Malaysian jet downed by mis­sile launcher from Russia

Jamaica Gleaner - - INTERNATIONAL NEWS -

NIEUWEGEIN (AP): DUTCH-LED CRIM­I­NAL in­ves­ti­ga­tors said Wed­nes­day they have solid ev­i­dence that a Malaysian jet was shot down in 2014 by a Buk mis­sile that was moved into east­ern Ukraine from Russia.

Wil­bert Paulis­sen, head of the Cen­tral Crime In­ves­ti­ga­tion de­part­ment of the Dutch Na­tional Po­lice, said com­mu­ni­ca­tions in­ter­cepts showed that pro-Moscow rebels had called for de­ploy­ment of the mo­bile sur­face-to-air weapon and re­ported its ar­rival on July 17, 2014, in rebel-con­trolled ar­eas of east­ern Ukraine.

The deadly sur­face-to-air weapon that blasted Malaysia Air­lines Flight 17 out of the sky that same day at 33,000 feet, killing all 298 peo­ple aboard, was launched from farm­land in the rebel-held area of Per­vo­maiskiy, five kilo­me­tres (three miles) from the east­ern Ukrainian town of Snizhne, the in­ves­ti­ga­tion found.

Wit­nesses there re­ported an ex­plo­sion and a whistling sound and a patch of field was set on fire. Peo­ple walk among the de­bris, at the crash site of a Malaysia Air­lines jet­liner near the vil­lage of Grabovo, Ukraine. The dis­as­ter claimed 298 lives.

From that and other ev­i­dence col­lected by the Joint In­ves­ti­ga­tion Team, “it may be con­cluded MH17 was shot down by a 9M38 mis­sile launched by a Buk, brought in

from the ter­ri­tory of the Rus­sian Fed­er­a­tion, and that af­ter launch was sub­se­quently re­turned to the Rus­sian Fed­er­a­tion”, Paulis­sen told a news con­fer­ence on Wed­nes­day in the Dutch town of Nieuwegein.

The con­clu­sions of the in­ves­tiga­tive unit – which in­cludes po­lice and pros­e­cu­tors from the Nether­lands, Ukraine, Bel­gium, Aus­tralia and Malaysia – were con­sis­tent with pre­vi­ous re­port­ing by the As­so­ci­ated Press, which established soon af­ter MH17’s de­struc­tion that a tracked Buk M-1 launcher with four SA-11 sur­face-to-air mis­siles had been sighted the same day in the rebel-con­trolled town of Snizhne near Per­vo­maiskiy.

A separate in­ves­ti­ga­tion by Dutch safety of­fi­cials last year con­cluded that the Am­s­ter­damto-Kuala Lumpur flight was downed by a Buk mis­sile fired from ter­ri­tory in Ukraine held by pro-Rus­sian rebels.

Dutch po­lice spokesman Thomas Aling said the joint in­ves­ti­ga­tion find­ings dif­fer in that they are de­signed to be solid enough to be used as ev­i­dence in a crim­i­nal trial. Where and when a trial might take place is still to be de­ter­mined, Aling said.

AP

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