Russia has given MH17 radar data to Netherlands

A Malaysian air crash investigator inspects the crash site of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 in Ukraine on July 22, 2014.
A Malaysian air crash investigator inspects the crash site of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 in Ukraine on July 22, 2014. PHOTO: REUTERS

MOSCOW (AFP) - Russia has handed over to the Netherlands raw radar data from the area where Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 was downed over rebel-held eastern Ukraine in 2014, Moscow confirmed Thursday (Oct 27).

"We gave the Dutch side raw radar data which we discovered a month ago," foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova told AFP.

She spoke after Dutch Justice Minister Ard van der Steur told parliament on Wednesday that Russian prosecutors had handed "a packet of information" to the Dutch embassy in Moscow.

He said he could not give details because the contents needed to be assessed to see if they were useful for the investigation.

Russia's defence ministry in late September released what it claimed were new radar images showing that there was no missile fired from rebel-held territory on the day of the MH17 flight in July 2014, contradicting some of its earlier declarations.

The ministry released the images to journalists two days before the Dutch-led international team of criminal investigators released initial findings on Sept 28 into the downing of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 that found the missile was transported from Russia.

The Dutch-led investigative team, which has spent two years investigating the crash that killed all 298 people on board the Boeing 777, said at the time that Russia had not given them this new radar data.

Ukraine and the West insist pro-Russian rebels blew the jet out of the sky with a Russian-made Buk missile system likely supplied by Moscow.

The tragedy saw the European Union slap tougher sanctions on Russia - blamed by the West for being behind the rebellion. The punitive measures remain in place as the fighting drags on.

But Russia and the rebels have consistently denied any role in downing the plane, and have instead blamed Ukrainian government forces.