The Ukrainian authorities are responsible for the crash of flight MH17 in Donbass in July 2014, as they did not ban civil flights over the conflict zone, the head of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic, Alexander Zakharchenko, said on Thursday.


Crash site


“The responsibility for the shot down Boeing is fully with Ukraine, as well as responsibility for their not preventing the flight. Those responsible will be punished,” the Donetsk news agency quoted him as saying.


Zakharchenko once again denied any role of Donetsk in the crash of the airliner.


The Joint Investigation Team (JIT) that brings together specialists from the Netherlands, Ukraine, Australia, Malaysia and Belgium presented on Wednesday preliminary results of a probe into the crash over Donetsk.


The report said the JIT is “convinced of having obtained irrefutable evidence to establish that on 17 July 2014, flight MH-17 was shot down by a BUK missile from the 9M38-series.”


According to the JIT, there is also evidence that the missile was launched from a farmland near Pervomayskoye to the south of Snezhnoye, which was under control of militias. “So far, the JIT has identified approximately 100 people who can be linked to the downing of MH17 or the transport of the BUK-TELAR,” the report said.


The Dutch-led team has not so far identified any particular suspect, Dutch prosecutor Fred Westerbeke who heads the JIT said, adding that it was early to speak about their nationality or any Russia’s involvement.


The team had no time to look into data presented by Russia, which disproves this version.


On July 17, 2014, a Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 passenger airliner on flight MH17 from the Dutch city of Amsterdam to the Malaysian capital of Kuala Lumpur crashed in the Donetsk region in eastern Ukraine, killing all 298 people on board. Most passengers – 193 people – were Dutch nationals. The strike of a ground-to-air or air-to-air missile was named as a possible cause of the crash.


Ukraine’s authorities and the militia of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic accused each other of the tragedy. On July 21, the UN Security Council called to carry out an independent investigation. Russia’s representatives have said on many occasions they are dissatisfied with how the investigation was carried out and that the data presented by the Russian side were ignored.