Ukrainian pilot accused of downing Malaysia Airlines MH17 believed to have committed suicide

File Photo: The reconstructed wreckage of MH17 in the Netherlands.
Reuters

The Ukrainian military pilot blamed by Russia for shooting down Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 in 2014 has taken his own life, Ukrainian media has reported.

Local police said that 29-year-old Vladyslav Voloshyn shot himself with an unlicensed pistol in his home in Mykolaiv, near the Black Sea.

According to the BBC, a statement from the Mykolaiv police on Facebook says that the death has been marked as a suicide, but investigations are being carried out for premeditated murder.

The post also says that his family members were in the house at the time and his wife had heard the gunshot.

They were quoted by Ukraine media as saying that Voloshyn was “feeling depressed” at the time, BBC says.

Known as a war hero, Voloshyn had flown 33 combat missions in a low-flying Su-25 ground attack jet against Russian-backed separatist rebels in eastern Ukraine, according to the International Business Times.

He had denied all allegations that he shot down the Boeing 777, which had 298 passengers and crew on board, on July 7, 2014.

There is also speculation that pro-Russian rebels were responsible for the incident, after Dutch prosecutors said the missile which hit the plane was Russian-made, Reuters reported.