Malaysian jet 'downed by launch from Russia'

Malaysian jet 'downed by launch from Russia'

Dutch-led criminal investigators say they have solid evidence that a Malaysian jet was shot down by a Buk missile moved into eastern Ukraine from Russia.

Wilbert Paulissen, head of the Central Crime Investigation department of the Dutch National Police, said 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, Mr 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."

The conclusions were billed as results of a two-year Dutch-led criminal probe of the disaster that claimed 298 lives.

A separate investigation by Dutch safety officials last year concluded that the Amsterdam-to-Kuala Lumpur flight was downed by a Buk missile fired from territory 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, Mr Aling said.

Russia has consistently denied allegations that pro-Moscow rebels in eastern Ukraine were responsible.

On Monday, the Russian military said it has new radio-location data that show the missile that downed the Boeing 777 did not originate from rebel-controlled territory, and said it would turn the data over to investigators.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov reiterated that assertion on Wednesday ahead of the Dutch report.

"If there was a rocket it could only have been launched from a different area," he told reporters, referring to Russian radar data.

"You can't argue with it, it can't be discussed."

In the Joint Investigation Team, Dutch police and judicial officials have been working with counterparts from Australia, Belgium, Malaysia and Ukraine, seeking to gather the best possible evidence for use in prosecution of the perpetrators.

They have faced extraordinary challenges: the crime scene in Ukraine's eastern Donetsk oblast where the plane crashed on July 17, 2014, killing all aboard, was located in an active war zone, and during the days following the crash pro-Kremlin militants limited access to the site.

Eleven containers crammed with debris from the jet were ultimately brought to the Netherlands. A research team took soil samples in eastern Ukraine and established the location of mobile phone towers and the layout of the local telephone network.

Forensic samples were taken from passengers' and crew members' bodies and luggage, and satellite data and communications intercepts were scrutinised.

The team also appealed for information from witnesses who may have seen the missile launch.

About two-thirds of the passengers aboard MH17 were Dutch nationals; the crew members were Malaysians.

Malaysia proposed setting up an international tribunal to try those responsible for the plane's destruction, but Russia vetoed a UN Security Council resolution in favour of a tribunal.

More in this Section

EU envoy ‘disagreed with Trump’s order on Ukraine policy’EU envoy ‘disagreed with Trump’s order on Ukraine policy’

Duckenfield had opportunity to change Hillsborough match plans, court toldDuckenfield had opportunity to change Hillsborough match plans, court told

'I am off to the dentist': Paul Gascoigne ‘looking forward to getting on with life’ after jury clears him'I am off to the dentist': Paul Gascoigne ‘looking forward to getting on with life’ after jury clears him

Prolonged exposure to blue light may speed up ageing process, researchers sayProlonged exposure to blue light may speed up ageing process, researchers say


Lifestyle

You have a long half-term break ahead of you all, and there’s only so much screen time anyone in the family can handle. Everyone is going to need a book-break at some point or another.We reviewed some of the best new books to keep kids entertained over half-term

Sexual politics, snideput-downs and family rivalries are fuelling the trouble brewing in a small Midlands town.Charlie Murphy and Pat Shortt star in new Irish film 'Dark lies the Island'

Robert Hume tells of the eccentric MP for Athboy, Co. Meath – born 300 years ago this month – who thought he was a teapot, and was afraid his spout might break off.A strange brew of a man: The MP for Meath who believed he was a teapot

Ladysbridge and District Flower and Garden Club will meet on Monday at 8pm in Garryvoe Hotel.Gardening Notes: Your one-stop guide to the week's events

More From The Irish Examiner