Defence at MH17 Hearing Suggests Ukrainian Armed Forces May Have Hit Plane by Mistake

The Ukrainian military may have hit the MH17 passenger plane in 2014 by mistake, Sabine ten Doesschate, the defence lawyer for Oleg Pulatov, said Tuesday.

The Dutch prosecutors consider the scenario unlikely, but the Ukrainian military had access to a large number of weapons, the lawyer said.

Ten Doesschate suggested that the Ukrainian military may have been mistaken, similarly to what happened in 2001 with Siberia Airlines Flight 1812, which was shot down over the Black Sea.

Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 crashed on 17 July 2014, in eastern Ukraine while en route from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur, killing all 298 people aboard. The accident is being investigated by Dutch prosecutors and the Dutch-led Joint Investigation Team, which claim that the plane was hit by a Russian Buk missile. Moscow has repeatedly denied involvement in the incident.

Hearings in the case of the 2014 downing of flight MH17 in Ukraine resumed in the Dutch Schiphol Judicial Complex on Monday. At the current hearing, the defence is expected to present its position on issues that were previously raised by the prosecution, as well as voice its requests.

The prosecution, among other things, will have to explain why it requested more time to investigate the case against Pulatov before proceeding to consider his case on the merits.

Source

Is Malaysia’s Position on MH17 Tragedy Shifting?

A long-awaited court trial of four suspects implicated in the July 2014 downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 began today (March 9) at The Hague in the Netherlands.

Three Russian nationals and one Ukrainian have been indicted for the murder of all 298 passengers aboard the ill-fated flight, which was shot down over eastern Ukraine more than five years ago.

“This is a significant milestone toward finding the truth and establishing justice for the victims of the flight MH17 tragedy,” read a March 7 statement issued by Malaysia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

“For justice to prevail,” the statement said, will require a “credible and transparent process based on the rule of law.”

The statement is one of the first issued by Malaysia since Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin was sworn-in on March 1, and signals a distinct new tone from outgoing premier Mahathir Mohamad’s outlier position on the proceedings.

During his nearly two-year tenure, Mahathir alleged that the Dutch-led Joint Investigation Team (JIT) leading a probe into the disaster had been biased and politicized against Russia.

Though economic ties between Moscow and Putrajaya are modest, the two countries forged closer strategic links during Mahathir’s first and second premierships.

Malaysia’s perceived closeness to Russia, according to various Malaysian officials and reports, led to the Southeast Asian nation being stonewalled as the MH17 investigation unfolded.

While Muhyiddin’s days-old premiership is still taking shape, observers are closely watching whether or not his administration will echo past skepticism of the multinational probe.

Though Mahathir’s government did not oppose a trial, as a small number of civil society groups in Malaysia did, he claimed that evidence against the four accused was lacking and amounted to “hearsay.”

The then-premier’s remarks sparked diplomatic controversy and upset many of the victims’ next-of-kin. Mahathir’s positions, however, continue to be shared by some Malaysian officials who dealt firsthand with the disaster.

Fauziah Mohd Taib, Malaysia’s Ambassador to the Netherlands when the MH17 plane was shot down, is among them.

“From the beginning, I sensed it already. They were trying to keep me away, trying to keep Malaysia away [from the investigation],” the 64-year-old ex-diplomat said in an interview with Asia Times.

The retired envoy claimed that mutual distrust among countries in the JIT led to Malaysia being initially sidelined from the probe.

While Malaysia is part of the multinational JIT, along with Australia, Belgium, the Netherlands and Ukraine, the grouping’s investigation began without its participation, a sore point that influenced Mahathir’s stance.

As owner of the fallen aircraft, Malaysia was entitled to appoint observers to the probe and be briefed on its findings, according to International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) protocols.

But it was only invited to join the criminal probe as an equal member in late November 2014, over four months after MH17 was brought down on July 17.

Fauziah, however, said her country’s prosecutorial representative was only allowed to attend meetings related to the criminal probe in March 2015.

“This is our airplane, our people were also there, all the crew members were Malaysian. Why are we not in the investigation? I found the Dutch to be pulling back when we talk about it,” she said.

“We wanted to join in the JIT from the beginning. We could join the Dutch Safety Board (DSB) daily briefings, which I attended,” she said in reference to the board’s civilian investigation tasked with determining the cause of the crash.

Malaysia, she said, was initially kept out of legal deliberations to apportion blame and criminal charges against suspects.

