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Russian officials reveal their witness in the Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 case

Russian federal investigators have revealed a primary witness in the case of the MH17 crash.

According to officials, Ukrainian citizen and Air Force mechanic Evgeny Agapov told investigators that a Ukrainian SU-25 fighter jet departed for a combat mission on the day of the MH17 crash. According to Agapov, the fighter jet returned after its ammunition had been emptied.

The name of this witness had been kept a secret until now. The Investigative Committee reports that Agapov crossed the border into Russia and voluntarily began helping Russian investigators. He is currently under police protection.

The Investigative Committee also reports that the conclusions announced by the Russian missile manufacturer Almaz-Antei are of interest to the investigation and will be included in the case files. (Almaz-Antei claimed at a press conference on June 2 that a Buk M1 missile was responsible for shooting down MH17 from a position in the village Zaroshchenskoe.)

"His testimony was thoroughly checked by investigators, and a polygraph test was administered. Since confirmations of the witness’s words have been consistently revealed, and since [politically] engaged media have expressed their doubts about the existence of this witness, at this point we have decided to disclose information about him," said a spokesperson for the Investigative Committee.

Russia’s Federal Investigative Committee

Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 crashed on July 17, 2014, in eastern Ukraine's Donetsk region. All 298 people onboard were killed.

In December 2014, the Russian newspaper Komsomolskaya Pravda published an interview with a person who had allegedly seen Ukrainian SU-25 fighter jets in eastern Ukraine. According to the man, one of the planes returned without its ammunition, and pilot Vladislav Voloshin appeared extremely anxious, claiming that he had ended up at the wrong place at the wrong time.

Experts have said there is no possibility that a SU-25 fighter jet could have shot down the Boeing. SU-25 design engineer Vladimir Babak says the SU-25 is slower than a Boeing, cannot operate at the height of a Boeing’s flight, and does not carry warheads strong enough to down such a large aircraft in the manner of MH17's crash.

The final results of the Dutch-led investigation into the crash have not yet been disclosed, but media reports claim that missile fragments matching Russian-made Buk M1-2 warheads were found at the crash site. The Russian Ministry of Defense and Russia’s air-defense systems manufacturer Almaz-Antei refute these claims.

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