MH17 crashed over territory held by Ukrainian rebels in July 2014, killing all 298 aboard, most of them Dutch citizens. The discovery of the fragments marks the first time that investigators have confirmed potential physical evidence related to the crash.
“We found seven pieces and we found they were not part of the airplane. Further investigation gives us now the conclusion that it’s probably part of the missile system and of a BUK missile system,” said Fred Westerbeke, Chief Investigator of the Joint International Team.
The chief investigator added the next step is to establish whether this could be the missile system which downed MH17.
Meanwhile, Dutch prosecutors said on Tuesday that they would enlist the help of weapons and forensics experts to establish the origin of the parts.
Experts and Western governments have accused rebels of shooting down the passenger aircraft. Moscow says it was hit by a Ukrainian fighter jet, and also vetoed a Dutch-led proposal to establish a UN tribunal last month.
In a statement with the Dutch Safety Board, the investigation team said that the fragments are important to the criminal investigation as they can possibly provide more information about “who was involved in the crash of MH17”.
A full report on the criminal investigation into the crash is due by the end of 2015.