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MH17 probe 'biased', Moscow 'disappointed': foreign ministry

[MOSCOW] Moscow on Wednesday described as "biased" and "politically motivated" the Dutch-led inquiry into the downing of Flight MH17 over eastern Ukraine, which concluded the plane was shot down by a missile transported from Russia.

"Russia is disappointed that the situation around the investigation of the Boeing catastrophe is not changing," foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said in a statement.

"The conclusions of Dutch prosecutors confirm that the investigation is biased and politically motivated," she said.

She accused the Joint Investigative Taskforce of "arbitrarily designating a guilty party and inventing the desired results."

The taskforce presented its findings on Wednesday after a two-year investigation into the crash of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 in conflict-torn eastern Ukraine, which killed all 298 people on board in July 2014.

The conclusion did not assign blame but said the Boeing 777 was shot down by a BUK missile system from an area in eastern Ukraine controlled by pro-Russian separatists, and that the system was brought in from Russia and then taken back there.

The ministry statement said the taskforce "excluded Moscow from fully participating in the investigation process" while embracing Ukraine as a "full member of the JIT" and giving Kiev an opportunity to "falsify evidence and twist the case in its favour".

"Russia is practically the only (party) that sends true information and discloses more and more new data," the statement said.

Yet the "whole 'body of evidence' of the Dutch prosecutors was provided by Ukraine," it said.

The taskforce said Wednesday that Moscow had only provided part of the information that it had requested.

Russia's defence ministry on Monday released what it claimed were new radar images showing that there was no missile fired from rebel-held territory on that day, which contradicted some of its earlier declarations.

Russia's Almaz-Antey missile maker, which produces BUK surface-to-air systems, said in a briefing Wednesday that the inquiry did not include its findings.

The state-controlled firm last October alleged the plane was downed from disputed territory by an outdated version of the BUK missile that is no longer in use by the Russian military.

Dutch prosecutors said they only received Almaz-Antey's data this month and did not find that it outweighed the probe's conclusions.