The Joint Investigation Team (JIT) that is investigating the Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 catastrophe which took place over eastern Ukraine in July 2014 has published new information which proves the connection between the separatists of the Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) and Russian government officials.
The team released recordings of intercepted phone calls made by the leadership of the self-proclaimed republic, including Defense Minister Igor “Strelkov” Girkin and Prime Minister Alexander Borodai.
In one of the recordings, a person identified by the investigators as Borodai says that he is following the orders and protecting the interests “of one state exclusively, the Russian Federation”.
In the intercepted recordings, mention is made of Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoygu, who is believed to have been involved from an early stage.
In one phone call, a militant with the alias “Mongol” tells the commandant of Makiivka that “people with authority from Shoygu will arrive”. These people, according to the pro-Russian militant, would “throw out the local divisions’ field commanders”, after which the “Muscovites” would take control for themselves.
The JIT found evidence that Russia may have provided the separatist leaders with special telephones that cannot be intercepted. Such telephones were mentioned in a phone call by Sergey Dubinsky, one of the JIT’s four chief suspects in the MH17 case.
“We have these telephones, you know, for special communication? Through the internet. Closed. They are special telephones. You can’t buy them. They come through Moscow. Through the FSB,” Dubinsky told the person on the other end of the call.
The investigators believe that an analysis of witnesses’ testimonies and other information shows that “Russia’s influence in the DPR went beyond the bounds of military support, and that the relationship between Russian officials and the leaders of the DPR was evidently closer”.
The JIT called for witnesses who can provide information on these topics, and promised to provide the necessary protection to any such witnesses who make contact with the team.
A Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 flying from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur was shot down over eastern Ukraine on July 17, 2014. All 298 people on board were killed.
The international Joint Investigation Team has concluded that the aircraft was shot down by a 9M38 missile fired from a mobile Buk system in a cultivated field near Pervomaiskyi. At the time, the region was controlled by pro-Russian separatists. The investigators believe that the Buk was brought into Ukraine from Russia and then taken back to Russia after it was used to attack flight MH17.
In June 2019, the names of four suspects in the case were released: Igor “Strelkov” Girkin, Sergey “Gloomy” Dubinsky, Oleg “Caliph” Pulatov, and Leonid “Mole” Kharchenko.