Deadly shooting at Pensacola naval base

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF CNN)

 

Deadly shooting at Pensacola naval base

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39 min ago

Sheriff says suspect used a handgun

Escambia County Sheriff David Morgan said that the suspect in the naval station shooting used a handgun in today’s attack.

Morgan would not confirm other information about the shooter including his name or whether a room on campus was raided as part of the ongoing investigation.

38 min ago

Acting Navy Secretary: “These acts are crimes against all of us”

Acting Secretary of the Navy Thomas B. Modly released a statement about the two separate shootings that have occurred at naval bases this week.

Modly’s statement addresses today’s fatal shooting in Pensacola, Florida, as well as Wednesday’s shooting on the Pearl Harbor naval shipyard in Hawaii as well as an incident in Little Creek, Virginia.

“These acts are crimes against all of us,” Modly said in the statement.

Read the full statement below:

“Our entire Navy and Marine Corps team is struck and deeply saddened by the attacks within our own naval family over the past several days, at Little Creek, Virginia last week, Pearl Harbor, Hawaii on Wednesday, and today in Pensacola, Florida. These acts are crimes against all of us. Our prayers are with the families of the fallen and with the wounded. It is our solemn duty to find the causes of such tragic loss and ceaselessly work together to prevent them. Let us make concerted efforts to care for the families of those lost, and those wounded, visibly and not. Let us shepherd them through these first moments of despair, and make them, and our greater Naval family, whole and strong. “

42 min ago

Suspected shooter was in aviation training, official says

The suspected gunman in today’s shooting at Naval Air Station Pensacola in Florida was in aviation training, Capt. Tim Kinsella said at a news conference.

About the shooter: Five US defense officials and another person familiar with the investigation told CNN a member of the Saudi military training at US Naval Air Station in Pensacola is the suspected shooter in today’s incident.

At least four people were killed, including the suspected gunman, in the shooting.

43 min ago

Captain: There was “real heroism” today

Escambia County Sheriff David Morgan said there is going to be a lengthy investigation following today’s shooting.

“You can be proud of your community, and you can be proud of your Navy,” he said.

“We are in recovery mode right now,” Morgan said.

NAS Pensacola Commanding Officer, Captain Tim Kinsella, said he is “in awe” of the responders during the shooting, saying there was “real heroism” today.

“I couldn’t be prouder of the uniform I wear,” Kinsella said.

Pensacola Mayor Grover Robinson said this is a tragic day for the city. “This is a community of great resiliency,” he said. “The city will bounce back and be stronger.”

33 min ago

Florida governor on the shooting: “This is a dark day for a very great place”

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said “this is a dark day for a very great place,” noting he is a Navy veteran.

DeSantis mentioned the suspect’s ties to the Saudi Air Force and said he spoke to the President about this connection.

Authorities are speaking at news conference right now about the shooting.

You can follow along here or watch it live in the video player above.

1 hr 22 min ago

Officials are allowing some personnel to exit the base

Some personnel will be allowed to exit the installation via the west gate, according to posts on the Naval Air Station Pensacola social media accounts.

The base is closed until further notice.

NAS Pensacola@NASPCOLA

All non-essential personnel on the western side of NAS Pensacola main side, including the museum, the airfield, etc, proceed to the west gate to exit the installation. If you are on the east side of the Interior Command Posts on Taylor or Radford, remain sheltered in place.

FBI takes over the shooting investigation

The FBI has taken over investigation into the shooting at the Naval Air Station Pensacola in Florida, according to an FBI spokesperson.

The FBI’s Evidence Response Team has arrived on site and has begun processing the scene, a law enforcement source told CNN.

What we know about the shooting: A total of four people died in the shooting, including the shooter, who has not been identified. Several other people were injured.

Two deputies from Escambia County Sheriff’s Office “negated” the shooter, according to the sheriff. One was shot in the knee and the other in the shoulder, but both are expected to make a full recovery.

