Investigators of MH17 tragedy confirm daily contact between Russia-occupation forces and Russia's FSB in Donbas

The Joint Investigation Team (JIT) charged with investigating the causes of the crash of flight МН17 claims that representatives of the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) contacted Russian-occupation forces in Donbas daily by telephone on administrative, financial and military issues by telephone daily.

The information appears in the JIT's November 14, 2019 appeal to possible witnesses, published in English and Russian on the Dutch police website. The JIT has based its findings on a number of telephone conversations, which are also made public on the website.

"Recent analysis of information obtained by the JIT, including witness statements by former DPR-members, revealed that Russian influence on the 'DPR' ['Donetsk People's Republic'] went beyond military support. This is supported by recorded telephone calls between the leaders of the DPR and high-ranking Russian officials," JIT's appeal says.

In an appeal to possible witnesses, the JIT said it has information that indicates that the influence of the Russian Federation extended to administrative, financial and military issues of the DPR.

"Details are revealed about secure means of communication used between 'DPR' fighters and Russian officials. The telephone numbers that were used are from the same series and appear to be provided by the Russian security service FSB. These telephone numbers were used on a daily basis to discuss administrative, financial and military matters in the DPR. The JIT wants to know by whom these telephone numbers were used," the JIT appeal says.

In particular, in these conversations, the role of the commander of the Southern Military District of the Russian Federation, General Serdyukov, is mentioned, as is the Russian Defense Minister Shoigu.

JIT said "indications of close ties between Russian government officials and 'DPR' leaders raise questions about their possible involvement in the deployment of the BUK-TELAR, which brought down flight MH17 on 17 July 2014. The JIT already concluded this BUK TELAR originated from the 53rd Anti-Aircraft Missile Brigade, a unit of the Russian armed forces from Kursk in the Russian Federation."

"The JIT is looking for witnesses who can share information about those who commanded the deployment of this BUK-TELAR," the appeal says.

The Malaysian Boeing, flying from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur on flight MH17, was shot down on July 17, 2014 near Donetsk in the zone of the armed conflict in Donbas. All 298 passengers on board were killed.