.
Yermolov explained that the BUK missile mentioned in the DSB report was developed in 1986 during the war involving the Soviet Union army and had a warranty period of at least 25 years.
The ambassador claimed that many other former Soviet Union states, including some members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) alliance such as Greece, were also armed with similar BUK missiles.
“This means that the missiles may not only be owned by Russia but also by former Soviet Union states,” he said.
But Yermolov made clear that the DSB findings would not jeopardise relations between Russia, Malaysia and the nations involved in the probe and emphasised that Russia would continue to work with Malaysia through the International Civil Aviation Organisation to seek justice for the victims.
On Tuesday, DSB concluded that MH17 was shot down by a surface-to-air BUK missile while cruising at 33,000 feet over rebel-held eastern Ukraine, killing all 298 people aboard on July 17 last year. — Bernama