The Buk missile that shot down Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 in Ukraine’s Donetsk region in 2014 belongs to the 53rd Anti-Aircraft Missile Brigade of the Russian Defense Ministry, investigators have found.
Head of the Dutch National Police criminal investigations department Wilbert Paulissen announced this finding during a meeting of the Joint Investigative Team, which includes Ukrainian authorities, during a press conference in the Netherlands.
Hromadske spoke to Eliot Higgins, the founder of Bellingcat, about the investigation results.
Paulissen said their investigation has confirmed that the plane was shot down by a Buk that came to Ukraine’s non-government controlled territory from the Russian Federation.
Malaysia Airlines’ Boeing 777, which was travelling from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur, was shot down when it flew over conflict-affected Donbas on July 17, 2014. All 298 passengers and crew members on board were killed.
Paulissen added that the investigators managed to establish a "fingerprint" – or unique features – of the missile that shot down aircraft. Investigators say this “fingerprint” proves the missile belongs to the Russian military.
This is the first time investigators have published information on such a “fingerprint.”
According to Paulissen, hundreds of people are continuing work on the investigation.
On May 23, relatives of victims of the MH17 disaster wrote a letter to Russia, blaming the state and its leaders for the tragedy ahead of the World Cup, which will be held there this summer. There will be a “shadow” over the event, they wrote.
The Dutch Security Council commission, which is investigating the causes of the catastrophe, released a report on October 13, 2015, stating that the plane was shot down by a surface-to-air missile, launched from the Buk missile system. According to the official report of the investigation commission, MH17 was shot down by a Russian Buk from the occupied territory in the Donbas.
Later, group of Bellingcat independent investigators released a report stating that Russian Major General Sergey Dubinsky was involved in the crash. Dubinsky himself rejects claims of his involvement in the disaster. Then, Novaya Gazeta journalists found Sergey Tyunov – an Afghanistan veteran and now the leader of a Zaporizhia self-defense group – who served with Dubinsky. Tyunov confirmed that it was Dubinsky’s voice on the recording of a telephone conversation intercepted by an international investigation team.