Missile that downed MH17 came from Russia: joint investigation team

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THE HAGUE, Sept. 28 (Xinhua) — The Buk missile that downed flight MH17 was brought from Russia and fired from a region in eastern Ukraine controlled by pro-Russian rebels, according to the Joint Investigation Team’s (JIT) report released Wednesday by the Netherlands Public Prosecutor’s Office.

The Malaysian Airlines Boeing 777 was shot down by a Buk missile which was brought from Russia to Ukraine. The weapon was fired from a field in the Ukrainian village Pervomajsk, which at the time of the disaster was in the hands of pro-Russian rebels. The launcher was then brought back to Russia, according to the JIT’s initial probe.

The investigation team said they based their findings on information collected from radar images, thousands of pieces of wreckage, photos, videos, tapped phone calls and testimonials from people who have seen the Buk missile being driven.

MH17 crashed in eastern Ukraine on July 17, 2014 while flying from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur. All 298 people on board died, most of them Dutch citizens.

The Dutch Safety Board carried out an investigation into the cause of the crash to draw safety lessons for future use. The criminal investigation is aimed at identifying the suspects and is conducted by the international investigation team, the so-called JIT.

In the JIT, the Netherlands Public Prosecutor’s Office and the Dutch National Police work together with police and judicial authorities of Australia, Belgium, Malaysia and Ukraine. The purpose of the criminal investigation is to establish the facts, identify those responsible for the crash and to collect evidence which can be used in court.

Western investigators and Kiev have been claiming that pro-independence insurgents in eastern Ukraine shot down the aircraft, while Moscow has been denying the allegations and retorting the plane was shot by a missile from the territory controlled by Ukrainian government troops.

On Monday, the Russian Defense Ministry announced that Ukraine was hiding vital data on the Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 crash and was manipulating the investigation of the 2014 catastrophe.

The ministry also refuted conclusions contained in the Dutch Safety Board report about the possible presence of heavy air defense systems in Eastern Ukraine.

Editor: ZD

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