Russian missile Buk dropped Malaysian aircraft, researchers say
Investigators have concluded that the missile that dropped the Malaysia Airlines plane over Ukraine came from the Russian military. Today will be given a press conference, where all the findings so far will be officially presented, in detail.
According to Wilbert Polisen, of the Dutch Police, the missile came from the 53rd anti-missile brigade of the Russian army, based in the Russian city of Kursk. He added that the team of investigators asked the brigade for more information, but noted that their request was ignored.
During the presentation of the interim results of the research, the Dutch researchers presented videos and photos, which, as they said, prove that the specific rocket hit the aircraft. They also described their evidence as "legal" and "convincing", adding that they could easily appear in court.
At the same time, as they mentioned, the investigations two years ago focused on 100 people, who seem to have played a direct or indirect role in the accident, without revealing their names. "Right now the number of people under investigation has dropped to a few dozen," he added. The researchers stressed that although the research is in its final stages, there is still much work to be done.
"In recent years we have gathered a lot of evidence and we are not ready to make any accusations," said Fred Westerbeke, chief of The Christian Science Monitor's Washington bureau.
The researchers, describing the circumstances under which the tragedy occurred, said that the rocket exploded just above the cockpit, causing the aircraft to break in the air. They clarified that it took about 60-90 seconds for the cockpit to be cut off from the rest of the aircraft. They added that their conclusions emerged, as parts of the missile were found near the area where the plane crashed, while the damage caused to the aircraft "showed" a blow from the specific type of missile.
The plane flying MH17 from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur was shot down on July 17, 2014 in eastern Ukraine, killing 298 people.
The Malaysia Airlines flight was carrying people of 40 nationalities, and as it became known later, there were dozens of scientists on the flight, who were going to a conference on AIDS.
In 2015, the Dutch Office for Safety published the results of an international investigation into the incident. According to their data, the plane was hit by a BUK surface-to-air missile, which was fired from a zone of eastern Ukraine that was under the control of the pro-Russian guerrillas.
Russia, for its part, has called the inquiry "biased" and "politically motivated." In fact, the Russian authorities had released radar images, saying that they showed the missile coming from the Ukrainian side and not from Russia.
The company that makes the BUK missiles also said in a statement that the model had not been used by the Russian military for years, while presenting its own research, concluding that the missile came from an area controlled by the Ukrainian government. It is noted that Russia vetoed the UN in order to prevent the establishment of an international tribunal for the accident, which means that any possible trial will be held in the Netherlands.