Dutch, Australia name Russia as behind MH17 downing

US has 'complete confidence' in probe conclusion that Russian missile downed MH17

US has 'complete confidence' in probe conclusion that Russian missile downed MH17

Researchers from the British-based group Bellingcat have published a report that, for the first time, establishes what they say is the involvement of a high-ranking Russian military intelligence officer in connection with the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 (MH17) over eastern Ukraine in 2014.

"On the basis of the JIT's conclusions, the Netherlands and Australia are now convinced that Russian Federation is responsible for the deployment of the BUK installation that was used to down MH17", he added.

In a written statement, Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said: "That a sophisticated weapon belonging to the Russian Army was dispatched and used to shoot down a civilian aircraft should be of grave global concern".

"Australia and the Kingdom of the Netherlands request that the Russian Federation enters into negotiations with them in relation to these breaches of worldwide law by the Russian Federation and the legal consequences that flow from them".

In September 2016, Dutch investigators concluded that the flight en route from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur was brought down by a Buk missile system fired from rebel-held territory in Ukraine.

The Netherlands and Australia say they are holding Russia legally responsible for the plane's downing after worldwide investigators concluded that the missile that hit the plane came from a Russian military unit, accusations Russia has rejected.

The May 25 report comes a day after the Dutch-led global Joint Investigative Team (JIT) said it had concluded the Buk missile that downed the MH17 was sacked by Russia's 53rd Antiaircraft Missile Brigade from separatist-controlled territory in eastern Ukraine.

Al Jazeera's Rory Challands, reporting from Russia's second biggest city of St Petersburg, said the evidence provided by a Joint Investigation Team (JIT) led the Netherlands and Australia to believe that Russian Federation was responsible.

He accused the Dutch of using the tragedy to "achieve their own political goals".

MH17's high-altitude flight path was thought to be safe, despite warnings about the rebels' missile capability.

However, investigators said they could not yet say with certainty that it was the exact missile used to down MH17.

So, we still find the whole episode to be "misleading", much like a succession of claims by the Russian government and Russian state media - such as the claim that a Ukrainian fighter shot it down or that is was a Ukrainian government Buk missile, among many other claims that have since been thoroughly debunked.

"All the vehicles in a convoy carrying the missile were part of the Russian armed forces", said Wilbert Paulissen, of the Dutch National Police, at a news conference on Thursday. The missile engine casing showed the number 9 д 1318869032 - a code investigators say indicates the missile was produced in Moscow in 1986.

Russian President Vladimir Putin's spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, rejected the accusations.

New Zealand has joined the chorus of worldwide condemnation following the findings of an global investigation into the downing of Malaysian Airlines flight MH17. But they are appealing for further information, especially about the BUK system's crew, and who ordered the plane to be shot down.

They have identified two people, who go by the aliases Orion and Delfin, as top suspects after obtaining their wire-tapped conversations before and after the plane was shot out of the sky.

Dutch officials are now considering criminal proceedings against the Russian military over the attack, which killed 196 Dutch citizens.

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