The Ukrainian Security Service hopes to end the investigation into the Malaysia Airlines MH17 flight crash in the Donetsk region next year on the condition that detectives will have access to the crash scene.
"Hopefully, the inquiry will come to an end next year. But a lot will depend on the situation in the east of our country, on the lands where most eyewitnesses are living or staying," Ukrainian Security Service main investigative department head Vasyl Vovk said at a press briefing on Friday.
He explained the protracted inquiry with the need to collect eyewitnesses' statements.
"As long as we do not have access to this territory, and the crash site is still controlled by terrorist organizations, difficulties will remain, and this is not about the search for material evidence [we have collected what we could] but about lots of people who could make statements, which would be vital evidence for this criminal inquiry," Vovk said.
Some witnesses have been interviewed, he said, adding that their names and places of residence are not disclosed. "They have been interviewed under alias within the witness protection program," he said.
The security service official also said that metal pieces unrelated to the plane were found in the bodies of the Boeing passengers.
"The plane crash was not caused by internal impacts. This means there was no explosion on the plane, there was no human factor, such as a mistake by the pilot or others. There was an external influence, an external impact on the plane's hull, which caused it to crash on the territory of our country," Vovk said.
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