Canberra: New footage emerged on Friday reportedly showing pro-Russian rebels at the site of the Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 crash last year in eastern Ukraine after they realised they had shot down a commercial airliner. The 17-minute video exclusively obtained by News Corp Australia shows the Ukrainian insurgents arriving at the site after believing they had had shot down a government fighter jet. The new footage was shot by the rebels themselves on a camcorder.
Speaking in both Russian and Ukrainian, they sieve through the personal belongings of the dead passengers, toss numerous other bags and make a piled collection of phones and other goods. The militia unit commander on site takes a call from headquarters and is told there were two planes, he then orders all civilians to be cleared from the area and all filming to stop, fearing it could end up on the internet. He then instructs his men to fan out and retrieve the black box flight recorders and put everything in his car. The commander can be heard, off camera, saying: “They say the Sukhoi (fighter) brought down the civilian plane and ours brought down the fighter.”
“But where is the Sukhoi? There it is… It’s the passenger plane.” Later he is shown an ID card belonging to an air stewardess. “You see, they are foreigners, Malaysians,” he says. The unidentified commander receives numerous phone calls from people believed to include Ruslan, a rebel military commander from Donetsk, Vladimir Antyufeyev, former Russian policeman-turned-Donetsk rebel political leader, and Kalyian, a rebel commander from the equally-embattled province of Luhansk. “Who’s opened a corridor for them to fly over here?” another rebel asks. “There are birds everywhere, here’s one, here’s another. Where from? There’s another bird there.”
The exotic colourful birds were part of the MH17 cargo consignment flying to Malaysia. The footage has already prompted horrified responses from Australia’s political leaders. Memorial services are being held in the Ukrainian capital Kiev as well as Malaysia, Australia and two in the Netherlands whose citizens made up more than half of those aboard the flight. On July 17, 2014, 298 passengers and crew, including 38 Australians, died aboard the Kuala Lumpur-bound commercial flight after it was shot down over eastern Ukraine’s Donetsk region, 40 km from the Russian border.