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Wednesday, December 24, 2014
MH17 shot down by Ukrainian combat jet, airbase employee claims
PETALING JAYA: A Ukrainian airbase employee has claimed that Malaysia Airlines (MAS) flight MH17 was shot down by a Ukrainian combat jet, Russian daily tabloidKomsomolskaya Pravda reports.
The employee, who chose to remain anonymous, claimed that a Ukrainian Su-25 jet had carried air-to-air missiles out from the Aviatorskoe airbase, near Dnepropetrovsk on the day MH17 was shot down but returned without them.
Based on the interview published Tuesday, it appeared that the pilot of the fighter jet had mistakenly shot at the Malaysian flight and had looked frightened when he landed back at the base.
The source claimed that he heard the pilot saying, "the wrong plane," and "the plane was in the wrong place at the wrong time" upon landing.
The source claimed that three Ukrainian jets flew off from the base on July 17 for a sortie, contrary to the statement by Ukrainian authorities that no operations were carried out that day, but only one returned without its missiles. The other two jets were reportedly shot down.
The story was also reported on Russian and Russian-leaning news websites pravda.ru, rt.com and sputniknews.com.
Russia's Investigative Committee has launched a probe on the allegation and has taken the details of the unnamed citizen from Komsomolskaya Pravda for further inquiries, the tabloid reported.
Pro-Russian rebels have secured a hold in the Donetsk region in Eastern Ukraine, where many of the population are of Russian descent.
Both Ukraine and Russia have blamed the other for the downing of the commercial aircraft.
On July 17, MH17 was shot down near conflict-ridden Donetsk as it was travelling from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur, killing all 298 passengers and crew.