Detailed photos and videos prove that the missile that downed MH17 over Ukraine nearly four years ago came from a Russian military base.
The Joint Investigation Team has come to the conclusion that the BUK-TELAR that shot down MH17 came from a 53rd Anti-aircraft Missile Brigade based in Kursk in Russia.
“The 53rd Brigade forms part of the Russian armed forces,” top Dutch investigator Wilbert Paulissen said.
The investigators had previously concluded that the plane was brought down by a Russian-made BUK missile system brought in from Russia and fired from territory in Ukraine held by Moscow-backed rebels. But they have stopped short of directly saying who pulled the trigger.
Now the team has painstakingly recreated the route taken by the missile convoy from Kursk across the border into Ukraine using videos and photos.
Paulissen added the team had ascertained that the BUK-TELAR has a number of unique characteristics. These characteristics as such served as a type of fingerprint for the missile.
The probe being led by The Netherlands is focusing on some 100 people suspected of having played an “active role” in the incident, but investigators have not yet publicly named any suspects.
Dutch officials have announced that the trial of any suspects arrested in the shooting down of flight MH17 will be held in the Netherlands under an agreement reached with the countries leading the joint probe.
Moscow, however, rejected the accusation, saying no such weapon had ever crossed the Russian-Ukrainian border and blaming Kiev for the tragedy.
“Not a single anti-aircraft missile system from the Russian Federation has ever crossed the Russia-Ukraine border,” the defence ministry said in a statement carried by local news agencies.
The ministry accused Ukraine of being behind the disaster in which 298 people died, saying it had presented evidence that “showed the involvement of Ukrainian units using (Soviet-designed) BUK missiles”.
The Malaysian Airlines flight was blown out of the sky over conflict-wracked east Ukraine on July 17, 2014 en route from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur.
All 298 passengers and crew, most of them Dutch, were killed in the disaster. But there were 17 nationalities on board including Australians, Britons, Malaysians and Indonesians. – NST