The program contradicts the official verdict of the Dutch Safety Board and intimates that the flight may have been brought down by a Ukrainian fighter jet.
An upcoming BBC documentary, due to air early next month, will explore the possibility that Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 was downed not by a missile, but by a Ukrainian fighter jet. The program The Conspiracy Files: Who Shot Down MH17? is due to be broadcast on BBC 2 on May 3 and has already proved to be controversial.
The documentary will feature accounts from witnesses whose claims will directly contradict the official final report released by the Dutch Safety Board in October. This document stated that MH17 crashed after a surface-to-air missile exploded to the left of the aircraft in July 2014, killing all 298 passengers on board.
While Russian-backed separatists have been blamed for the plane’s demise, the Russian government has denied any involvement. It even used its powers of veto at the UN to block a resolution that would have initiated tribunal proceedings to determine the exact cause of the crash.
However, the debut of the documentary has been praised by some. Russian news agency TASS reported that senior Russian politician Alexey Pushkov tweeted, “There will be a BBC film that can bring closer the truth on the downed Boeing. The false masks start coming off.”
An initial report by Dutch investigators released in 2014 indicated that MH17 disintegrated in the air after having been hit by “a large number of high-energy objects that penetrated the aircraft from outside.”
However, in its official statement on the documentary, the BBC said that “There are eyewitness accounts of other aircraft seen flying next to MH17 close to impact … To further fuel the conspiracies, Russia and Ukraine blame each other but both countries are unable to provide all the critical radar data from that day.”
The broadcaster goes on to clarify that, “Family members do not trust the official explanations and there is a long way to go to bring about justice for the victims. This program tracks down eyewitnesses, and speaks with secret intelligence sources to try to sort fact from fiction.”
[Photo: An armed pro-Russian separatist stands on part of the wreckage of the Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 plane after it crashed near the settlement of Grabovo in the Donetsk region, July 17, 2014. REUTERS/Maxim Zmeyev]