The Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) has identified a militant from the Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) who helped transport the Buk anti-aircraft missile launcher that was used to shoot down a Malaysia Airlines passenger aircraft over the Donbas.
This was announced by Vitaliy Mayakov, deputy head of the SBU’s Chief Investigative Directorate, during press conference, as cited by Ukrainski Novyny news agency.
Mayakov also presented a cellphone video showing the Buk missile system being brought into Donetsk by a haulage truck.
“Using this cellphone video we identified who this trailer belongs to. We identified a person from among the militants, who took it from a car company in Donetsk. After three years we managed to arrest this person, who did not even suspect that we knew about him, when he was crossing the border from Russia to the territory under our control. We arrested him, and now he is serving a sentence here in Ukraine,” Mayakov explained, adding that the investigation is determining the level of complicity of 150 people in this crime.
Mayakov stressed that all DPR militants who were involved in transporting the Buk will be convicted in Ukraine for terrorism.
SBU spokesperson Olena Hitlyanska clarified that the arrested militant was not the truck driver, but was nevertheless involved in transporting the Buk. He was condemned by a Ukrainian court in 2017.
Oleksandr Danylyuk, Secretary of Ukraine’s National Security and Defense Council, said recently that Vladimir Tsemakh, former commander of the DPR’s Sloviansk anti-air brigade, possesses valuable information about Russia’s involvement in the downing of the plane.
On 17 July 2014, a Malaysia Airlines passenger plane was shot down by a Buk missile over the Donetsk region. All 298 people on board were killed in the crash: 192 Dutch citizens, 44 Malaysians (including 15 crew members and two babies), 27 Australians, 12 Indonesians (including one child), 10 British citizens, 4 Germans, 4 Belgians, 3 Filipinos, 1 Canadian and 1 citizen of New Zealand.
Immediately after the crash, the incident was published by militant ringleader Igor Girkin, who thought that they had successfully shot down a Ukrainian military plane. A report from the terrorists was also published online, informing Russia’s intelligence directorate that the downed aircraft was a passenger liner.
The Joint Investigative Team has declared Russia responsible for the incident, which Russia denies. In spring this year, Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Bin Mohamad expressed doubts regarding the investigation’s findings, remarking that just because a Russian-produced missile was launched from Russia-controlled territory from a missile launcher belonging to the Russian army doesn’t prove that the launch button was pressed by Russian militants.