1 hr 58 min ago

Saudi national suspected in shooting at Pensacola naval air station

A member of the Saudi military training at US Naval Air Station in Pensacola is the suspected shooter in today’s incident, according to five US defense officials and another person familiar with the investigation.

The investigators are looking into whether it was terror-related, but it is early in the probe.

CNN has reached out to the Saudi embassy in the US and has not heard back.

2 hr 45 min ago

This is the second shooting at a US naval base this week

The fatal shooting at Naval Air Station Pensacola in Florida this morning is the second shooting at an American naval base this week.

On Wednesday, a US sailor killed two civilians and himself at Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard in Hawaii.

Investigators have yet to identify motives in either shooting.

2 hr 21 min ago

Officials will give another update at 1 p.m. ET

The Escambia County Sheriff’s Office will hold another news conference about the shooting at the Naval Air Station in Pensacola, Florida at 1 p.m. ET.

Officials just wrapped up a news conference about the shooting at the Naval Air Station in Pensacola, Florida, this morning.

Here’s what we know so far:

  • The timeline: Escambia County Sheriff David Morgan said officers received notice that there was an active shooter at 6:51 a.m. local time.
  • 3 people and the shooter were killed: A total of four people died in the shooting, including the shooter, who has not been identified.
  • 11 people were shot: Officials said a total of eleven people were shot. Eight of them were transported to a local hospital, where one of them died.
  • Deputies engaged the shooter: Two deputies from Escambia County Sheriff’s Office “negated” the shooter, according to the sheriff. One was shot in the knee and the other in the shoulder, but both are expected to make a full recovery.

What we don’t know: It’s still unclear if the shooter was military personnel. Officials have also declined to answer questions about the weapons used by the shooting and the specific building in which the shooting took place.

3 hr 46 min ago

Sheriff: “Crime scene was like being on the set of a movie”

Escambia County Sheriff David Morgan said they received the call about the active shooter at 7:51 a.m. ET.

The sheriff said they are in the middle of the investigation, and cannot provide much information. However, he said, “walking through the crime scene was like being on the set of a movie.”

The two officers who negated the threat are in the local hospital, both shot in the limbs. They’re expected to recover.

“We do have several deceased and several wounded,” Commanding Officer Captain Tim Kinsella at NAS Pensacola said.

The active shooter has been neutralized. The base is shut down until further notice.

Mayor of Pensacola, Grover Robinson called it a “tragic day” for the city of Pensacola, “We are a military town.” The mayor asked residents to stay away from that side of town.

3 hr 50 min ago

11 people were shot

A total of 11 people were shot this morning at the Naval Air Station in Pensacola.

Four of those are deceased, one of whom was the shooter, Escambia County’s Chief Chip Simmons said.

Eight people were transported to a local hospital, where one of the injured died.

There are currently three others inside the building who are deceased.

Commanding Officer Captain Tim Kinsella at NAS Pensacola said the shooting happened in a classroom building.

3 hr 54 min ago

Sheriff: Deputies engaged the shooter

David Morgan, sheriff of Escambia County, said two deputies engaged the shooter, and “It was a member of the Escambia County Sheriff’s Office that did negate the threat.”

The two officers were shot during the exchange with the gunman.

Morgan said that one deputy was shot in the arm and another was shot in the knee. “Both expected to survive,” Morgan said.

(Philosophy War/Poem) Young Soldier

(Philosophy War/Poem)  Young Soldier

When we were young did we not all play

Pretending to be generals and sergeants

In our backyards or barns filled with hay

President Mom calling a lunch time truce

To fill our bellies with hot biscuits and ham

No foul, no harm, no spills I guess it’s okay

When young, is not time and the world

Our personal sandbox of new thrills

17, am I now not a hot macho-he man

Jungles and deserts I now low crawl

With M-16 and M-203 in my hands

I hold my breath and tweak my sight

With one finger I squeeze the trigger

Now one less breath, one less man

 

As the earth inhales the blood

To me just one more notch earned

One more trophy on my butt stock

As his last breath leaves with the wind

 

Is there blood on my conscience

For the blood that’s on my hands

Not knowing that my temple

Is the target of this mans friend

17, my life is over before it began

 

 

No force can stop China from growing stronger: Chinese state councilor

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE SHANGHAI CHINA NEWS AGENCY ‘SHINE’)

 

No force can stop China from growing stronger: Chinese state councilor

Xinhua
No force can stop China from growing stronger: Chinese state councilor

Xinhua

Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi attends the Group of 20 (G20) Foreign Ministers’ Meeting in Nagoya, Japan on November 23, 2019.

