By ALIFAH ZAINUDDIN & DASHVEENJIT KAUR / Pic By BERNAMA
MALAYSIA wants clear proof that Russia is behind the shooting down of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17, said Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad (picture).
“We are very unhappy because from the very beginning, it became a political issue on how to accuse Russia of the wrongdoing. Even before they examined it, they already said Russia, and now they say they have proof. So, it is very diffiicult for us to accept that.
“We want proof of guilt that Russia did it. But so far there is no proof, only hearsay,” Dr Mahathir told reporters on the sidelines of the Prime Minister’s Department’s Hari Raya Aidilfitri celebration in Putrajaya today.
International investigators yesterday charged three Russians and a Ukrainian with murder over the shooting down of flight MH17.
The Dutch-led team said the four men with military and intelligence links would go on trial in March next year, although they are likely to be tried in absentia in the Netherlands as neither Russia nor Ukraine extradite their nationals.
MH17 was shot down on July 17, 2014, over territory held by pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine as it was flying from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur. All 298 people aboard died.
Most of the passengers were Dutch. The joint investigation team comprise of Australia, Belgium, Malaysia, the Netherlands and Ukraine found that the plane was downed by a Russian missile, a claim Moscow has repeatedly rejected.
Russia has said it does not trust the investigation as Russia has been omitted from the team, while Ukraine is a full participant.
In a statement issued yesterday, Russia’s Foreign Affairs Ministry said the country was a target of of completely unfounded accusations intended to discredit it in the eyes of the international community.
It said the investigation team failed to produce a single shred of concrete evidence to back up its statement.
Last year Russian President Vladimir Putin called MH17’s downing a “terrible tragedy” but said Moscow was not to blame and there were other explanations for what happened.
Prosecutors have said the missile system that brought down the Boeing 777 airliner came from the Russian 53rd Anti-Aircraft Brigade, based in the western Russian city of Kursk.
Separately, Wisma Putra said in a statement that conclusions on MH17 must be based on evidence and not politically motivated.