Missile maker: MH17 shot down by "BUK-M1"

Russian BUK missile launchers (Picture: Wikimedia Commons/Vitaliy Ragulin)Russian BUK missile launchers (Picture: Wikimedia Commons/Vitaliy Ragulin)

Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 was shot down on July 17 with a BUK-M1 missile, announced Mikhail Malyshevsky on Tuesday. Malyshevsky is the deputy head engineer at Moscow-based BUK missile manufacturer Almaz-Antey.

"Judging by the holes made in different parts of the plane's fuselage and based on the comprehensive analysis of the damage, we conclude that it was a 9M38M or a 9M38M1 rocket that hit the plane," Malyshevsky told Russian news portal Interfax.

Almaz-Antey emphasizes that they do not know who owned the missile that shot down the Malaysian plane. The producer said they have not supplied BUK-M1 type missiles to anyone since production of the missile ended in 1999.

Malyshevsky also stated that as of the year 2005, the Ukrainian army possessed around one thousand 9M38M1 missiles. He did not say how many units of those missiles are owned by Russian forces, Russian-backed armies, and other regional military divisions.

Military experts at the company also refuted the theory that the missile that hit MH17 was launched in Snizhne. At the time of the incident, Snizhne was controlled by pro-Russian rebels.

"Judging by the angle of the impact and based on the analysis of other data, the most probable launch point was south of the village of Zaroshchenske," said Malyshevsky. On the day of the MH17 crash, the village was controlled by Ukrainian military. This version of events was also pushed in the supposed Russian military report made for Dutch investigators published by the opposition-leaning Novaya Gazeta.

Military authorities of the "Donetsk People's Republic" told Interfax they did not possess any BUK-M1 launchers at the time of the incident.

Malyshevsky also said that the missile crossed the trajectory of the plane, suggesting it was shot from a side angle, as opposed to a head-on path, supporting assertions that a projectile exploded between the cockpit and passenger cabin area, a conclusion also published earlier by Novaya Gazeta. If the launch had taken place at Snizhne, the plane would have been moving towards the missile, Malyshevsky theorized..

Almaz-Antey is currently under sanctions from Western countries. The management believe that the sanctioning is unfair, since there is no evidence of the company's direct involvement in the incident. "We are going to present evidence of our non-involvement in the catastrophe of MH17," CEO Yan Novikov said.

Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 took off from Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport on July 17 with 283 passengers and 15 crew members. The Boeing 777 was destined for Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, but fell out of the skies over the Donetsk region, where fighting between the Ukraine and a Russian-backed separatist army was ongoing.