China’s development and growth is an irreversible trend of history and no force can stop it, Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi said on Saturday.

Wang made the remarks during a meeting with Dutch Foreign Minister Stef Blok on the sidelines of the Group of 20 (G20) Foreign Ministers’ Meeting.

The United States, engaging in unilateralism and protectionism while undermining multilateralism and the multilateral trading system, has become the biggest source of global instability, Wang said.

Washington used its state power to suppress law-abiding Chinese enterprises over groundless allegations to serve its own political purposes, which is a downright act of bullying, he said.

Some US politicians smeared China all around the world without providing any factual basis, and with such acts, the United States has not only lost the manner of a big country, but also damaged its own credibility, Wang said.

The United States, making use of its domestic law, wantonly interfered in China’s internal affairs and attempted to undermine the “one country, two systems” and the prosperity and stability of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, violating the UN Charter and the basic norms governing international relations, he said.

The United States, as the only superpower in the world today, should shoulder international responsibilities, abide by international rules and fulfill international obligations, Wang said.

He stressed that China’s development and growth is an irreversible trend of history, and no force can stop it. There is no way out for the United States to engage in zero-sum games, he said, adding win-win cooperation between Beijing and Washington is the right way forward.

The Real Reason Trump Withheld Military Is A Favor To Putin?

The Real Reason Trump Withheld Military Aid To UKraine Is A Favor To Putin?

 

This is just an oped on my part, I am only giving you my opinion about this issue. This is something that I have thought to be the truth ever sense the Ukraine story broke. As most of the world knows President Putin of Russia took the State of Crimea by military force from the country of UKraine a few years ago and Russian forces have been at war with the nation of UKraine in the east of that country ever sense. So, of course Mr. Putin does not want the US selling military arms to the nation of UKraine because those weapons are being used against his Russian soldiers on the battle field. I simply believe that it only makes sense that Mr. Putin wanted Mr. Trump to freeze that weapons sale to the Ukrainian government. As most of the world realizes, including the Republicans in the US Congress and Senate, Mr. Trump is nothing but a Putin Patsy. Now because of all of Mr. Trumps habitual lying he has found himself on the impeachment hot seat, it isn’t like he can actually tell the truth about his collusion with the Russian government to undermine an American Ally. These are just my thoughts, right, wrong or only somewhat correct, or not. What are you thoughts on this matter?

23 killed as Israeli strikes in Syria, 16 of them likely Iranian

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE TIMES OF ISRAEL)

 

23 killed as Israeli strikes in Syria, 16 of them likely Iranian – war monitor

Identities of foreigners killed in attacks not immediately confirmed; Russia denounces Israeli strikes, calling them a ‘wrong move’

An Israeli M109 self-propelled howitzer is stationed near the border with Syria in the Israeli-annexed Golan Heights on November 19, 2019, after Israeli air defenses intercepted four rockets fired from neighboring Syria. (JALAA MAREY / AFP)

An Israeli M109 self-propelled howitzer is stationed near the border with Syria in the Israeli-annexed Golan Heights on November 19, 2019, after Israeli air defenses intercepted four rockets fired from neighboring Syria. (JALAA MAREY / AFP)

At least 23 “fighters” were killed in Israel’s predawn airstrikes in Syria Wednesday, 16 of them likely Iranians, according to a Syrian war monitor.

The Israel Defense Forces launched the strikes against Iranian and Syrian targets around the capital of Damascus and on the Syrian Golan Heights in response to a Tuesday morning rocket attack.

