Lyudmila VorobyevaKUALA LUMPUR, July 22 (Bernama) — The Russian government today thanked and praised the Malaysian government for remaining neutral pending the completion of the investigation into the crash of Malaysia Airlines (MAS) Flight MH17 which is believed to have been shot down.
Russian Ambassador to Malaysia Lyudmila Vorobyeva said that while many countries blamed Russia for the tragic incident in which 298 people were killed, Malaysia remained impartial and focused on the final outcome of the investigation.
“We are very appreciative that the Malaysian government is neutral, not blaming anyone before any tangible evidence that would be produced as a result of the international investigation.
“We are very appreciative, we are very thankful to the Government of Malaysia,” she told a press conference at the Russian Embassy here.
Flight MH17 was flying from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur when it went down in Donetsk, eastern Ukraine, near the Russian border on Thursday.
The Boeing 777-200 aircraft was carrying 298 people – 283 passengers and 15 crew.
It is believed that the plane was shot down but until today no one has claimed responsibility for that.
Elaborating on the relationship between Russia and Malaysia, Vorobyeva said the tragic incident did not effect bilateral ties which she said had been developed in positive ways over the years.
“Many areas, beginning from political dialogue to trade, saw increases by 60 per cent last year. We have around 6,000 Malaysian students in Russia.
“Our sincere wish is that we maintain this positive and dynamic bilateral relationship,” she said.
Vorobyeva said it was unfair to continue to blame Russia or the alleged Russia-backed separatists in Ukraine for the downing of the jet since there was no concrete evidence at the moment.
She said it was a groundless allegation since the alleged evidence was in the form of audio recordings and pictures provided by Ukraine, which she claimed were fake and that the tapes featured compilation of different periods.
“It’s been analysed by experts, it is a compilation of recordings, some made before the crash … they are fake pictures, recordings,” she added.
Vorobyeva said the separatists only has portable air defence systems, capable of a range of five kilometres, captured from Ukrainian forces.
“The Ukrainian forces, however, do have missile systems deployed in the region, according to Russian armed forces. The rebels (even) do not have airplanes or fighter jets.
“If you ask me, I am convinced that there is no way they could have done it. They don’t have the means to do it. The rebels did not have the book or qualification to operate it (the Buk missile system), but the Ukrainian military have it,” she said.
Nevertheless, Vorobyeva pointed out that the Russian government did not want to play the blame game or accuse some parties without evidence.
Therefore, she said, the Russian government repeatedly called for a thorough investigation that could produce evidence on who was responsible for the incident.