It's Official: MH17 Was Shot Down By Russian Buk Missile

However, the Russian propaganda machinery is pointing fingers at Ukraine.

  • Cover image via SMH

On Wednesday, Dutch prosecutors investigating the downing of MH17 over Ukraine in 2014, officially confirmed what was already documented: MH17 was shot down by a Russian Buk missile system

However, while the Joint Investigation Team (JIT), consisting of investigators from the Netherlands, Australia, Belgium, Malaysia, and Ukraine, confirmed that the system used in shooting down the MH17 came from Russia, it stopped short of directly blaming Moscow of involvement in the tragedy that killed 298 people.

Wilbert Paulissen, a member of the JIT, said that the Russian-made Buk missile that brought down MH17 "was brought in from the territory of the Russian Federation and after launch was subsequently returned to Russian Federation territory."

The missile, he said, had been fired from a field about 6km from the village of Snizhne, which at the time of the launch "was under the control of pro-Russian fighters."

Dutch prosecutor Fred Westerbeke, in charge of the international investigation, who is "fully confident" that if more progress were made, those responsible could be brought to trial, declined to comment when asked about Russia's involvement in the crash.

This video reconstruction, shown at the press conference, revealed the Buk's journey from rebel-held Donetsk on a low-loader heading east. After arriving in Snizhne on the afternoon of 17 July, it was offloaded and drove to a field south of town. Next day, it was taken back across the Russian border via the rebel-held city of Luhansk:

Moscow, on the other hand, described the investigation as "biased" and "politically motivated" and pointed fingers right back at Ukraine

While Dmitry Peskov, Vladimir Putin’s press spokesman, was quoted by The Guardian saying that "the whole story is unfortunately surrounded by a huge amount of speculation and unqualified unprofessional information," newly appointed head of the Foreign Affairs Committee in Russia's Parliament, Leonid Slutsky, told the RBC newspaper that "the conclusions of the working group on the crash of the Malaysian Boeing are extremely politicised. I don’t believe any of their conclusions."

Eduard Basurin, a representative of the Russia-backed separatist forces in Donetsk, said the rebels "couldn't have shot down the Boeing" because they did not have Buk anti-aircraft missiles, adding that no one had seen the US satellite imagery that allegedly recorded the missile launch. He instead accused Ukraine of not presenting information on "what aircraft were in the air at the time", even though the Russian military has backtracked on its claims that a Ukrainian jet could have shot down MH17.

Maria Zakharova, a spokesperson for the Foreign Ministry in Moscow, criticised the west, saying, "to arbitrarily designate a guilty party and dream up the desired results has become the norm for our Western colleagues. The investigation to this day continues to ignore incontestable evidence from the Russian side despite the fact that Russia is practically the only one sending reliable information to them."

Family members of the victims are grateful to the JIT for having put "some of the conspiracies" around the flight to rest. However, one Malaysian family wants the JIT to continue its investigations, saying they will never be satisfied until the perpetrators were exposed.

Norlin Mohd Noor, the sister of victim Noor Rahimmah, told reporters at her house in Tambun that she is "still haunted by the thought why the aircraft was shot down."

She and her family want those responsible for the tragedy to be punished appropriately as the shooting down of the MH17 was "very cruel".

Image via CNN

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