The Russian Investigation Committee released the name of the key witness to the Malaysian Airlines flight that had been downed over eastern Ukraine last year, Russian Investigation Committee spokesman Vladimir Markin said Wednesday.
Markin said that investigators had decided to release the name in light of the numerous media reports that were doubtful of the story's authenticity.
“The [key] witness is a Ukrainian, Evgeniy Agapov, who served as a mechanic in the First Squadron Brigade of Tactical Aviation of the Ukrainian Air Force (Military Unit Number A4465)."
“[Agapov] is currently under state protection," Markin added.
The man, whose name at the time was not disclosed, said that he had seen a Ukrainian air force Su-25 combat jet taking off from an airbase in eastern Dnepropetrovsk carrying air-to-air missiles and returning without them on the day of the MH17 crash.
Following the news, the witness was interviewed by the Russian Investigative Committee.
Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 was downed by a Buk 9М38-М1 guided missile fired from Ukrainian military-controlled territory, Russia's air defense systems manufacturer Almaz-Antey said in a press conference presenting its report on Tuesday.
The investigation into the crash that killed all 298 people on board is headed by the Dutch Safety Board. According to a September preliminary report, the plane was hit by multiple high-energy objects causing it to break up in mid-air. The final report on the crash is due by October 2015.
Kiev forces and Donbass independence supporters have repeatedly blamed each other for the tragedy.
Source: sputniknews.com Photo:AP