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Ukrainian pilot suspected of shooting down MH17 found dead

The Ukrainian pilot Vladislav Voloshin, whom his colleague Yevgeny Agapov had accused of involvement in the shooting down of flight MH17, has been found dead.

Published: March 20, 2018, 8:53 am

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    Western mainstream media sources maintain that Voloshin was accused by Russia of the deed, but in fact the allegations came from an Ukrainian colleague of his.

    As reported by Ukrainian media, Voloshin shot himself from a Makarov pistol in Nikolaev. According to a press release by police in the southern Ukrainian city of Mykolaiv, the pilot’s wife heard the gunshot and called the emergency services, but her husband succumbed to his wounds on route to hospital.

    The pilot was shot by a Makarov pistol, a standard issue military and police side arm in Ukraine, the police said. A criminal investigation has been launched, and the weapon has been sent for forensic examination.

    According to the relatives of the deceased, in recent days Voloshin was in a “depressed state, spoke about troubles at work and sounded generally quite despondent” suggesting that he might have committed suicide. But a criminal case was launched in accordance with Part 1 of Art. 115 of the Criminal Code’s “Intentional homicide” – an article chosen because of the peculiarities of the investigation procedure.

    Since January 2018, Voloshin has headed the Mykolaiv International Airport. Also known as Nikolaev Airport, in the Mykolaiv Oblast of Ukraine, it is one of the largest and most technically equipped airports in the South of Ukraine.

    The MH17 disaster on July 17, 2004, in which 298 mostly Dutch people died, has been blamed on Russia.

    Two days after the tragedy, Voloshin was awarded the Order of Courage of the Ukrainian air force.

    In June 2015, Russia’s Investigative Committee announced it had proof that MH17 was shot down by a Ukrainian Air Force SU-25 piloted by Voloshin. The basis for the claim was testimony from Evgeny Agapov, a Ukrainian citizen who said he had been working as a military aviation mechanic.

    Although the Investigative Committee’s claim contradicts previous Russian versions as well as the later theory put forth by Almaz-Antey, Russian state media TASS also reported on it.

    According to the testimony of Agapov, who later escaped to Russia, the Boeing 777 aircraft was allegedly shot down by an Su-25 of the Ukrainian Air Force, piloted by the aforementioned pilot: “A combat mission was carried out from an airfield in the city of Dnipropetrovsk.” According to his testimony, he personally saw how Voloshin’s aircraft was equipped with air-to-air missiles of the R-60 type before departure, which the Su-25 is not normally equipped with.

    German investigative journalist Billy Six interviewed 100 witnesses directly in the area, seven of whom said they saw a fighter jet.

    Six told The Express: “One of them even told me how he saw it launch a missile. It was like a small line in the sky going into the clouds. Then he heard the big boom.”

    He himself believes two jets shot actually down MH17 – one firing a canon from the back into the cockpit to destroy the crew, while the other fired an air-to-air missile.

    Private investigator Sergey Sokolov, who deployed more than 100 of his agents to investigate the site and examine evidence, said they found no shrapnel from a Buk missile.

    The R60 missile, an “air-to-air” weapon, was developed in 1967 and has a specific empennage and solid-propellant engine with an infrared self-guided head. The R60 is equipped with proximity fuzes, as the blasting of the missile takes place at a distance of 5 to 2,5 meters from the target. Projectiles are wolfram wire or bars.

    It has a practical flight range of 10 to 12 kilometers and is used on all the types of fighter jets and on hedgehoppers. For the last 10 years this armament has not been in service with the Russian army, since the manufacturing of missile has been shout down, the special pylons for the missile sling are not used and are not manufactured.

    Agapov went to the Кomsomolskaya Pravda Editorial office on his own to tell his story.

    The Dutch government has refused to reveal details of a secret deal between members of the Joint Investigation Team examining the wreckage of MH17.

    The Dutch magazine Elsevier had made a request for disclosure to the Dutch Ministry of Security and Justice under the Freedom of Information Act, in order to view the Joint Investigation Team (JIT) agreement, along with 16 other documents.

    The four countries in the JIT – the Netherlands, Belgium, Australia and Ukraine – refused.

    Speaking to Sputnik News about the suspected suicide, analyst Bogdan Bezpalko said “one cannot help but think that the other side may have eliminated him as a dangerous witness who could have lifted the veil of secrecy over the downing of MH17, which would subsequently strengthen Russia’s position”.

    According to the political scientist, “it’s quite obvious that it was not in Russia’s interest to shoot down this plane, and that all this was a provocation directed against our country”.

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