Missile that brought down MH17 belonged to Russian military, say investigators

Data from Netherlands probe underscores Russia's direct responsibility for MH17 disaster

Data from Netherlands probe underscores Russia's direct responsibility for MH17 disaster

The investigators previously revealed that the used to shoot down MH17 was t.

Fred Westerbeke, chief prosecutor of the Dutch prosecutor's office, presents interim results in the ongoing investigation. However, the investigators have apparently failed to move any further than British online investigative activist group Bellingcat, which presented their report almost one year ago and made the same allegations.

He said that after studying all available photos and footage, investigators had traced the convoy to Russia's 53rd brigade, a 300-strong unit based in the Russian city of Kursk.

The team cited distinctive identifying marks on recovered missile fragments that it says ties it directly to the 53rd brigade, which is based close to the Ukrainian border.

Two investigations carried out in the Netherlands have proceeded more slowly to reach the same conclusions, drawing on evidence gathered methodically in the ensuing years.

All 298 passengers and crew, a lot of them Dutch, were killed in the disaster.

FILE - Malaysian investigators along with members of the OSCE mission in Ukraine, examine a piece of the crashed Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 in the village of Petropavlivka, Donetsk region, eastern Ukraine, July 23, 2014.

The joint probe team says the missile was sacked by Russia's 53rd Anti-Aircraft Brigade.

Data from Netherlands probe underscores Russia's direct responsibility for MH17 disaster

Thursday's presentation went a step further by identifying the exact unit allegedly involved in the transport.

A Dutch Safety Board investigation concluded in an October 2015 report the jet was brought down by a Russian-made Buk missile.

Westerbeke also called members of the public with knowledge about "control and use" of the missile to help the investigation, saying JIT "no longer wants to turn exclusively to the Russian authorities to obtain information on this subject".

Investigators also detonated a Buk missile to compare the debris to that found in the fields and bodies of MH17 victims, according to Australian federal police commander Jennifer Hurst.

In the aftermath of the downing of the jet, Russian state media floated a number of conspiracy theories that attempted to spread disinformation about the incident.

Anybody charged criminally in connection with downing the plane would face justice in Dutch courts, but it is unlikely that Russia would be willing to extradite citizens to face charges, and eastern Ukraine remains in the hands of pro-Russian rebels, inaccessible to Western law enforcement.

After a series of Russian media claims of Ukrainian responsibility were all shown to be false, Moscow appears to have settled on the idea that it was "impossible to tell" which side was responsible.

Australian foreign minister Julie Bishop said the countries that make up the joint investigative team were now "considering options" about how to proceed.

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