The military said it targeted dozens of sites connected to Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps’ Quds Force, including a facility at the Damascus International Airport, which Israel says was used to coordinate the transport of military hardware from Iran to Syria and on to other countries in the region.

“We struck a building staffed by Iranians at the Damascus airport. We assess that there are Iranians killed and injured,” a Israeli senior defense official said Wednesday, on condition of anonymity.

In this photo released by the Syrian official news agency SANA, a damaged building targeted by Israeli missile strikes is seen in Qudsaya suburb, western the capital Damascus, Syria, Wednesday, Nov. 20, 2019. (SANA via AP)

Israel also targeted a number of Quds Force facilities on Syrian military bases. When Syrian air defenses fired on Israeli jets, the IDF also targeted those batteries, the army said.

A large explosion is seen over the Damascus skyline in footage purportedly taken on the night between Tuesday and Wednesday, November 20, 2019 (video screenshot)

Israel has repeatedly warned Syrian dictator Bashar Assad to not intervene during IDF strikes on Iranian targets in his country or else his military will also be targeted, as was the case Wednesday.

According to the Britain-based monitoring group the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, 23 people were killed in the strike, and 16 of them were foreigners. Though presumed to be Iranian, that could not be immediately confirmed by SOHR.

Four civilians were wounded, the monitor said.

Video footage from Syria appeared to show a Syrian air defense missile crashing to the ground in a heavily populated area shortly after launching, which may account for some of the casualties.

Russia on Wednesday condemned Israel for the strikes. Moscow backs the Assad government and has criticized previous Israeli strikes in the country, especially those that target Syrian military bases in addition to Iranian facilities.

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov said the strikes were a “wrong move” that is in “stark contrast” to international law, Interfax reported.

He added that Moscow had reached out to its allies regarding the incident, the report said.

On Wednesday morning, the IDF said it had coordinated its airstrikes with Russia.

Following its reprisal raids, the Israeli military said it was preparing for a potential Iranian retaliation.

“We are preparing for defense and attack, and we will respond to any attempt to retaliate,” IDF Spokesperson Hidai Zilberman told reporters first thing Wednesday morning.

“We are ready for three scenarios: no response, a minor response, and a more significant response,” he said.

Israel has repeatedly said that it will not accept Iranian military entrenchment in Syria and that it will retaliate for any attack on the Jewish state from Syria.

Zilberman said the military targeted both “the host, Syria, and the guest, Iran.”

“Our message to the leaders of Iranian is simple: You are not immune anymore. Wherever you send your octopus arms — we will hack them off,” said newly installed Defense Minister Naftali Bennett.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said of the strike: “I have made clear that any who attack us, we will attack them. That is what we did tonight toward military targets of the Iranian Quds Force and Syrian military targets.”

Iranian Revolutionary Guards’ Quds Force commander Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani. (YouTube screenshot)

The Quds Force, led by Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani, is a part of the Islamic Republic Revolutionary Guards Corps responsible for extraterritorial operations, and is a key actor in Syria — both against rebels and in Tehran’s efforts to entrench itself along Israel’s border and threaten the Jewish state from there.

Early Tuesday morning Israel’s anti-missile defense system intercepted four rockets fired from Syria toward the Golan Heights.

The rockets triggered sirens in the northern Golan Heights and Galilee region at 4:52 a.m., sending residents rushing to bomb shelters.

Last week Syrian state media reported that an Israeli strike hit the home of a senior Palestinian Islamic Jihad terrorist in Damascus, Akram al-Ajouri, killing his son and another person. Islamic Jihad accused Israel of being behind the strike in Damascus. The Israeli army refused to comment.

On the same day, an Israeli airstrike killed Islamic Jihad military commander Baha Abu Al-Ata, whom Israel blamed for recent rocket fire into its territory, in a strike on his home in Gaza City. Around 450 rockets were fired into Israel from the Gaza Strip in the aftermath of the military operation against Abu Al-Ata, according to the Israeli army, as the military struck back at Islamic Jihad targets. A ceasefire between Israel and Islamic Jihad was reached after 50 hours of clashes.

