Originally appeared at RT
A Dutch-led team of international investigators has released its findings in the criminal probe on the MH17 crash, concluding the plane was shot down by rebels in eastern Ukraine by a Buk missile system brought from Russia. Moscow has repeatedly denied supplying weapons to the rebels.
The Joint Investigation Team (JIT) consists of investigators and experts from the Netherlands, Belgium, Australia, Malaysia and Ukraine. The team was tasked with determining who was responsible for the incident in which Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 came down over eastern Ukraine on July 17, 2014.
“Based on the results of the criminal investigation, it may be concluded that flight MH17 was shot down on July 17, 2014, by a 9M38-series missile from a Buk missile launcher and [it] was brought from the territory of the Russian Federation and after launch subsequently returned to the Russian Federation territory,” said Wilbert Paulissen, the director of the National Criminal Investigation Division of National Police of the Netherlands.
The Dutch-led Joint Investigative Team says that a technical problem and an “attack within the aircraft,” such as a terrorist assault, can be ruled out.
No other aircraft could have shot down the plane either, the JIT says, citing various radar data, including that provided by Russia.
The JIT presented an audio recording that allegedly proves that rebel forces voiced a need for a Buk missile system, and subsequently received one.
According to the JIT, the team investigated the claims by Russia that the plane was shot down from Zaroschenske, held by Ukrainian forces. Citing an alleged audio interception of the rebels, the JIT concluded that the missile did not come from that territory.
International investigators instead say that flight MH17 was shot down from the village of Pervomayskoye, held by rebel forces at the time of the incident.
About 100 people could be linked to the alleged transportation of the Buk missile system to eastern Ukraine and the missile launch, the JIT announced. There should however be a further investigation, the team added.
According to the JIT, it is not clear how long it will take for investigators to establish the exact roles of the people allegedly linked to the incident.
Investigators added that it is not clear whether the downing might have been a mistake. However, according to some audio recordings, “people were surprised” after it was revealed which plane had been brought down, the JIT said.
The Dutch-led investigators said they did not have an opportunity to analyze new Russian radar data on the incident. Almaz-Antey, which produces the Buk missile system, said that last week it handed over raw radar data from the airspace around the crash site of MH17 on the very day of the tragedy.
The radar, located in Russia, had not spotted any objects that came from the rebel-held territories towards the crashed jet, the radar producer said.
The JIT says that the radar images provided by Russia will be reviewed by the investigation team.
Ukraine and its foreign sponsors repeatedly accused Russia of arming and supporting the rebels, an accusation that Moscow denies. Almost immediately after MH17 was downed, Western media and some governments blamed Russia, claiming Moscow had either provided the Buk system to the rebels or sent its regular troops to take down Ukrainian warplanes on their behalf.
Russia denied the accusations on numerous occasions. It also challenged Kiev’s claims that Ukraine had neither warplanes nor Buk systems in the area by producing public satellite and radar images showing evidence to the contrary.