Envoy slams sanctions against Russia

Evidence marshalled by Ukraine on downing of MH17 is coming apart, says senior diplomat

Updated - November 16, 2021 06:16 pm IST

Published - July 26, 2014 01:38 am IST - London:

Sanctions imposed by the west on Russia are “illegal, unreasonable and counter-productive,” Alexander Yakovenko, Russian ambassador to the United Kingdom told a press conference here on Thursday. They serve no one’s interests and have “nothing to do with the national interest of the countries concerned, including America.”

His statements came on a day when in Brussels, the Committee of Permanent Representatives of the European Union (EU) approved the names of 15 individuals and 18 companies from Russia and Ukraine to be added to its existing list of 72 individuals and two companies against whom visa bans and asset freezes have been imposed. Mr. Yakovenko responded to the allegation levelled by the government of Ukraine that the rebels fighters in eastern Ukraine shot down the Malaysian Airlines Flight MH17 using a Russian sources missile system and with Russia’s active assistance.

The case, he said, was “built upon photos and messages from social media sites, placed by Ukrainian authorities and since then proved to be forgeries, as Ambassador Churkin demonstrated at the UN Security Council meeting. Naturally, our American partners say that they have no way of certifying the authenticity of those materials.”

The evidence marshalled by Ukraine was coming apart, said the senior diplomat, as proven by the statements now emanating from the American intelligence establishment.

“American intelligence could only say that they have satellite evidence that the airliner was shot down by an SA-11 missile ‘fired from eastern Ukraine under conditions the Russians helped create.’ Nothing positive about who fired that missile,” he said.

The Russian government has been insisting that its own air tracking systems detected Ukrainian war planes in the area, and at the time of the crash. American intelligence, in fact, has admitted that Ukrainian ground attack jets flew close to the Malaysian airliner. The Russian ambassador recalled that Russia was the first to call for an impartial and international investigation into the crash, that it actively worked at the Security Council to pass Resolution 2166 to allow a Dutch-led inquiry into the crash.

He also defended the way the site was cleared by local rebel militia, an issue that had come in for heavy criticism in the media.

The scale of such a disaster would have proved a challenge for any country, he said. “The local de facto authorities carried out the operation dealing with the consequences of the tragedy with the utmost efficiency, given the conditions of civil war, limited resources and the scale of the disaster,” he said.

The information from the flight data and cockpit recorder, which is being analysed by the U.K.’s Air Accident Investigation Branch (AAIB) in Farnborough, is expected soon.

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