Israel has carried out hundreds of airstrikes in Syria against Iranian targets over the last several years, but does not generally comment on specific attacks. Iran has forces based in Syria, Israel’s northern neighbor, and supports Hezbollah and Gaza terrorists.

In August, in a rare announcement, the IDF said it had targeted sites in the town of Aqrabah, southeast of Damascus, near the city’s airport to foil what it said was an imminent armed drone attack on Israel by Iran-backed fighters.

In January Israel was said to have conducted a daylight missile attack on Iranian targets at the airport. Iran responded by firing a surface-to-surface missile at the northern Golan Heights, which was intercepted by the Iron Dome missile defense system over the Mount Hermon ski resort, according to the Israel Defense Forces.

Times of Israel staff and AFP contributed to this report.

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China’s aircraft carrier passes through Taiwan Strait

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF SHANGHAI CHINA’S ‘SHINE’ NEWS NETWORK)

 

China’s aircraft carrier passes through Taiwan Strait

Xinhua

A Chinese aircraft carrier passed through the Taiwan Strait on Sunday to conduct scientific research tests and routine training in relevant waters of the South China Sea, according to a spokesperson for the People’s Liberation Army Navy.

The organization of the cross-regional tests and training of the homemade aircraft carrier is a normal arrangement in the process of aircraft carrier construction, is not aimed at any specific target and has nothing to do with the current situation, spokesperson Cheng Dewei said.

Lula reaches out and signals that he wants to dialogue with the Armed Forces

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF BRAZIL’S 247 NEWS)

 

Lula reaches out and signals that he wants to dialogue with the Armed Forces

Former President Lula intends to dialogue with the military, with whom his government maintained a good institutional relationship. Lula wants to understand the reasons for the animosity of sectors of the Armed Forces against him and the Workers’ Party and the military’s new positions on privatization.

Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva
Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva (Photo: Ricardo Stuckert)

247 – In full action after leaving prison to mobilize the people in opposition to the Bolsonaro government, former President Lula is also seeking political articulation and dialogue with broad sectors. 

He has signaled that he intends to talk to the military or their interlocutors.

 Since being in jail, Lula has expressed questions about the posture of sectors of the armed forces in favor of privatization.  

One of Lula’s concerns is the animosity of sectors of the armed forces against him and the Workers’ Party. The information is from journalist Monica Bergamo in her column in Folha de S.Paulo. 

When the Supreme Court (Supreme Court) voted the habeas corpus in which Lula asked not to be arrested, in 2018, then Army Commander General Eduardo Villas Bôas even wrote a message on Twitter condemning “impunity.” And saying, in veiled threat, that the military was attentive “to their institutional missions.” 

At the time, the message was understood as pressure on the Supreme Court to allow Lula’s arrest.

China: DPRK warns US against new military drills with South Korea

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE SHANGHAI CHINA NEWS AGENCY ‘SHINE’)

 

DPRK warns US against new military drills with South Korea

Xinhua

The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea gave a stern warning on Wednesday night against a planned joint military drill to be held by the United States and South Korea.

In a statement carried by the official Korean Central News Agency, an unnamed spokesman for the State Affairs Commission said the DPRK defined the joint military drill as the main factor for ratcheting up tensions on the Korean Peninsula.

“Despite our repeated warnings, the US and the South Korean side decided to push ahead with the military drill,” he said.

He also said the latest joint military exercises “constitute an undisguised breach of the DPRK-US joint statement adopted on June 12 of last year on the basis of mutual trust and an open denial of the Singapore agreement.”

Seoul and Washington said last week that they would skip their annual joint air exercise, known as Vigilant Ace, and instead hold a scaled-back drill.

The DPRK spokesman said that the United States and South Korea have staged several military drills this year alone, and such acts have already put DPRK-US relations on the verge of a breakdown.

