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Pro-Russian rebel commander acknowledges fighters had BUK missile

3 years ago17 views

reuters

Reuters

A powerful Ukrainian rebel leader confirmed on Tuesday (July 22) that pro-Russian separatists had an anti-aircraft missile of the type Washington says was used to shoot down Malaysia Airlines flight MH17.

In an interview with Reuters, Alexander Khodakovsky, commander of the Vostok Battalion, acknowledged for the first time since the airliner was brought down in eastern Ukraine that the rebels did possess the BUK missile system and said it could have been sent back subsequently to remove proof of its presence.

Before the Malaysian plane was shot down, rebels had boasted of obtaining the BUK missiles, which can shoot down airliners at cruising height. But since the disaster the separatists' main group, the self-proclaimed People's Republic of Donetsk, has repeatedly denied ever having possessed such weapons.

Since the airliner crashed with the loss of all 298 on board, the most contentious issue has been who fired the missile that brought the jet down in an area where g