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Russia Demands Release of Satellite Images That the U.S. Released 4 Years Ago

Ukraine -- A satellite image shows the crash site of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 in Ukraine
Ukraine -- A satellite image shows the crash site of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 in Ukraine
Maria Zakharova

Maria Zakharova

Press secretary, Russian Foreign Ministry

"It is also worth mentioning that the United States has not provided satellite images, the presence of which was announced immediately after the [MH17] catastrophe."

U.S. intelligence released satellite images on July 22, 2014

(UPDATE: Adds confirmation from the JIT)

Russia rejected last week’s announcement by the Dutch investigation committee that held Russia liable for downing MH17 on July 17, 2014, killing all 298 passengers onboard.

MH17 National Monument in Haarlem, Netherlands
MH17 National Monument in Haarlem, Netherlands

The criminal investigation team "has concluded that the Buk Telar (missile) with which Flight MH17 was shot down is from the 53rd anti-aircraft missile brigade from Kursk in the Russian Federation," said Wilbert Paulissen, head of the Netherlands' National Crime Squad.

In response to the report, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova accused the United States of “not providing” satellite images, “the presence of which was announced immediately after the catastrophe.”

Zakharova’s reference to the U.S. is irrelevant, since it is Russia that stands accused of downing a passenger jet and killing nearly 300 people.

Zakharova's accusation is also false.

The head of the Joint Investigative Team (JIT) Fred Westerbeke confirmed in the interview with the Russian independent newspaper Novaya Gazeta, that the United States provided the investigation with the highly classified satellite images from the time and place of the MH17 downing.

"Yes, we have them. My officer who has access to the intelligence materials marked "top secret" and "national secret" saw and analyzed the United States' satellite data," Westerbeke said.

U.S. intelligence also released part of the satellite images data and other evidence of a Russian connection to the downing of MH17 shortly after the incident took place.

The images were widely published and independently analyzed.

“It is time for Russia to cease its lies and account for its role in the shoot down,” said State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert in a statement on May 24.

“Today’s announcement confirms and adds detail to what we have said from the earliest days of this tragedy: MH17 was shot down by a Russian-made BUK surface-to-air missile fired from territory in eastern Ukraine controlled by Russia and Russia-led forces.” has analyzed some of the dozens of “alternative versions” of what happened to MH17 put forward by Russian state officials, lawmakers, public figures and media.