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MH17 crash investigators call not to rush with accusations against Russia

September 28, 15:55 UTC+3
The Joint Investigation Team says there's evidence that the missile that downed Flight MH17 was launched from a point to the south of Snezhnoye, which was under control of militias
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© EPA/MAXIM SHIPENKOV

NIEUWEGEIN, September 28. /TASS/. It’s early to speak about any Russia’s involvement in the crash of MH17 in Donbass in July 2014, Dutch prosecutor Fred Westerbeke, who heads the Joint Investigation Team (JIT), told reporters on Wednesday.

The JIT has said in its report it is "convinced of having obtained irrefutable evidence to establish that on 17 July 2014, flight MH-17 was shot down by a BUK missile from the 9M38-series." According to the JIT, there is also evidence that the missile was launched from a farmland near Pervomayskoye to the south of Snezhnoye, which was under control of militias. "So far, the JIT has identified approximately 100 people who can be linked to the downing of MH17 or the transport of the BUK-TELAR," the report said.

The Dutch-led team has not so far identified any particular suspect, Westerbeke said, adding that it is early to speak about their nationality or any Russia’s involvement.

There is need to have the full picture of who had ordered to transport BUK or shot down the plane and whether they made the decision independently or upon someone’s order, Westerbeke told reporters.

The successful investigation into the MH17 crash may lead to international trial over the suspects, he said, adding that it is also early to speak about this now.

Meanwhile, Wilbert Paulissen,  the chief of the Dutch national detective force, claims says the Buk missile system that was used to shoot down the plane had been brought from Russia and the JIT managed to identify a large part of the route concerning the arrival of the system.

According to Paulissen, a 9M38 series missile was used. 

The debris and victims’ bodies were examined for the missile’s fragments. The investigators took apart several 9M38 missiles to see if the fragments were a perfect match.

Earlier, Buk’s manufacturer Almaz-Antey declared after studying the available information that an old type of missile might have been used - 9M38 armed with the 9N314 warhead. The last such missile was manufactured in 1986. All missiles of that type had been removed from service in Russia back in 2011.

On July 17, 2014, a Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 passenger airliner on flight MH17 from the Dutch city of Amsterdam to the Malaysian capital of Kuala Lumpur crashed in the Donetsk region in eastern Ukraine, killing all 298 people on board. Most passengers - 193 people - were Dutch nationals. The strike of a ground-to-air or air-to-air missile was named as a possible cause of the crash.

Ukraine’s authorities and the militia of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic accused each other of the tragedy. On July 21, the UN Security Council called to carry out an independent investigation. Russia’s representatives have said on many occasions they are dissatisfied with how the investigation was carried out and that the data presented by the Russian side were ignored.

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