Sanction-hit missile firm bids to distance itself from MH17

Russian defence manufacturer Almaz-Antey is seeking to relieve European Commission sanctions on the company by putting forward a case that its weapons were not responsible for the loss of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 over Ukraine.

The Commission imposed sanctions on the manufacturer in July last year, two weeks after the destruction of the Boeing 777-200ER.

Dutch investigators have yet to disclose any conclusions about the loss of the aircraft and all those on board.

But Almaz-Antey, which produces the Buk anti-aircraft missile system, is bidding to relieve sanctions against the company by disassociating itself from the destruction of MH17.

The company has issued an internal analysis of the event, claiming to have identified the weapon involved and its probable location, drawing its conclusions from the characteristics of shrapnel damage to the aircraft and trajectory dynamics.

It claims that, if the 777 was brought down by an anti-aircraft missile, it “could only be” a 9M38-M1 rocket originating from a Buk-M1 weapon system, fired from the region of Zaroshchenskoye, between Donetsk and Torez, rather than the area of Snizhne.

Almaz-Antey says that this missile type was discontinued in 1999, before the formation of the company, and that remaining weapons of this type were transferred to "foreign customers". As a result, it says, the sanctions imposed by the European Commission are “baseless and should be dismissed”.