The first negotiations in eight months between the DPRK and the United States on the denuclearization on the Korean Peninsula broke down in Stockholm in early October. The DPRK has set the end of the year as a deadline for Washington to offer a deal which is realistic and acceptable by Pyongyang.

The DPRK has issued several warnings in the past two months, saying it would be a mistake for the United States to ignore the year-end deadline and the channel of the dialogue between the two countries is narrowing.

Indian Army’s M777 regiment to get 3 made-in-India guns

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE HINDUSTAN TIMES OF INDIA)

 

Indian Army’s M777 regiment to get 3 made-in-India guns

Of the 18 howitzers with which the army is raising its first regiment, 15 are being supplied by BAE Systems and three by its Indian partner Mahindra Defence, said the second official, also on condition of anonymity.

INDIA Updated: Nov 13, 2019 09:39 IST

Rahul Singh
Rahul Singh
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
M777 Howitzer gun fires in the air at the formal induction of the major artillery gun systems including the K-9 Vajra, a self-propelled artillery gun and Composite Gun Towing Vehicle during a ceremony at Deolali artillery centre, in Nashik district on November 09, 2018.
M777 Howitzer gun fires in the air at the formal induction of the major artillery gun systems including the K-9 Vajra, a self-propelled artillery gun and Composite Gun Towing Vehicle during a ceremony at Deolali artillery centre, in Nashik district on November 09, 2018. (PTI File Photo)

The Indian Army’s first regiment of ultra-light howitzers is expected to consist of 15 ready-built M777s supplied by the US, and three locally built guns that will represent the country’s Make in India push for military hardware, two officials familiar with the move said.

The howitzers will be delivered to the army by the year-end, enabling the force to raise the first of its planned seven M777 regiments early next year, said one of the officials cited above who asked not to be named.

India ordered 145 howitzers from the US for $750 million in November 2016. As part of the deal, M777 manufacturer BAE Systems will supply 25 ready-built howitzers and the remaining 120 guns are being built locally in collaboration with Mahindra Defence Systems Limited under the Modi government’s Make in India initiative.

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Huge turnout for Army recruitment rally in Samba days after J&K bifurcation
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Of the 18 howitzers with which the army is raising its first regiment, 15 are being supplied by BAE Systems and three by its Indian partner Mahindra Defence, said the second official, also on condition of anonymity.

A spokesperson for Mahindra Defence declined to comment.

“The parallel induction of imported howitzers and the locally assembled ones serves the army’s interests. The rate of production will be higher and delivery faster under such an arrangement. Also, if there are any issues with the howitzers, the army can quickly reach out to the original equipment manufacturer and the Indian partner,” said Lieutenant General Subrata Saha (retd), who was the army’s deputy chief when the M777 deal was inked three years ago. The army is likely to get all the 145 howitzers by the end of 2021.

Saha also said that the M777s were an important part of the army’s field artillery rationalisation plan (FARP) as the guns were designed for flexible deployment in mountainous terrain.

The 155 mm/39-caliber howitzers can be sling-loaded to Boeing CH-47F (I) Chinook helicopters and swiftly deployed to high-altitude areas to provide accurate artillery fire support. India ordered 15 Chinook helicopters from the US for $1.18 billion in September 2015. Six of them have already been delivered.

The army is preparing to deploy its new M777s in eastern Arunachal Pradesh and the howitzers could prove to be a game-changer in the sector due to their tactical mobility, as reported by HT on October 7.

The howitzers have a range of 24-30 km.

The ~50,000-crore FARP lays down the road map for inducting new 155mm weaponry, including tracked self-propelled guns, truck-mounted gun systems, towed artillery pieces and wheeled self-propelled guns. The plan seeks to equip 169 artillery regiments with a mix of nearly 3,000 guns over the next eight to 10 years.

The M777s were the first artillery guns to be ordered after the Bofors scandal unfolded in the late 1980s. These howitzers have superior tactical mobility as they are made from titanium and aluminum alloys and weigh only 4,218 kg, which is half the weight of conventional artillery guns deployed in the northern and eastern sectors.

