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Mark Toner, State Department Spokesperson (English): "Yeah, please." Journalist: -- at the top that you – the State Department welcomes the findings of the Dutch probe. Do you believe there is any validity, though, to Russian claims that the report is biased? And secondly, Russia is also saying that there is a possibility that the missile system that hit the plane was an older model that might have fallen into Ukrainian hands years ago. Is there any effort underway to check the validity of that claim?" Toner: "You'd have to speak to the Dutch authorities to look into those allegations. I've seen them. I don't have anything to – necessarily to say about them. To be perfectly honest, we've seen various attempts by Russian officials to obscure some of the events leading up to that takedown of the aircraft, of the MH17. I think, yes, we believe that the final report, in answer to your first question, is a result of an independent, rigorous, and transparent 15-month investigation. It was completed in accordance with Annex 13 of the Convention on International Civil Aviation. It was composed of experts from not just the Netherlands, but Malaysia, Ukraine, the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, and also the Russian Federation. So we believe it’s a credible, transparent, and as I said, rigorous investigation. There are two investigations. This is into the – into the – or to determine the causes of the crash, but then there's also a second criminal investigation that's charged with determining who's responsible for the crash." Journalist: "So are you saying there's no validity to the Russian claims?" Toner: "I just can't speak to it. I don’t have anything to – I mean, I'm aware of the claims. I would speak – or I would refer you to the Dutch investigating team to answer those charges." Journalist: "Are --" Toner: "But as I said, we have seen instances in the past, efforts in the past by the Russians, to obscure some of the details of this. I can’t speak to these specific claims though." Journalist: "As you pointed out though, the report does not apportion blame --" Toner: "It does not." Journalist: "-- or state who was responsible." Toner: "It does not." Journalist: "And yet you in the statement that you read earlier said that you believe it supports your theory." Toner: "Yes." Journalist: "How can it possibly support your theory if it doesn't – if it doesn’t make a determination as to who actually did it?" Toner: "Because it does say that the MH17 was shot down by a Buk missile fired from separatist-controlled territory in eastern Ukraine, and we've said that from day one that --" Journalist: "Well, you've gone a step further though and said actually that the separatists were the ones who fired it." Toner: "We have, and that's our belief and that remains our belief." Journalist: "I know, but that – you acknowledge that is not supported by – that part of the U.S. theory is not – is not --" Toner: "Right, it does not assign blame. No, absolutely. No, that's fair, Matt. Yeah." Journalist: "So --" Toner: "But we said it's – we believe it supports our overall argument that we've made, frankly, since day two of this." Journalist: "Right." Toner: "Yeah." U.S. State Department spokesperson Mark Toner described the recently released Malaysia Airlines flight MH-17 report by the Dutch Safety Board as "rigorous" and "credible," during a press conference at the White House on Tuesday. Answering a question on the validity of the report, Toner commented that it is the "result of an independent, rigorous and transparent 15 month investigation," which was "completed in accordance with Annex 13 of the Convention on International Civil Aviation." Toner added that the report was "composed of experts from not just the Netherlands, but Malaysia, Ukraine, the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, and also the Russian Federation." According to the White House spokesperson, the MH17 was "shot down by a BUK missile fired from separatist-controlled territory in eastern Ukraine," comments that reflect the final conclusion of Dutch Safety Board chair Tjibbe Joustra, who identifies the plane as being struck by a 9N314M BUK missile. Moscow has disputed these claims, arguing that the type of missile cannot be ascertained. The MH-17 was en route to Kuala Lumpur from Amsterdam when it was downed in the skies over eastern Ukraine on July 17, 2014. All 298 people including 80 children and 15 crew members were killed.
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