Putin says 'of course' Russian rocket did not shoot down MH17

Investigators said at a news conference in the Netherlands on Thursday that the Buk missile that brought down the plane over eastern Ukraine belonged to the 53rd anti-aircraft missile brigade of the Russian army based in Kursk, Russia.

MH17 was shot down over rebel-held territory in Eastern Ukraine in 2014, killing all 298 aboard.

"The Netherlands and Australia today asked Russian Federation to enter into talks aimed at finding a solution that would do justice to the tremendous suffering and damage caused by the downing of MH17", Blok said in a statement which included a request for Russian Federation to provide compensation.

Putin, who took part on Friday in a discussion panel on the sidelines of the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF), reiterated Russia's complaints about the way the investigation is being handled.

When asked if the Kremlin denied allegations of Russian involvement, he said: "Absolutely".

In a written statement, Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said: "That a sophisticated weapon belonging to the Russian Army was dispatched and used to shoot down a civilian aircraft should be of grave worldwide concern".

"It's an important step on the way to get justice for victims", Ploeg added.

Meanwhile, the investigative site Bellingcat claimed it had identified the second of two men whom the JIT has fingered as top suspects after obtaining their wire-tapped conversations before and after the plane was shot out of the sky.

He described Mr Lavrov as "standoffish" during their phone call.

MH17 was shot down over territory held by pro-Russian separatist forces as it flew from Amsterdam en route to Kuala Lumpur.

GettyImages-962313860

Russia's military denied any anti-aircraft missile units ever crossed the border between Russian Federation and Ukraine, according to a report from TASS news agency.

The move on Friday came a day after global investigators concluded that the missile which smashed into the flight MH17 came from a Russian military brigade in Kursk.

Bellingcat said it had established that before his deployment to the Donbas in 2014, Ivannikov served as the "defense minister" of South Ossetia - a part of Georgia that has been occupied by Russia since the Russian-Georgian war in 2008.

"If military weapons can be deployed and then used to bring down civilian aircraft in what was essentially a war zone, then worldwide security is at risk and we call on all countries to inform the Russian Federation that its conduct is unacceptable", she said.

A Joint Investigation Team, drawn from Australia, Belgium, Malaysia, the Netherlands and Ukraine, is gathering evidence for a criminal prosecution in the downing of the plane.

Since the day of MH17's downing, the Kremlin has spread numerous competing versions of events, many of them absurd or obviously untrue, via its state-controlled media.

"Australia and the Kingdom of the Netherlands consider that the Russian Federation, through its role in the downing of flight MH17 on 17 July 2014, has breached several obligations under global law..."

"The US, I think, took over 10 years to acknowledge the shooting down of an Iranian jet", he said.

"Ukraine is part of the investigation and that is despite the fact that Ukraine violated global laws and they did not close the airspace over the area where fighting was ongoing".

In turn, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said on May 24 that Ukraine will do "everything possible to ensure that Russia's activities as a state sponsor of terrorism are treated appropriately at the United Nations International Court of Justice".



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