Apart from the M777s, some of the other Make in India projects include local production of AK-203 assault rifles and K9 VAJRA-T artillery guns.

MH17 disaster: Phone-taps ‘show Russia directed Ukraine rebels’

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE BBC)

 

MH17 disaster: Phone-taps ‘show Russia directed Ukraine rebels’

An investigator inspects the wreckage of flight MH17Image copyrightREUTERS
Image captionThe plane was en route from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur when it was shot down over a rebel-held area of eastern Ukraine

An international inquiry into the downing of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 believes high-level Russian officials were directing separatists in eastern Ukraine linked to the attack.

Investigators allege a top aide of President Vladimir Putin was in contact with rebel leaders on a regular basis.

All 298 people on board were killed when a missile struck the plane over rebel-held territory on 17 July 2014.

Russia’s foreign ministry has rejected the latest findings.

Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said international investigators had manipulated the inquiry to suit a predetermined conclusion.

Investigators have charged four people, including a separatist defence chief. The suspects are due to go on trial, probably in absentia, in April 2020.

What do the investigators say?

The Netherlands-based inquiry team have not linked Russia directly to the attack on the plane but they say the phone-taps show contact with two of the four suspects already charged with murdering the passengers and crew.

While MH17 is not mentioned in the phone-taps, provided by Ukraine’s SBU intelligence, investigators believe Moscow officials knew what was going on on the ground and had influence over “administrative, financial and military matters” in the separatists’ self-styled Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR).

Media captionHow does a Buk missile system work?

The inquiry has already said the Bukh Telar missile launch system came from Russia’s 53rd Anti-Aircraft Missile Brigade based at Kursk.

They are now appealing for more witnesses to come forward.

Who are the high-level Russians?

The inquiry team names Vladislav Surkov, a former Kremlin strategist and deputy prime minister, and Sergey Aksyonov, the man placed in charge of Crimea when it was occupied and annexed by Russia months before.

They say Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu is also mentioned in several calls.

Map shows the route taken by flight MH17

“The indications for close ties between Russian government officials and leaders of the DPR raise questions about their possible involvement in the deployment of the Buk Telar which brought down flight MH17 on 17 July 2014,” said Andy Kraag, head of the criminal investigation division of Dutch police.

What is in the phone-taps?

Two of the suspects already charged are mentioned in the phone-taps. Igor Girkin was so-called defence minister in the DPR and, according to prosecutors, Sergei Dubinsky was his deputy.

DPR leaders always insisted they were volunteers not directed by anyone but the inquiry team says it has spoken to witnesses who say key figures were directed from within Russia.

They say DPR leader Alexander Borodai was recorded saying: “I’m carrying out orders and protecting the interests of one and only state, the Russian Federation. That’s the bottom line.”

They also quote Mr Borodai apparently talking to Vladislav Surkov a fortnight before the MH17 disaster talking about Russian reinforcements.

Media captionAn animated video from the Dutch Safety Board shows the damage to the plane and how it was caused

Investigators believe leading rebels were equipped by Russia’s FSB security service with secure phones that cannot be tapped and operate via the internet, apparently nicknamed “the glass”.

Sergei Dubinsky, they allege, called someone named Semenov saying: “Those are special phones, you cannot buy them. They are gotten through Moscow. Through FSB.”

Although four people have been charged and are due to go on trial in April, probably in absentia, it is thought more evidence could yet emerge from rebel ranks in the DPR.

The aim of the inquiry team is to find out who ultimately pushed the button that brought down MH17 en route from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur and who was in charge.

The 298 who died included 193 Dutch nationals, 43 Malaysians, 27 Australians, 12 Indonesians, 10 Britons, four Belgians, four Germans, three Philippine nationals, one New Zealander and one Canadian.

Russia has argued that the investigation and trial is aimed at discrediting the country in the eyes of the international community.