“They only wanted people from the prosecutor’s office. So, if you are not a lawyer, not a prosecutor, you cannot come in. Even then, there was no official invitation for us. There was no clearance, yet we insisted on being equal partners,” she said.

The veteran diplomat claimed Malaysia’s cordial ties with Russia were cause for it to be isolated from the process.

“I received some information from my colleagues in the Netherlands that it was Ukraine who didn’t want us in because they think we are quite inclined to Russia,” Fauziah said. “But we never made any statement to say that we are pro-Russia or anti-Ukraine. There were no statements, official statements or even implied statements.”

In 2016, investigators concluded that the Malaysian aircraft was hit by a Russian-made Buk-9M38 series missile fired from rebel-held territory in eastern Ukraine, where Russian-backed separatist militias and government forces were engaged in fierce combat. Moscow denies charges that it supplied the missile system which brought down the plane.

The Netherlands and Australia announced in May 2018 that they would hold the Russian state legally responsible for the downing of MH17. Dutch media later reported that Malaysia was only notified of the politically sensitive move just prior to its announcement over fears that it would relay those intentions to Moscow through diplomatic backchannels.

Fauziah claimed that the JIT’s practice of keeping Malaysia at a diplomatic arm’s length helped to validate perceptions of Russia being politically scapegoated by the probe, a position that Mahathir repeatedly affirmed to the bewilderment of public opinion in the Netherlands, which lost 198 of its citizens in the disaster, and elsewhere.

The former Malaysian envoy did not dispute Russia’s support for the rebels in eastern Ukraine, though she claimed Moscow’s own version of events were not examined by the probe. “Because [the JIT] were apportioning blame from the beginning, I think the Russian side should have been given the opportunity to explain themselves,” she said.

“You’ve already blamed Russia and you have already started to enforce sanctions. Why are you doing this when you don’t know yet? That was what I told them,” Fauziah said in reference to economic sanctions levelled against Moscow by the United States and the European Union on July 29, 2014 over its role in the MH17 incident.

“From there I noticed there was this ‘you are not my friend’ kind of feeling. You can see it’s a geopolitical game already. Immediately, you have all finger-pointing to Russia. They were taking advantage of the victims of the incident to come up with something they’ve been waiting for, an opportunity,” she claimed.

It is unlikely that those sentiments will inform the Muhyiddin administration’s stance toward the trial, which is expected to continue throughout 2020. Despite Mahathir’s contrarian position, his government had formally endorsed the JIT’s findings while calling for transparent scrutiny of existing evidence and the gathering of additional data.

There is at least one indication that the new Malaysian government seeks to quiet internal critics.

Colonel Mohd Sakri Hussin, the chief negotiator of a Malaysian team that covertly entered rebel-held territory in eastern Ukraine to retrieve MH17’s flight data recorders and victim remains, had been due to speak at a documentary screening in London on March 3.

Sakri and Mahathir appeared in the online investigative documentary MH17 – Call for Justice and the former had travelled to the United Kingdom to take part in the event’s panel discussion.

Event co-organizer Bonanza Media confirmed to Asia Times that Muhyiddin’s newly-appointed government requested the colonel not to address the gathering, to which he complied.

At present, Dutch prosecutors hold four individuals responsible for the downing of MH17: Russian nationals Sergey Dubinsky, Oleg Pulatov and Igor Girkin, and Ukrainian, Leonid Kharchenko.

None of the four suspects were crew members of the vehicle that fired the missile, but are believed to have colluded with those who carried out the attack.

Source

Malaysia Airlines: A history of ups and downs

Malaysia Airlines Berhad, colloquially known as Malaysia Airlines, is Malaysia’s flag carrier. The airline has been struggling for the past few years following several incidents involving one missing flight (MH370) and another being shot down over eastern Ukraine (MH17). Now, Malaysia Airlines - wholly owned by Khazanah Nasional Berhad, a Malaysian sovereign wealth fund company – is considering selling its shares in a bid to recover from unprofitability.

On 20 January 2020, Malaysia’s Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad confirmed that Malaysia Airlines had received five proposals. Sources say that the proposals were submitted by AirAsia, Malindo Air, Lion Air, Air France-KLM alliance and Japan Airlines. As the discussion for the proposal is confidential, the details were not revealed to the public.

The question now is whether this bid is a good move? Tracing back Malaysia Airlines’ history and past struggles might answer this question.  

