Investigators have revealed the evidence they believe proves Russia was responsible for downing Flight MH17, killing 298 people.
Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 was a passenger flight from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur that was shot down on the 17th of July 2014 while flying over eastern Ukraine, killing all 283 passengers. Contact with the aircraft, a Boeing 777, was lost when it was about 30 miles from the Ukraine–Russia border and wreckage of the aircraft fell near Hrabove in Donetsk Oblast, Ukraine, 25 miles from the border.
The shoot-down occurred in the War in Donbass, during the Battle of Shakhtarsk, in an area controlled by the Donetsk People’s Republic. The crash was Malaysia Airlines’ second aircraft loss during 2014 after the disappearance of Flight 370 on 8 March.
The responsibility for investigation fell to the Dutch Safety Board and the Dutch-led Joint Investigation Team, who have concluded that the airliner was downed by a Buk surface-to-air missile launched from pro-Russian separatist-controlled territory in Ukraine. According to the JIT, the Buk that was used originated from the 53rd Anti-Aircraft Rocket Brigade of the Russian Federation, and had been transported from Russia on the day of the crash, fired from a field in a rebel-controlled area, and returned to Russia after it was used to shoot down MH17.
“The Buk that was used came from the Russian army, the 53rd brigade,” Chief Dutch Prosecutor Fred Westerbeke told Reuters.
The following is a statement by the NATO Secretary General on MH17 investigation:
“The Netherlands and Australia have announced that they hold Russia responsible for its part in the downing of flight MH17 on 17 July 2014. I call on Russia to accept responsibility and fully cooperate with all efforts to establish accountability, in line with United Nations Security Council Resolution 2166.
Yesterday’s interim report of the Joint Investigation Team on the downing of MH17 concluded that the missile launcher used to shoot down the plane originated from the 53rd Anti-aircraft Brigade of the Russian Federation, stationed in Kursk.
The downing of MH17 was a global tragedy, and those responsible must be held accountable. NATO has repeatedly expressed its full support for the efforts undertaken by the Dutch authorities and others to shed light on what happened on that terrible day, and to achieve justice for the 298 people who were killed and their loved ones.”