Exactly one year after the downing of flight MH17 over Ukraine, News Corp Australia has released a video appearing to show Russian-backed rebels ransacking the luggage of dead passengers. Nearly 300 people died on July 17, 2014, when the plane went down over rebel-held eastern Ukraine.
In the video rebels express dismay upon realizing the aircraft is a commercial airliner, not a fighter jet. In Russian they say ”civilians, civilians” and “this is a passenger plane.”
Foreign minister Julie Bishop said that although the authenticity of the video hadn’t been confirmed, ”it is certainly consistent with the intelligence advice that we received 12 months ago, that Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 had been shot down by a surface-to-air missile.” She called the footage ”revolting” and “sickening.”
Australian prime minister Tony Abbott said the video highlighted that “this was an atrocity, it was in no way an accident.”
Russia continues to dispute accusations that pro-Russian separatists fighting government forces in east Ukraine shot the airplane down. On July 16, president Vladimir Putin said calls for an international tribunal to investigate the incident were “premature.” Russian officials have suggested that Ukrainian forces shot the plane down, a charge denied by Kiev.
Assisted by other countries, the Netherlands is leading the criminal investigation into the incident. (Nearly 200 Dutch nationals were on the flight, which was flying from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur.) The Dutch Safety Board will release a final report on the cause of the crash in October. That draft has been distributed for review to Boeing, the US Federal Aviation Administration, and other organizations around the world.
CNN reports it has interviewed sources who have access to the draft report, who say evidence indicates that pro-Russian rebels shot down MH17 with Buk missile, launched from a village in Russian rebel-controlled territory. It also says that on the day of the incident Malaysia Airlines did not read other countries’ notice to airmen, or NOTAMs, which are issued to help pilots decide where and where not to fly. Putin lashed out against the leaked information, calling it “inadmissible,” according to a Kremlin statement.
Memorial services are being held today for the crash’s victims in Australia, Malaysia, and the Netherlands.