Malaysia Airlines was founded in Singapore on 12 October, 1937 as Malayan Airways Limited. The first commercial flight was only boarded in 1947, some 10 years later. When the Federation of Malaysia was established in 1963, the airline’s name changed to Malaysian Airways. Then, following Singapore’s separation from Malaysia in 1965, the airline’s name was changed again to Malaysia-Singapore Airlines before the airline ceased operations after six years in 1972 when both, Malaysia and Singapore decided to establish their own flag carriers – Malaysian Airline System (MAS) and Singapore Airlines.

During the 1980s, the economic boom in Malaysia helped MAS grow, and by the end of the decade MAS became the first airline in Southeast Asia to serve intercontinental flights to South America.

However, during the Asian Financial Crisis, just like other companies in Asia, MAS suffered losses against its financial year for about five years. One of the damage control efforts was to discontinue unprofitable routes out of Malaysia. In 2003, MAS recovered from its losses and achieved some profit before 2005 where it suffered another period of unprofitability due to rising fuel prices, escalated handling and landing fees, and other factors.

Idris Jala was appointed as the new CEO of MAS and launched its Business Turnaround Plan in 2006. MAS posted a record profit in 2007 ending a series of losses since 2005. Route rationalising was one of the major contributors other than improving MAS’ operation system.

In 2011, MAS recorded a net loss of RM2.52 billion (US$613 million) - the largest ever recorded in the company’s history - due to rising fuel costs. Idris Jala departed from MAS in 2009 to accept a position in the country’s Cabinet. The new CEO, Tengku Azmil Zahruddin took over the reins thereafter before newly-appointed CEO, Ahmad Jauhari Yahya, was appointed in 2011. Again, the first initiative was to discontinue the unprofitable routes. MAS then recorded profits in 2013 and became a member of the Oneworld Alliance, a leading global airline alliance.

In 2014, MAS struggled to compete with AirAsia, the now-famous Malaysian low-cost carrier. Then, the mysterious flight disappearance of MH370 in March 2014 added to its financial struggles. People started developing doubts about flying with the country’s flag carrier. 

The search for the missing plane has become one of the costliest endeavours in aviation history, centred around the South China and Andaman seas initially before shifting to the Indian Ocean. As a result, MAS’ stock went down as much as 20 percent following the disappearance of MH370 and fell 80 percent over the previous five years. 

Three months after the tragic MH370 incident, another Malaysia Airlines flight, MH17, was shot down while flying over Eastern Ukraine. The incident has become widely publicised because of the armed conflict in Eastern Ukraine between Russia and the Ukraine. These two incidents have greatly contributed to MAS’ financial year losses.

On the proposed recovery plan, Khazanah Nasional Berhad - then the majority shareholder of MAS - announced that it would buy the shares of minority shareholders. MAS will compensate shareholders with premium closing price shares as part of Khazanah’s plan to restructure and rebrand MAS.

On 29 August 2014, Khazanah issued a report on the recovery plan that included cutting off 6,000 staff and focusing on regional destinations rather than long-haul routes. In 2015, MAS rebranded its name to Malaysia Airlines Berhad (MAB) and appointed a new CEO, Christoph Mueller. 

In less than a year, Christoph resigned from the post, citing changing personal circumstances as the reason. It was announced in 2016 that the new CEO, Peter Bellew would take over. He too decided to resign a year later. Currently, Captain Izham Ismail, a former Malaysia Airlines pilot is the new CEO of MAB. 

Following the numerous CEO changes and to recover profitability – Khazanah Nasional Berhad, the parent company of MAB spearheaded by the government of Malaysia – has come up with an idea to offer the company’s shares to airline companies who can propose a strategic plan en route to profitability.

With little details available to the public, several major newspapers in Malaysia have speculated that the Malaysian government and Khazanah are leaning towards selecting the AirAsia Group for this plan. The AirAsia Group has proposed to take over the shares offered by Khazanah and for AirAsia X Berhad to merge with Malaysia Airlines, potentially making the merged company a Malaysian/ASEAN champion competitor. 

Proposals have been submitted by foreign carriers as well. The Air France-KLM alliance has proposed to take a 49 percent stake while Japan Airlines wants a 25 percent stake in Khazanah. This is not a surprise as the relationship between Malaysia and Japan has been improving following the samurai bond issuance by Japan in 2019. Things may not be so smooth with an Air France-KLM alliance though, as both parties belong to different airline alliances: Oneworld for Malaysia Airlines and Skyteam for Air France-KLM.

