A year to the day after Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 was shot down over Ukraine, an Australian news organization released a video purporting to show pro-Russian separatists walking amid the wreckage, expressing increasing dismay as item after item indicates that the aircraft was a passenger jet.
The video, whose authenticity has not been independently verified, was released on Friday by News Corp Australia, which did not say how it had obtained it. Thirty-eight Australian citizens and permanent residents were among the 298 people killed on the flight, and the video emerged on the day a memorial to them was dedicated in Canberra, the capital.
Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said she could not confirm that the video was authentic, but she told the Nine Network that the footage was “sickening to watch” and called it “deeply concerning” that it only emerged a year after the crash.
American and NATO officials say Russian-backed rebels shot down the Boeing 777, which was traveling to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, from Amsterdam, with a Russian surface-to-air missile as it flew over eastern Ukraine. The insurgents have denied responsibility.
An investigation led by the Netherlands, the nation that lost the most citizens in the downing, will probably also blame the rebels when it is released, according to leaked descriptions of its draft reports. Russia has argued against the creation of a criminal tribunal, which Australia, Belgium, Malaysia, the Netherlands and Ukraine have backed.
The newly released video shows smoking debris shortly after the crash and the reaction of the rebels as they examine it. Images of bodies are pixelated out, and English subtitles are provided for what News Corp says is the men’s Russian and Ukrainian speech.
“Is there another plane?” one man asks as he walks over charred debris, adding later: “This is passenger.”
“Malaysia,” a voice says. “Foreigners.”
“Who gave them the corridor?” a man asks, apparently referring to the plane’s flight path and asking why it had been approved.
The men emphasize the need to keep civilians from the site and to find the plane’s voice and flight data recorders. At one point, an image of a dead parrot appears, one of a few exotic birds the plane was carrying.
The 17-minute footage includes images of an identification badge with the letters KLIA, the abbreviation for Kuala Lumpur International Airport.
Later, a man in camouflage opens a backpack and pulls out the contents. “This is clothes,” a voice says. Another baggage tag is examined closely, then a man says, “Australia.”
Paul Guard, an Australian who lost his parents on Flight 17, told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation that he had no strong emotional reaction to the footage.
“It was a war zone, it was a crash site, there were people trying to work out what had happened,” Mr. Guard said. “I don’t read too much more into that video myself.” – Austin Ramzy
New Footage Emerges of MH17 Crash
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