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article imageNo 'facts' to support MH17 charges: Russia's Lavrov

By AFP     May 25, 2018 in World

Russia said Friday the Netherlands had provided no evidence that Moscow was directly behind the 2014 shooting down of flight MH17 over war-torn east Ukraine, accusing the Dutch of promoting their own agenda.

"Dutch Foreign Minister Stef Blok called me today," Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told reporters in Saint Petersburg.

"They have practically no doubt that the BUK missile came from Russia. I asked him about facts proving these claims. He did not give me any facts saying they want Russia to help establish them based on unfounded suspicions," said Lavrov.

He accused the Dutch of using the tragedy that claimed the lives of 298 people aboard the Malaysian plane to "achieve their own political goals".

On Thursday, international investigators said for the first time that the Russian-made BUK missile which smashed into the Boeing 777 in mid-air on July 17, 2014 came from a Russian military brigade in Kursk located more than 500 kilometres (300 miles) south of Moscow.

The Dutch government said Friday Russia was directly "responsible" for the downing of the plane, a move which may trigger legal action.

Lavrov compared the claim to the case of former double agent Sergei Skripal who was poisoned with a potent nerve agent along with his daughter Yulia in Britain in March.

London has determined it "highly likely" that Russia was responsible for the attack using a nerve agent developed in the USSR.

Moscow has furiously denied the charges, challenging Britain to provide evidence and mocking the phrase "highly likely".

"This resembles the so-called Skripal case when they said 'highly likely that's the Russians' but Scotland Yard immediately reported that the investigation is continuing. And it has not been completed yet," Lavrov said.

"There is a feeling of deja vu," he said.

"We are still ready to cooperate," he added, saying that information that Russia has supplied should not be ignored or used selectively.

Russian President Vladimir Putin late Thursday repeated calls that Moscow should be included in the investigation team.

Russia has repeatedly said no such weapon ever crossed the Russian-Ukrainian border. It has come up with numerous theories to deflect the blame and pointed the finger at Kiev.

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