Malaysian jet downed by missile launcher from Russia
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.