MH17: Dr M rejects JIT’s findings, claims conspiracy against Russia

MH17: Dr M rejects JIT’s findings, claims conspiracy against Russia

PUTRAJAYA: Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad today dismissed the Dutch government’s decision to charge three Russians and a Ukrainian with murder over the downing of flight MH17, describing it as a political conspiracy against Russia.

He also said that the entire incident has been turned into a political issue from the start and demanded solid proof that Russia was responsible for shooting down the plane.

“We are unhappy. From the beginning, it became a political issue on how to accuse Russia of the wrongdoing.

“They blamed Russia even before the investigation began,” said Mahathir at a function at the Prime Minister’s Department today.

The Dutch-led Joint Investigation Team (JIT) announced yesterday that it is going to prosecute the suspects – Russians Igor Girrkin, Sergey Dubinskiy and Oleg Pulatov and Ukrainian Leonid Kharchenko – for shooting down flight MH17 in July 2014.

The incident killed all 298 people in the flight, including children.

The families of the deceased today said they welcomed the Dutch authority’s move, saying justice will finally be served.

Reiterating his stand, Mahathir said he was not convinced of JIT’s findings and insisted on proof of Russia’s involvement.

“This is a ridiculous thing. Someone shoots a gun and you are not able to see who, but you know who shot.

“As far as we are concerned, we want proof of guilt. So far, there is no proof, only hearsay,” he said.

Asked whether he was worried about Russia’s palm oil stake in Malaysia, Mahathir replied in the negative.

“No. That is different,” said the Langkawi MP.

On related matter, Malaysia’s Foreign Ministry issued a statement saying it was committed to JIT’s process but stressed the need for evidence to back its claims.

“Our approach has been always that conclusions must be based on evidence, not politically motivated.

“In this connection, we call upon all parties to cooperate with the process so that the truth will be discovered,” reads the statement.

By G Vinod

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