MOSCOW, March 19 – A pilot who Russia believed was responsible for blasting Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 out of the sky and killing 298 people has died.
Reports say Captain Vladislav Voloshin, 29, was found dead at his home from a gun shot wound.
Voloshin was a Su-25 pilot in the Ukrainian Air Force when the Boeing 777 was shot down on July 14, 2014 but always maintained he was the victim of a grotesque smear campaign by Russia, who are widely believed to be responsible.
A murder probe has been launched by the Ukrainian authorities although initial reports suggest he took his own life and his wife and work colleagues reported that he had been feeling “depressed”.
She also said that she heard gun shots and called police and an ambulance but a team of paramedics was unable to save his life.
After the Russian accusations originally made in December 2014, Voloshin left the Ukrainian air force and became the acting director of Mykolayiv International Airport.
A BBC documentary in 2016 highlighted the claims that MH17 was downed by a powerful surface-to-air Buk missile shot from pro-Russian rebel held territory, with Voloshin emphasising last year: “I did not shoot down the MH17 Boeing.
“A former military mate of mine called (Evgeny) Agapov, a mechanical engineer, falsely gave evidence against me.”
He added: “We did not carry out flights on July 17.