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Russia says ‘serious doubts’ about goal of Dutch MH17 probe

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Moscow: Russia today said it had “serious doubts” about the goal of a Dutch inquiry into the downing of a Malaysia Airline plane over rebel-held eastern Ukraine last year.

The Russian foreign ministry reeled off a litany of perceived problems with the Dutch-led investigation, saying the work on it should continue.

“There remain serious doubts whether the genuine goal of an investigation conducted in the Netherlands is the establishment of true reasons behind the catastrophe and not a justification of accusations that have been put forward in advance,” a foreign ministry spokeswoman said.

Air crash investigators concluded Tuesday that Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 was shot down by a Russian-made BUK missile fired from war-torn eastern Ukraine last year, killing all 298 people on board.

The Dutch-led inquiry did not say who was responsible, however.

Earlier in the day the Russian maker of BUK missiles, Almaz-Antey sought to discredit the findings of the inquiry.

The Russian foreign ministry spokeswoman, Maria Zakharova, said in a statement that the foreign investigators had ignored the findings by Almaz-Antey and had not come to Russia to look into the company’s conclusions despite being invited.

“Russia experts never got access to all the materials of the investigation,” she added, reeling off a list of other issues.

Russian experts will carefully study the Dutch inquiry in detail, Zakharova added, saying the investigation should be continued.

“Naturally, we are ready for this work,” she said.

Moscow also pointed out that Ukrainian authorities should have closed the air space over eastern Ukraine where government forces have been fighting pro-Kremlin rebels.

Ukraine and the West have charged that the passenger plane was shot down by a missile provided to rebels by Russia. Moscow has denied the claims.