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Mass media coverage of MH17 disaster biased

Based on reports in the mass media, including Thai sources of information, regarding the catastrophe of Malaysian AirlinesFlight MH17, we would like to share the following.

It was a terrible tragedy that has happened in the Ukrainian skies. A lot of innocent people perished. We express our deepest condolences to the relatives of the victims. Russia is ready to do everything possible within its power to ensure complete, transparent and impartial international investigation, as repeatedly stated by the Russian president. We believe understanding freedom of the press is one of the most necessary tools to help do this. But judging from the reports of various Western information agencies, including those published in your newspaper with regard to the MH17 tragedy, we regretfully feel that their aim is not to inform the public objectively. They demonstrate a clearly one-sided approach.

Even before receiving any results from an international investigation they are pointing fingers at the "guilty" side, and making baseless statements with references to "unnamed sources" that Russia is directly responsible.

At the same time, other sources of information that provide different points of view are not even mentioned.

These facts include in particular the objective control data of the air and ground situation in Ukraine before and at the time of the MH17 crash, as presented by the Russian defence ministry during its recent press briefing. Satellite-made ground images and radar control data prove the following:

_ MH17 was supposed to fly within an international airway corridor. The aircraft followed the specified air corridor to Donetsk, then deviated from the route to north. Was it a navigation error or did the aircrew follow the Dnepropetrovsk ground-control orders? The truth should be revealed by the "black boxes" and communication decoding.

_ On the day of the accident, the Ukrainian Armed Forces deployed three or four artillery battalions of the Buk-M1 missile system not far from Donetsk. The system can hit targets at a distance of up to 35 kilometres and at an altitude of 22km. The reason for this deployment is not understood, since the militants don't have aircraft. Both the projected impact point and the airway are inside the air-defence battle zone of the Ukrainian Armed Forces' Buk-M1 missile system.

_ Russian air control detected a Ukrainian Air Force aircraft, possibly an Su-25, moving upward toward the MH17. The distance between the two aircraft was 3-5km. An Su-25 can gain an altitude of 10,000 metres in a short time. It is armed with R-60 air-to-air missiles able to lock on to and destroy targets at a distance of 12km, and destroy it definitely at a distance of 5km.

What was the mission of the combat aircraft in the airway of civilian aircraft almost at the same time and the same altitude as the civilian craft? This question should be answered.

We think the mass media should be more precise in publishing information and refrain from finger-pointing and rapid conclusions before the results of investigations.

Public Relations Section

Russian Embassy

Bangkok


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