The bids are still being reviewed and Malaysia needs to carefully consider the proposals made. As Malaysia Airlines is the flag carrier of Malaysia and a national symbol, the decision made by Malaysia will be crucial in deciding the future of the aviation industry in the country.

Wahab Jumrah

How MH370 and MH17 changed the way we think about air travel

Thirty-three Australians were tragically killed in two air disasters which shrouded 2014 and the years which have followed in sadness, anger and frustration.

Both incidents, which left a total of 537 passengers dead, forever seared the flight code of Malaysia Airlines into the consciousness of Australians.

What happened to Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, or MH370, remains perhaps the greatest mystery of aviation and the subject of intense speculation.

Of the 227 passengers, six were Australians. On the morning of March 8, they boarded the Boeing 777-200ER aircraft in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, and expected to step off in Beijing, China. The plane never arrived, and the search for the missing jet became the most costly in aviation history. The most likely scenario involved someone in the cockpit of Flight 370, probably Captain Zaharie Ahmad Shah, re-programming the aircraft's autopilot to travel south across the Indian Ocean.

The downing of Malaysia Airlines MH17, just four months later, appeared far more clear cut. All 283 passengers and 15 crew were killed, including 27 Australians.

A total of 33 Australians were needlessly killed in two air disasters in quick succession.

In the MH17 disaster, the lives of Perth parents Anthony Maslin and Marite "Rin" Norris were ripped apart in the most devastating way.

They lost their three children – Mo, 12, Evie, 10 and Otis, 8 – and Ms Norris' father, Anthony, when the jet was shot down. Their three children had been returning home to Perth for school, while they had stayed behind in Amsterdam.

Why it matters?

A nation of great travellers, Australians want to feel safe as we journey abroad. But there were also broader implications in both stories.

MH17 threw the spotlight on Moscow's intervention in the Ukraine and its likely hand in the disaster, despite denials.

What happened in the cockpit of MH370 continues to intrigue. A picture began to emerge of Captain Zaharie's mental health. Had Malaysia Airlines done enough not only to support a troubled pilot, but also spot the warning signs of an employee struggling with mental illness?

Malaysia Airlines came under intense pressure over its investigation. The carrier and Malaysian government were accused by families of MH370 victims of obscuring the truth. When disasters strike, people need and expect clarity from leaders and those in power.

What has changed?

Family members of victims are pushing for international law changes which will oblige countries embroiled in civil wars to close their airspace.

In the modern age, it was unthinkable a plane like MH370 could simply disappear. In 2016, a new aviation standard meant all aircraft over open ocean report their position every 15 minutes. The 30-day battery life of a plane's underwater locator beacons has also been increased to 90 days, beginning 2020.

Hit with two devastating disasters, Malaysia Airlines renationalized on 1 September 2015, in an attempt to avoid financial uncertainty. Meanwhile, families of the victims of MH370 and MH17 are still fighting for compensation in civil suits.

Dutch journalists discover large pieces of wreckage at MH17 crash site

Dutch prosecutors say that the cause of the MH17 crash has been determined but skepticism still remains, the journalist says.

Some large pieces of wreckage still remain at the crash site of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 in eastern Ukraine, Eric van de Beek, a journalist with the Novini media outlet told TASS on Monday.

A new article dedicated to the MH17 crash, published at the media outlet’s website, contains a number of photos and a video showing pieces of wreckage, which apparently include the aircraft’s tail-plane, pieces of aircraft covering, pieces of a wing and an oxygen generator. "They are so big that they even can be seen using Google Earth," van de Beek said. "Very much to our surprise no Dutch paper or program has reported this news. I knew that what we are doing is Samizdat, but that the big media in The Netherlands leave this major discovery unreported is beyond me," he added. "If it’s of no interest to the Dutch media and authorities, maybe the Donbass authorities can hand the parts of the wreckage over to the Russian authorities, for them to research what happened to MH17," the journalist noted.

"The question is how important these pieces of wreckage are," the article’s author Stefan Beck said. "A single bolt helped determine the cause of the Bijlmer crash [which occurred in Amsterdam in 1992]. Dutch prosecutors say that the cause of the MH17 crash has been determined but skepticism still remains as no one is studying the wreckage that has been there for a long time," he pointed out.

The Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17, a Boeing-777 passenger plane travelling from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur, was shot down on July 17, 2014, over Ukraine’s eastern region of Donetsk. The crash killed all the 283 passengers and 15 crewmembers. There were nationals of ten states among the dead. The Joint Investigation Team (JIT) looking into the crash comprises representatives of the Netherlands, Australia, Belgium, Malaysia and Ukraine.

On May 24, the Team gave an update of the state of affairs in the criminal investigation, claiming that "the BUK-TELAR that was used to down MH17, originates from the 53rd Anti-Aircraft Missile brigade... a unit of the Russian army from Kursk in the Russian Federation."

Russia’s Defense Ministry rejected all the allegations and said that none of the missile systems belonging to the Russian Armed Forces had ever been taken abroad. The ministry noted that Moscow had provided Dutch investigators with overwhelming evidence proving that a Ukrainian Buk missile system had been used to bring down the aircraft.

Flight MH370 mystery may never be solved

Flight MH370 mystery may never be solved 'because of crucial lost 18 minutes'

The Malaysian Airlines jet, which was carrying 239 passengers from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing, disappeared from radar just seconds after entered into Vietnamese airspace.

The mystery of doomed Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 may never be solved as it lost contact with air traffic controllers during a crucial 18 minute window, according to reports.

Crucially, this was missed by ground crew in Malaysia who had a busy schedule at the time the jet vanished.

When the team in Kuala Lumpur finally noticed the Boeing 777's disappearance, they presumed it had been taken over by air traffic controllers in Ho Chi Minh, the Atlantic reports.

The Vietnamese team had noticed the jet on their monitors and then saw it vanish - but crucially - it is believed they failed to report the issue to their Malaysian counterparts.

A full 18 minutes passed before ground crew in Kuala Lumpur became aware one of their jets had vanished.

The Malaysian Aviation Safety Network (ASN) is certain that the aircraft was captured mid-flight.

Evidence is mounting that the crash, which has become of the greatest aviation mysteries of all time, was a murder-suicide.

New flight data suggests "some abnormal turns [were] made by the 777 [that] can only be done manually."

French investigators claim captain Zaharie Ahmad Shah was a troubled, lonely man who deliberately killed all passengers and crew on board the flight.

But it will take around "a year" to go through all of the information received from Boeing, sources said in July.

A source, who is 'close to the investigation' said: "Some abnormal turns made by the 777 can only be done manually. So someone was at the helm.

"But nothing is credited that anyone else could have entered the cockpit."

The informant told Le Parisien the new development amid France's judicial inquiry into the crash. It is the only country to conduct one as of yet.

Data analysis indicates the Boeing 777-200ER flew over the Indian Ocean until it ran out of fuel and violently slammed into the water with 239 people on board.

It is suspected the plane's passenger cabin was deliberately depressurised by Shah to kill everyone on board hours before the crash.

Before doing so, he could have put on an oxygen mask in the cockpit so he could continue to fly the aircraft for hours.

At around the same time the cabin was depressurised the electrical system was deliberately turned off, making the plane impossible to track by satellite.

An FBI inspection of Shah's Microsoft flight simulator at home showed he had tested a flight roughly matching the path of MH370, ending in the Indian Ocean after running out of fuel.

His voice was heard in the final radio communication less than two minutes before the plane began to divert from its flight path from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing on March 8, 2014.

One of his lifelong friends told the Atlantic that he had reluctantly come to the conclusion that Shah deliberately crashed the plane, given the evidence amassed by independent investigators.

The friend, who wasn't named, said: “It’s hard to reconcile with the man I knew. But it’s the necessary conclusion.”

The friend said Shah likely tricked his inexperienced 27-year-old co-pilot, Fariq Hamid, who was on his final training flight, into leaving the cockpit and locked him out.

He said: “Zaharie was an examiner. All he had to say was ‘Go check something in the cabin', and the guy would have been gone.”

Shah's friend doesn't know why the pilot would do such a thing, but thought it might be down to the captain's emotional state.

He added: “Zaharie’s marriage was bad. In the past he slept with some of the flight attendants. And so what? We all do. You’re flying all over the world with these beautiful girls in the back. But his wife knew.”

People who spoke to the Atlantic described Shah, the father of adult children, as lonely and sad.

