MH17 missile owned by Russian brigade, investigators say

A Netherlands-led investigation team says Russia's 53rd anti-aircraft brigade'shot down flight MH-17 in Ukraine back in 2014

A missile system from the 53rd anti-aircraft brigade of the Russian Armed Forces was used to shoot down Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 over eastern Ukraine in 2014, prosecutors investigating the disaster said on Thursday.

The missile system that shot down flight MH17 was then filmed several times on July 17 and 18 in eastern Ukraine as it was transported on a low flatbed truck-and-trailer.

Investigators say that detailed analysis of video images has now established that the Buk missile that brought down the flight came from a Russia-based military unit.

The missile that downed a Malaysian plane on flight MH17 above Ukraine in 2014, when 298 people died, was sacked by Russian Federation, according to investigators.

According to him, it is very important, because he believes that what the Dutch investigation has revealed again emphasizes the lack of ambiguity implying that this is Russia's direct responsibility, Volker said during a telephone briefing in Brussels on Thursday. The missile system is technically complex, and Western diplomats have long said they doubted that the rebels would have had the technical expertise to target the high-flying jet.

In October 2015 the Dutch Safety Board said the plane had been hit by a Russian-made Buk missile.

The question of whether members of the 53rd Brigade were actively involved in the downing of the plane remains under investigation, he said.

The Joint Investigative Team, comprised of prosecutors from Australia, Belgium, Malaysia, the Netherlands and Ukraine, are compiling evidence for a criminal prosecution.

A Netherlands-led investigation team says Russia's 53rd anti-aircraft brigade'shot down flight MH-17 in Ukraine back in 2014
A Netherlands-led investigation team says Russia's 53rd anti-aircraft brigade'shot down flight MH-17 in Ukraine back in 2014

Investigators displayed parts of the engine casing and exhaust system of a Buk 9M38 series missile recovered from eastern Ukraine and showed photos of its serial number, which they said demonstrated it was made in Moscow.

On Thursday, the Joint Investigative Team said this conclusion is based on "extensive comparative research".

The team called for witnesses to come forward with more information about the missile system.

In a statement run on the TASS news agency, the Russian military denied that any Russian missile had ever crossed the border to Ukraine.

Moscow has repeatedly denied any involvement in the downing of the Boeing 777, putting the blame on Kiev and the Ukrainian pilot instead. On its own, the team has managed to narrow down the list of suspects from more than a hundred to a few dozen.

Dutch Foreign Minister Stef Blok said Friday in The Hague that the Netherlands and Australia are holding Russian Federation legally responsible for the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17. Russian bloggers, journalists, aviation experts, and volunteers united in the group to highlight significant flaws and inaccuracies in the Bellingcat version of the tragedy.

It said it had "irrefutable evidence" that the missile had been brought in from Russian territory and fired from a field controlled by pro-Russian fighters.

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