Investigators today revealed the evidence they believe proves Russia was responsible for downing Flight MH17، killing 298 people، including 80 children، as the Daily Mail said.
The Malaysia Airlines jet was on its way from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur when it was shot down by a Russian BUK missile over eastern Ukraine on July 17، 2014.
The international team of investigators have now been able to link the missile found in the wreckage of the downed jet to a Russian military unit which was operating within Ukraine at the time.
It is the clearest link yet published by the team to the involvement of the Russian military in the deadly missile strike.
Parts of the missile had been seen before، but today investigators displayed parts of the engine casing and exhaust system of the missile، including the unique serial number and Russian writing.
serial number and Cyrillic writing - 'Opera Izdelia' and 'Data Sborki 15:13:86' which means 'Device support، Assembly date 15:13:86' - had given the team a 'fingerprint' identifying it and where it was made.
While investigators had known that the missile was Russian made، they had previously not been able to determine if it had been fired by Moscow forces.
Prosecutors showed photos and videos of a truck convoy carrying the system as it crossed the border from Russia to Ukraine. It crossed back several days later with one missile missing. The vehicles had serial numbers and other markings that were unique to the 53rd brigade، an anti-aircraft unit based in the western Russian city of Kursk، they said. They were able to link the missile found in the wreckage with the missile launch system.
'The Buk that was used came from the Russian army، the 53rd brigade،' Chief Dutch Prosecutor Fred Westerbeke said. 'We know that was used، but the people in charge of this Buk، we don't know.'
Investigators appealed to the public to come forward and help identify members of the crew who operated the missile and determine how high up the chain of command the order originate.
Found it: Investigators analysed video and photos from social media tracing the journey of the Russian missile convoy، pictured، into Ukraine which identified the missile launcher systemFound it: Investigators analysed video and photos from social media tracing the journey of the Russian missile convoy، pictured، into Ukraine which identified the missile launcher system
Prosecutors said they have presented their findings to Moscow and are seeking answers، but so far have not received a response.
Instead، the Russian defence ministry chose to release a statement on Thursday afternoon، rejecting the findings publicly.
'Not a single anti-aircraft missile system from the Russian Federation has ever crossed the Russia-Ukraine border،' the defence ministry said in a statement carried by local news agencies. Later، Moscow said the findings were an attempt to discredit the nation.
'It is clear that these gratuitous accusations are an attempt to discredit our nation in the eyes of the international community،' the Russian foreign ministry said.
The ministry accused Ukraine of being behind the disaster in which 298 people died، saying it had presented evidence that 'showed the involvement of Ukrainian units using (Soviet-designed) BUK missiles'.
Speaking at today's press conference، Dutch investigator Wilbert Paulissen said the Joint Investigation Team had 'come to the conclusion that the BUK-TELAR that shot down MH17 came from 53rd Anti-aircraft Missile Brigade based in Kursk in Russia.
'All the vehicles in a convoy carrying the missile were part of the Russian armed forces،' Mr Paulissen told a press conference in Bunnik، Netherlands، today.
The investigators had previously concluded that the plane was brought down by a BUK missile fired from territory in Ukraine held by Moscow-backed rebels، but had stopped short of directly saying who pulled the trigger.
The probe being led by The Netherlands is focusing on some 100 people suspected of having played an 'active role' in the incident، but investigators have not yet publicly named any suspects.
Chief investigator Fred Westerbeke said Thursday the probe was now in its 'last phase' but added there was 'still work to be done'.