MH17: Possible Russian missile fragments found in Ukraine

World Today

A picture taken on July 26, 2014 shows flowers left by the parents of an Australian passenger on the wreckage of the Malaysia Airlines MH17 near the village of Hrabove (Grabove) in the Donetsk region. Investigators probing the shooting down of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 over eastern Ukraine said on August 11, 2015 they had identified pieces that “possibly” come from a Russian-made BUK missile, where the plane crashed. Flight MH17 was shot down on July 17, 2014 killing all 298 people on board during heavy fighting between Kiev’s armed forces and pro-Russian separatists. AFP PHOTO / BULENT KILIC

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.