By David Coleman

Former head of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade's MH17 Taskforce Matthew Anderson to take war memorial reins

A career diplomat who helped lead the response to the tragic downing of MH17 in Ukraine will become the next director of the Australian War Memorial.

Australia’s deputy high commissioner to the UK and former ambassador to Afghanistan, Matthew Anderson, will succeed Brendan Nelson in the role in 2020 and is expected to start in March.

Before joining the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Mr Anderson spent eight years as an Australian Army officer, including three as a troop commander in the Royal Australian Engineers in 1988-91. He has 32 years experience in government — including his army stint — and served as high commissioner to Samoa in 2007-11 and to the Solomon Islands in 2011-13.

After finishing with the army in 1995, Mr Anderson joined DFAT as a graduate. Nearly 20 years later, he served as the head of the MH17 task force after the aircraft was downed in Ukrainian airspace in July 2014, killing 298 passengers, including 38 Australians.

Flight MH17 families seek answers

Five years go, when flight MH17 was shot down over Ukraine, Piet Ploeg lost members of his family. He hopes the investigation will bring responsible to justice.

On July 17, 2014, Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 took off from Amsterdam, bound for Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. As the Boeing 777 flew over eastern Ukraine, it crashed, killing all 298 people on board, including 80 children. Ploeg says "this day changed everything." 

Piet lost his older brother Alex, his sister-in-law and his nephew when flight MH17 was shot down. His brother, a passionate biologist, had wanted to take his wife and son on a trip to the tropics. While their remains have been found, those of Ploeg's brother still has not.

Ploeg says nobody and no luggage has so far been retrieved. Even so, he is hopeful because "several hundred fragments which have not yet been identified will be analyzed using high-end technology — but the results will only be available by June or July next year."

His brother's daughters did not join their dad on the flight to Malaysia. Now, Ploeg looks after them. The younger of the two wants to become a biologist, just like her late father. Ploeg says the death of his brother Alex, his wife and their son "dealt a severe blow" to their parents, who died in 2019. After the death of his brother, Ploeg — like many other relatives and family members of those killed in the MH17 crash — needed psychological counseling. He also quit his job as a public administrator near Utrecht.

Today, Ploeg is a director of Vliegramp MH17, a foundation representing the vast majority of those who lost loved ones on that fateful day in July 2014. He works on a pro bono basis, helping prepare the March trial, assisting others who lost family members and friends in the tragedy.

Ploeg told DW he is often asked about his view of Russia and Ukraine. "They all think I hate Russians, but I don't," he explains.

He never used to follow developments in Eastern Europe, but that all changed after July 2014. Now, he is eager to get his head around the Ukrainian conflict and wants to know, above all, who carries responsibility for the attack on flight MH17.

"We want to learn about the structures behind the people who shot down this plane, and how they did it," he says.

Indonesian investigators blame design flaws with Boeing 737 for crash

Indonesian experts tarnish the reputation of Malaysian airlines, who was the owner of missing MH370 and the shot down MH17.

Indonesian investigators blame design flaws with Boeing 737 for crash that killed 189 passengers and crew when plane slammed into the sea just after takeoff.

Lion Air‘s flight JT-610 was heading to Pangkal Pinang, an island north of the capital, Jakarta, when it lost with air control in October 2018.

Just 13 minutes after take-off 189 passengers and crew plunged to their death.

On the 8th of March, 2014, Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 disappeared while flying from Malaysia to China, and was never located – nor were the passengers. Many experts think that it was a plane crash.

Only months later, in July of 2014, Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 was shot down on its path from Amsterdam to Malaysia while flying over Ukraine. All 283 passengers and 15 crew on board died. But there is a theory, that it was not a downing, but a plane crash.

Media: Joint investigation team gets information on MH17 crash from Ukraine that responds for not closing closed air space

Urdupoint.com published an article with a quotation of the Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov that "the Joint Investigation Team (JIT) receives many materials on the 2014 Malaysian Airlines MH17 crash over eastern Ukraine from Kiev, while it is to blame for the unclosed air space".

He also claimed that Russia has never been invited to become a member of investigating bodies despite the readiness of Moscow to contribute to the investigation of this tragedy.

Russia does not have the possibility to assess the credibility and quality of materials that JIT receives from Ukraine.

Ukraine is often blamed for not closing the air space over the combat zone in 2014.

