Malaysia’s Mahathir says Russia being made a scapegoat for downing of MH17

Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad said he did not think the Russians were involved in the downing of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17. (AFP)
Updated 20 June 2019

Malaysia’s Mahathir says Russia being made a scapegoat for downing of MH17

  • ‘We are very unhappy, because from the very beginning it was a political issue on how to accuse Russia of the wrongdoing’
  • MH17 was shot out of the sky on July 17, 2014, over territory held by pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad said on Thursday Russia is being made a scapegoat for the downing of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 and questioned the objectivity of the investigations into the 2014 disaster.
The international investigative team set up to probe the crash said on Wednesday three Russians and one Ukrainian will face murder charges for the deaths of 298 people aboard the flight that was shot down over eastern Ukraine.
“We are very unhappy, because from the very beginning it was a political issue on how to accuse Russia of the wrongdoing,” Mahathir told reporters at a government event.
“Even before they examine, they already said Russia. And now they said they have proof. It is very difficult for us to accept that.”
MH17 was shot out of the sky on July 17, 2014, over territory held by pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine as it was flying from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur. Everyone on board was killed.
The Dutch-led international team named the four suspects as Russians Sergey Dubinsky, Oleg Pulatov and Igor Girkin, and Ukrainian Leonid Kharchenko. It said international arrest warrants for the four had been issued.
Dutch Chief Prosecutor Fred Westerbeke said the suspects were believed to be responsible for bringing a Russian-made missile into eastern Ukraine “with the aim to shoot down an airplane.”
Russia has said it regretted the crash investigation findings and called the murder charges against Russian suspects groundless.
Mahathir said he did not think the Russians were involved and that the investigative team’s findings were based on “hearsay.”
“I expect everybody to go for the truth,” he said.


Suicide bomber kills 18 in Afghan capital

Updated 24 October 2020

Suicide bomber kills 18 in Afghan capital

  • There has been an upsurge in violence between Taliban and Afghan forces in the country
  • The US signed a peace deal with the Taliban in February, opening up a path toward withdrawing American troops from the conflict

KABUL: A suicide bomber struck near an education centre in the Afghan capital on Saturday, killing at least 18 people in the latest attack to rock the conflict-wracked country.
Violence on the ground has spiked in recent weeks despite the Taliban and the Afghan government holding peace talks in Qatar to end the country's grinding war.
The suicide attack, which also wounded 57, happened late afternoon at the centre, which offers training and courses for students in higher education in a western district of Kabul.
"A suicide bomber wanted to enter the education centre," Tareq Arian, spokesman for the interior ministry, said in a statement.
"But he was identified by the centre's guards after which he detonated his explosives in an alley."
He said the attack had left at least 18 people dead and 57 wounded.
"I was standing about 100 metres from the centre when a big blast knocked me down," said local resident Ali Reza, who had gone to hospital with his cousin who was wounded in the blast.
"Dust and smoke was all around me. All those killed and wounded were students who wanted to enter the centre."
Daesh claimed responsibility for the attack.
Residents in several districts of western Kabul belong to the minority Shiite Hazara community, often targeted by Daesh militants. 
In the past, extremists have targeted several education centres and other facilities in the area.
In May, a group of gunmen launched a brazen daylight attack on a hospital in west Kabul that left several mothers dead. The gunmen were shot dead after hours of fighting with security forces.