Will Stewart, Kieran Corcoran — Daily Mail July 21, 2014
Russia sensationally accused a Ukrainian combat jet of flying close to the Malaysian passenger plane shortly before it crashed in eastern Ukraine killing all 298 people on board.
‘An altitude gain was detected for a Ukrainian combat jet, supposedly a Su-25, flying at a distance of 3-5 kilometers from the Boeing,’ said Lt. Gen. Andrei Kartapolov, the head of the General Staff’s Main Operational Directorate.
The Su-25 ground attack aircraft is capable of destroying air targets at a distance of five kilometres as it carries short-range air-to-air missiles.
‘We would like Kiev to explain why a combat jet was flying almost at the same altitude and the same time with a passenger plane along the route dedicated for civilian air traffic,’ said the general.
Russian military sources also claimed the Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 started losing speed three minutes before it went off radar screens and crashed in eastern Ukraine.
‘The plane began to steadily lose speed at 17.20 and disappeared from radar screens at 17.23,’ alleged Kartapolov. ‘The plane followed the established air corridor until Donetsk and then veered off its course to the north.’
He said the plane, which at one point was as much as 14 kilometres off course, attempted to return to the air corridor but crashed before completing the manoeuvre. Everyone on board – a total of 298 people – was killed as a result.
‘The reason for flying off the course – whether the crew made a navigational error or followed Ukrainian air traffic control commands – can be learned only from flight recorders, known as ‘black boxes’ and from recorded communications of the air traffic control,” he claimed
Kartapolov also said Russian satellite imagery showed Ukraine had moved a BUK weapons system towards rebel positions on the day of the Boeing tragedy.
Kartapolov said on 14 July the BUK system was 8 km away to the North West of Lugansk. Three days later it had moved close to Zaroschenskoe village, some 50 km from Donetsk and 8 km south Shakhtersk.
‘We have a question, why would this weapon go so close to the territory controlled by militia and right before the tragedy? Having photographed the same area next day on 18 July we saw that the weapon had left the area.
He claimed images of the BUK being transported from Russia to Ukraine are fake. ‘This is pure faking of materials,’ he said.
‘The pictures were taken in Krasnoarmeisk town, and it is proved by the banner visible next to the road. It shows the address of the car salon at Dnepropetrovskaya street, block 34. ‘And Krasnoarmeisk has been controlled by the Ukrainian army since 11 May.’
The sensational claims came as the bodies of the victims continued to decompose in refrigerated trains in a town near the crash site, after being tossed onto rubbish trucks and driven there.
Almost 200 victims were piled high in the sweltering heat on eastern Ukraine before being carted off to a refrigerated train after their passenger jet was shot down by a surface-to-air missile.