Investigators looking into the downing of MH17 have released recordings of phone calls they say are between Ukrainian separatists and top Russian officials.
The international team leading the probe on the attack on the Malaysian Airlines flight in 2014 says the new calls show the degree to which the “leadership” of the breakaway Donetsk People’s Republic was talking to “leaders in Moscow”.
A statement from the team said: “There was almost daily telephone contact between the leadership of the DPR and their contacts in the Russian Federation.
“They spoke with leaders in Moscow, near the border with Ukraine and in Crimea. Communication mostly took place via secure telephones provided by the Russian security service.”
They say the call recordings and the evidence they provide on the extent of the ties between Moscow and the DPR raise questions about the possible involvement of officials in the deployment of the Russian made anti aircraft missile which brought down the flight.
Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 was shot down over eastern Ukraine on 17 July 2014 while flying between Amsterdam and Kuala Lumpur.
All 283 passengers and 15 crew were killed.
The Russians have denied involvement. But the Joint Investigation Team, based in the Netherlands, and a number of other investigating groups, such as Bellingcat, have offered evidence of Russia’s involvement.