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Dutch Investigators: MH17 Missile ‘Came from Russia’ | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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An armed pro-Russian separatist stands on part of the wreckage of the Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 plane after it crashed near the settlement of Grabovo in the Donetsk region, July 17, 2014. REUTERS/Maxim Zmeyev

A Malaysian airliner shot down in eastern Ukraine was hit by a Buk missile moved into eastern Ukraine from Russia, Dutch-led criminal investigators said.

The findings challenge Moscow’s suggestion that Malaysia Airlines flight 17, en route from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur in July 2014, was brought down by the Ukrainian military. All 298 people on board, most of them Dutch citizens, were killed.

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

From that and other evidence collected by the Joint Investigation Team, Paulissen told a news conference: “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.”

“Our investigation has shown that the location from where the BUK was fired was in the hands of the Russian separatists,” said Paulissen.

The joint investigation “has identified approximately 100 people who can be linked to the downing of MH17 or the transport of the BUK-TELAR” missile system, Dutch prosecutors said.

They were believed to have had an “active role” in the transporting of the missile system used to bring down the routine flight from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur, chief investigator Fred Westerbeke said.

But he stressed those under investigation were not official suspects yet.

As expected the investigators did not reveal any names, but it revealed the exact missile system used.

“Based on the criminal investigation we have concluded that flight MH17… was downed by a BUK missile of the series 9M83, that came from the territory of the Russian Federation,” Paulissen added.

He added that afterwards the missile launcher system “was taken back to Russia.”

Ukraine’s Foreign Ministry on Wednesday hailed the prosecutors’ findings, saying it pointed to Russia’s “direct involvement” in the air crash that killed 298 people.

The report is “an important milestone” in bringing to justice all those responsible for downing the aircraft, the Foreign Ministry said.

“This puts an end to all of Russia’s attempts to discredit activities of the Joint Investigation Team and conclusions by spreading distorted or fabricated information,” the ministry said.

Russia this week again sought to deflect the blame for the MH17 disaster, on Monday releasing what it said were radar images showing that no missile fired from rebel-held territory in the east could have hit the plane

Repeating those denials on Wednesday, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said: “First-hand radar data identified all flying objects which could have been launched or were in the air over the territory controlled by rebels at that moment.”

“The data are clear-cut…there is no rocket. If there was a rocket, it could only have been fired from elsewhere,” he said.

The Russian foreign ministry, in a statement issued Wednesday, rejected the findings into mh17 downing and expressed its disappointment by Dutch-led investigation outcomes. The ministry described the investigation as biased and politically motivated.

The international investigators prevented Moscow from taking full part in their work, the ministry added, hoping that new radar data from Moscow would prompt investigators to revise their findings.

Furthermore, Ria cited Russian maker of Buk missile saying Wednesday that international investigators’ findings are not backed up with technical evidence.

The investigators said they had not had access to the new radar images on which Moscow was basing its latest statements.