Prosecutor: MH17 was shot down by Russian BUK-missile
Flight MH17 was shot down by a BUK-missile brought to the Ukraine from Russia, prosecutor Fred Westerbeke said during a meeting in which the victims' relatives are being informed on the preliminary criminal investigation results, both NOS and RTL Nieuws reports. The relatives are the first to here the results, which will then be shared at a press conference.
According to the two broadcasters, Westerbeke stated that the missile was taken back over the Russian border after the attack. One relative told RTL that the missile was definitely fired from an area in Eastern Ukraine controlled by pro-Russian rebels.
The criminal investigation is being carried out by the Joint Investigation Team, led by the Dutch Public Prosecutor. It is focused on finding out from where the missile was fired that shot down flight MH17 and then on who fired it. Today's results are expected to entail where the missile was fired from and what type of missile it was. The investigation into the perpetrators is still ongoing.
Flight MH17 was shot down over Eastern Ukraine on July 17th, 2014. All 298 people on board were killed. 196 of them were Dutch. Last year the Dutch Safety Board released a report based on their investigation into how exactly the plane was downed. The Board concluded that MH17 was shot down by a BUK missile from somewhere within a large area controlled by pro-Russian separatists.
British newspaper The Guardian reported on Tuesday that the missile was fired from a field south of the town Snizhe. According to the newspaper, Russian troops were active there on the day MH17 was shot down. When they realized they shot a passenger aircraft, the missile launcher was smuggled across the border back to Russia the following day.
On Monday the Russians gave a press conference in which the Russian Defense Ministry released radar images, supposedly of the time MH17 was shot down. Up until now, Russia has refused to release these images. Nothing out of the usual can be seen on the images. And according to the Russians, this shows that MH17 was not shot down from a separatist controlled are.
When the Dutch Safety Board presented its report last year, Russia did the same thing. Hours before the presentation the maker of BUK missiles gave a presentation saying that the Malaysia Airlines plane was shot down by an old Ukrainian missile.