MOSCOW, July 21 (RIA Novosti) – The Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 crashed within the operating zone of the Ukrainian army’s self-propelled, medium-range surface-to-air Buk missile systems, the Russian military said Monday.
"The flight scheme indicates that the plane’s route and possible point of destruction fall into the operational range of Buk air defense systems deployed by the Ukrainian armed forces,” Lt. Gen. Andrei Kartapolov, the head of the Main Operations Directorate of the HQ of Russia’s military forces, said during a media conference in Moscow.
The Russian military published some of the data gathered as part of the probe into the July 17 Boeing crash during the briefing.
Russian monitoring systems detected up to four Ukrainian Buk M1 air defense systems in the crash area on the day of the accident, the Russian general said.
“Why would the Ukrainian military deploy this weaponry…if, as we all know, the armed militia [in eastern Ukraine] does not have aircraft?” the general queried.
Kartapolov also said the intensity of Ukrainian air defense system radar stations increased dramatically on the day of the MH17 crash.
Malaysia Airlines Flight Boeing-777 flying from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur crashed near the town of Torez in Donetsk Region on Thursday, killing all the 283 passengers and 15 crew members on board.
Ukrainian government and militia have been trading blame for the alleged downing of the airliner ever since reports suggested foul play, with independence supporters saying they have no required technology to shoot a target at altitude of 10 kilometers (6.2 miles).
Buk is a family of medium-range surface-to-air missile systems designed by the Soviet Union and Russia to engage targets at the altitude of 11 to 25 kilometers (6.8 to 15.5 miles).
Commenting on the crash, Russian President Vladimir Putin said it was vital to abstain from hasty conclusions on the case before the international investigation was over.
The UN Security Council late on Sunday night completed the text of its resolution regarding the Malaysia Airlines crash. Russia introduced its own draft resolution to the UN Security Council calling for an impartial investigation into the circumstances of the crash.