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US slams "preposterous" Russian MH17 photos that blame Ukraine

The images were broadcast on state TV on Friday. Separately, more bone fragments have been found today by workers clearing the crash site.

THE US GOVERNMENT has dismissed as “preposterous” photos released by Russian state TV which purport to show a Ukrainian fighter jet shooting down Malaysia Airlines Flight 17.

Online commentators have also called the photo a crude fake.

The photo, released on Friday by Russia’s Channel One and Rossiya TV stations purportedly shows a Ukrainian fighter plane firing an air-to-air missile in the direction of the MH17.

The channels said they got the photo from a Moscow-based organization, which had received it via email from man who identified himself as an aviation expert.

Several bloggers said the photograph was a forgery, citing a cloud pattern to prove the photo dates back to 2012, and several other details that seem incongruous.

Channel One – Screengrab


Some saw the photo as a propaganda effort intended to deflect criticism over the tragedy that Russian President Vladimir Putin faced as he attended the Group of 20 summit in Brisbane, Australia.

Putin was the first leader to depart the summit Sunday.

He told reporters that he left ahead of a final leaders’ lunch because he wanted to rest before returning to work.


Separately, workers in rebel-controlled eastern Ukraine began to collect debris from the crash site today, four months after the plane was brought down.

The operation is being carried out under the supervision of Dutch investigators and officials from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe.

The recovered fragments are to be loaded onto trains and taken to the government-controlled eastern Ukrainian city of Kharkiv.

The investigation into the cause of the crash is being conducted there and in the Netherlands.

Source: AP/Press Association Images

Alexander Kostrubitsky, the head of the emergency services in the rebel-held areas of Donetsk region, said at the site that gathering debris could take around 10 days.

The debris is being sawn into smaller pieces to facilitate its transportation, Kostrubitsky said.

All 298 people aboard the Boeing 777 flying from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur were killed when it was shot down July 17 over a rebel-held area.

Charred remains of the aircraft are scattered around fields over an area of 20 square kilometers.

The first batch of plane debris was delivered from an area near the village of Hrabove to a lumber warehouse in the town of Torez shortly after lunchtime today.

They were due to be put onto cargo trains later in the day.

Source: AP/Press Association Images

Efforts to conduct investigations and recovery operations have been delayed amid continued fighting between government troops and separatist fighters.

A truce was agreed in September, but hostilities have raged on nonetheless.

Ukraine and the West have blamed the downing of the MH17 flight on Russia-backed separatists using a ground-to-air missile.

Dutch authorities said in late October that 289 victims of the crash had been identified.

They said work on concluding the identification process was hampered by lack of usable DNA profiles and because not all remains had been collected from the crash site.

At the wreckage site, Kostrubitsky said more bone fragments were discovered today after part of the plane was lifted away.

Reporting by AFP. Edited by Daragh Brophy.

- © AFP 2014.

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