Investigating Countries Fail To Request MH17 Crash Info From German Detective

Neither the Netherlands nor Malaysia have timely asked German detective Josef Resch to provide information about the 2014 Malaysian Airlines MH17 crash over eastern Ukraine, and the detective is therefore withdrawing his offer to disclose the evidence related to the case, Resch's lawyer said.

The detective, who has been carrying out his own probe into the MH17 crash since 2014, has said that he knows the Names of persons responsible for the crash and has some other information that the Dutch-led Joint Investigation Team (JIT) allegedly ignores. Resch has also said later that he will disclose the information only if the JIT, Dutch prosecutors and "possibly created by that time a Malaysian investigative committee" confirm officially by October 18 that the disclosure will be made in presence of global media and interested parties.

"I tell you on behalf of my client that no one has used the opportunity, provided by my client, to reveal the evidence. No statement has been received in the period of time that he has outlined, neither from the JIT, nor from the Dutch prosecution, nor from the Malaysian investigative committee, nor from any other agency.

"This deadline has expired," the lawyer said in a letter, stressing that Resch believes that investigators are not interested in learning the truth and is therefore withdrawing his proposal.

The lawyer went on to say that on October 18 his client received an e-mail from a Dutch journalist, working for De Telegraaf newspaper, in which the journalist said that the prosecution did not accept the conditions outlined by Resch.

"I am authorized to say, on behalf of my client, that such communication is not acceptable," the lawyer added.

EU Leaders Call For Cooperation MH17 Crash Investigation

The European Council called on all states to cooperate with investigators probing the deadly crash of Malaysian Boeing MH17 in eastern Ukraine.

"With reference to the conclusions of 20 June 2019, the European Council reiterates its full support for all efforts to establish truth, justice and accountability for the victims of the downing of MH17 and their next of kin and calls on all States to cooperate fully with the ongoing investigation in accordance with UNSC Resolution 2166," the council said in its conclusions on the first day of the summit late on Thursday.

The resolution the council was referring to calls for a thorough and independent international probe into the crash.

The flight MH17 crashed with 298 people on board on July 17, 2014, in eastern Ukraine, while en route to Kuala Lumpur from Amsterdam, leaving no survivors. Ukraine and self-proclaimed republics in Ukraine's southeast have blamed each other for the downing of Malaysia Airlines plane.

MH17: how will the Netherlands investigate the implication of Ukraine in a plane crash?

The Parliament of the Netherlands wants to find out the role of Kyiv in the downing of MH17 flight on July 2014

Lawmakers of the Dutch Parliament want the Government to find reasons why Ukraine did not close the air space above the combat zone. Some politicians including a member of the Christian Democratic Party Chris van Dam stated that Kyiv should give explanations why the airspace over the territory where several airplanes have been previously brought down was not closed.

A decision to conduct an investigation was made in spite of the opinion of the Dutch Foreign Minister Stef Blok that there are not enough grounds for starting a case. It is possible that he does not want to turn to Russia. Earlier there were attempts to lay the blame upon Moscow based on unverified information.

A decision to conduct an investigation was made in spite of the opinion of the Dutch Foreign Minister Stef Blok that there are not enough grounds for starting a case. It is possible that he does not want to turn to Russia. Earlier there were attempts to lay the blame upon Moscow based on unverified information.

Over four years international community ignored the report of the Dutch Safety Board published in October 2015 that Ukrainian powers did not do enough to protect civil aviation from weapon systems that were used in this conflict.

It was found out during the investigation that authorities closed the airspace from July 14 to the FL320 level (9750 meters). The route of MH17 passed at the FL330 level (10050 meters). When it comes to the aviation issues, 300 meters do not guarantee that the plane can pass through the area with no consequences.

This means that Kyiv did not pay enough attention to security problems. The reason could have been a wish of concerned parties not to lose income (over 200 million dollars annually) for the transit of foreign planes.

An attempt to find additional reasons of a plane crash is a great step in this search of the guilty. This is extremely important for the relatives. Many of them place responsibility on Kyiv. Mother of Bryce Fredriksz, Silene, said that she blames Ukraine for not closing the airspace. Moreover, in 2014 relatives from Germany initiated an appropriate claim to the ECHR. But the hearings last up to now, the content of the suit is classified, proceedings are hidden from prosecutors, their lawyers and the publicity.

The investigation of the disaster can last for many years. Whoever has pushed the button, part of the blame still rests on Ukraine. In accordance with international standards the authorities had to provide the safety of flights but they did not. That has been proved be the Dutch Safety Board.

