14:29 Sep. 28, 2016
International team of prosecutors named the weapon used to bring down MH17 and the precise location from which this weapon was launched
Joint Investigation Team (JIT), investigating the downing of MH17 flight over Donbas in 2014, says the missile that hit the plane was fired from territory controlled by Russian-backed militants. They said the missile launcher was brought into Ukraine from Russia and returned back after hitting the plane. The prosecutors claim they would investigate about 100 people over the incident, but didn't give any names yes.
As reported earlier, according to Dutch media, Joint Investigation Team (JIT) concluded that the "Buk" launcher, which downed Malaysian Boeing in Donbas, was brought into the territory of Ukraine from Russia. This is stated in a preliminary conclusion of the JIT, given by the prosecutor Fred Westerbeke to the relatives of the passengers, killed in the plane crash.
Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 was hit by a surface-to-air missile while en route from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur and all 298 people aboard were killed.
At the time of the disaster, Ukrainian government forces were engaged in heavy fighting with Russia-controlled separatists. The Boeing 777 broke apart in midair, flinging wreckage over several kilometres of fields in the militant-held territory.
The incident played a significant part in a decision by the European Union and the United States to impose sanctions on Russia over the Ukraine conflict, and East-West tensions escalated to levels not seen since the end of Cold War.
As Ukraine Today reported, the team of prosecutors from the Netherlands, Australia, Belgium, Malaysia and Ukraine planned a news conference at 11:00 GMT (14:00 Kyiv time) to deliver conclusions "with regard to the weapon that was used to bring down Flight MH17 and the precise location from which this weapon was launched", a group statement said.
Ukrainian and Western officials, citing intelligence intercepts, have blamed Russian-backed rebels for the incident. Russia has always denied direct involvement in the Ukraine conflict and rejects responsibility for the destruction of MH17, but blamed Ukraine for the disaster and also for obstructing the MH17 investigation.
A civilian investigation into the cause of the July 17, 2014, incident conducted by the Dutch Safety Board concluded last year that the airliner had been downed by a Russian-made ‘Buk' missile, which was brought from Russia and launched from eastern Ukraine.
But the board was not tasked with assigning blame, and prosecutors must conduct their own investigation if evidence assembled is ever to be used in court.
Dutch prosecutors have sought legal assistance from Moscow since October 2014, and visited in person for a week in July, but "Russian authorities … have not answered all questions," and even blocked MH17 crash probes, so they had to be extended for another 9 months. State-backed Russian TV report on MH17 was also discredited for use of fake photos. A Kremlin-backed militant leader even claimed personally witnessing Ukrainian aircraft shooting down MH17, but current Russian official position proved the previous ones were a fake.
Independent investigators like Bellingcat group presented their own conclusions and even photos of Russian Buk missile system, which had allegedly downed MH17.
In 2015 Malaysian, Australian, Dutch, Belgian and Ukrainian delegations proposed a United Nations-backed tribunal to prosecute the case, but Russia cast a veto in the UN Security Council to block the motion. This decision was condemned by global leaders.