KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 18 – Malaysians have been warned against accepting wholesale leaked satellite pictures allegedly showing a Ukrainian fighter jet firing at Malaysian Airlines flight MH17. Channel News Asia reported Defence Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein as saying the public should question the contents of the satellite photos released by Russian media.
“What comes out in the social media, I am just telling the public, just be careful because it may not be what it seems. “The Malaysian government is not in the business of looking at what could have happened or what may have happened. We just want to know the truth. We want justice for MH17,” he was quoted as saying.
Many online reports, ranging from the Sydney Morning Herald and the Daily Mail, have been more scathing in their criticism, saying the images were fake. Reuters reported that Bellingcat, a British investigative journalism website, described the photographs as “a crude fabrication”. It highlighted what it said were several inconsistencies, including signs the photos had been partly compiled from historical Google Earth imagery dating from 2012.
Flight MH17 was shot down over Ukrainian airspace on July 17, en route from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur. All 298 on board were killed. Western countries and Ukraine have pinned the blame on pro-Russian separatists, an allegation that Moscow continues to deny.
Channel News Asia reported said Hishammuddin believed that despite criticism from leaders at the G20 meeting in Australia against Russian president Vladimir Putin, Russia was unlikely to expedite recovery of MH17. “Words mean nothing, from our own experience with MH17. If we go on rhetoric and words, we would not have got the black boxes.
“If we went on words and rhetoric, we would not have got the bodies back. We didn’t need Russian co-operation to get the black boxes and the bodies… did we?” The remains of 43 Malaysians on board have been repatriated, but loved ones are still waiting for investigations to reveal the truth of the tragedy. After an extended delay, the Dutch-led investigating team began recovering and removing wreckage from the crash site, which they believe would be vital in determining the cause of the shoot-down.