To my mind there are enough reasons to start an investigation to to find out the role of Kyiv in the downing of MH17. Ukraine has to bear responsibility for not closing the airspace above the fighting zone.

The Joint Investigation Team seems to ignore obvious things and that shows the partiality of the investigation.

Dutch PM and Morrison promise MH17 justice

Australia and the Netherlands "will not rest" until they feel justice has been served over the downing of Malaysian Airlines flight MH17, the Dutch prime minister says.

Mark Rutte met Prime Minister Scott Morrison in Sydney on Wednesday with the 2014 MH17 disaster topping the agenda alongside talks on two-way trade.

The international team investigating the downing of the flight announced in June murder charges against three Russians and one Ukrainian for their alleged roles in the attack, which killed all 298 people on board including 38 Australians.

Mr Rutte said it could take many years to bring the responsible to justice but Australia, the Netherlands and their partners were "absolutely adamant" they would get the job done.

"But I can guarantee you one thing: that we will not rest before we all feel a sense that justice has been done."

Mr Morrison said they would stand "shoulder to shoulder" to pursue justice "for as long as it takes".

"That is the very least we owe to those who were murdered on that night and all of their families who have survived and so today we have reaffirmed our commitment to that task," he said.

Dutch government urged to look at role of Ukraine in MH17 disaster

Dutch MPs have urged foreign minister Stef Blok to look again at the role of Ukraine in the MH17 plane disaster, particularly at why Ukrainian air space had not been closed.

During a debate on the tragedy, in which 298 people died, MPs called on Blok to find out why the Malaysia Airlines plane was able to fly over Ukraine even though there was serious fighting in the east. The Dutch safety board said in 2015 there had been enough reason to close airspace.

The plane, carrying mainly Dutch nationals, was brought down by a Russian made Buk missile over eastern Ukraine in July 2014.

According to the Parool, the government has been reluctant to ask Ukraine difficult questions because it is an ally and closely involved in the investigation into what happened.

Unlike Russia, Ukraine is not being held partly responsible for the disaster.

But the close relationship between Ukraine and the Netherlands has been soured since Kiev returned a possible witness to Russia as part of a prisoner exchange scheme.

Russian-Dutch-Australian meeting on MH17 crash is to take place by the end of 2019

Australian Ambassador Graeme Meehan said, the next Australian-Russian-Dutch meeting on the 2014 crash of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 in eastern Ukraine may take place before the end of 2019, .

"There is still no precise date, but it is possible that the meeting will take place before the end of the year," the diplomat said.

The Malaysian Airlines Boeing 777 crashed on July 17, 2014 in eastern Ukraine while en route to Kuala Lumpur from Amsterdam. All 298 people aboard, mostly Dutch citizens, Malaysians and Australians, were killed. Kiev and the self-proclaimed republics in Ukraine's easternmost Donbas region, where the plane crashed, have exchanged blame for the incident.

The investigation into the MH17 crash is being conducted by Dutch prosecutors and the Dutch-led Joint Investigation Team.

Dutch prime minister is to visit Australia

Finding justice for the families of those killed in the downing of Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 will be atop the agenda when the Dutch prime minister visits Australia next week.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison will welcome Mark Rutte down under from October 9 to 11.

Their discussions will focus on two-way trade and international efforts to deliver justice to the families of MH17 victims, five years after the flight was shot down over Ukraine, killing everyone on board.

Aviation expert: MH370 was brought down by highly qualified person

A British aviation expert says missing MH370 was taken out of the sky by a "highly qualified" person who had advanced flight skills.

Independent experts believe that the Malaysia Airlines plane was taken off course and deliberately crashed into the remote sea by its captain Zaharie Ahmad Shah.

One recent report claimed the captain was depressed and had locked his co-pilot out of the cockpit before taking the plane on a suicide mission that killed all 239 people on board.

David Learmount, a British pilot and aviation commentator, said only a person with a lot of training and an intimate knowledge of that type of plane could seize control of the aircraft.

Mr Learmount, consulting editor at FlightGlobal said: “It was a highly qualified human being, well-trained in the workings of the 777 who did this.”

The person behind the controls when the plane was turned around would have known about dead zones in air traffic control, he added.

The plane is believed to have crashed in the southern Indian Ocean after it was taken off course during a flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing in March 2014.

The plane flew for hours before it ended up in the sea.