MH17: Dutch-led team to pinpoint Buk missile launch site

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Themorningbellbd.com desk, September 28: An international team of prosecutors investigating the downing of flight MH17 over eastern Ukraine in 2014 will release its findings on Wednesday.

All 298 people on board the Boeing 777 died when it broke apart in midair flying from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur.mh17_missile_launch_locations

An earlier inquiry by the Dutch Safety Board concluded that a Russian-made Buk missile hit the plane.

Now a Dutch-led crime team will pinpoint where the missile was fired, but will stop short of naming suspects.

Prosecutors from Australia, Belgium, Malaysia and Ukraine are also part of the Joint Investigation Team (JIT).

Who was to blame?

Pro-Russian rebels have been blamed by Ukraine and the West for shooting down the plane on 17 July 2014.

Ukrainian government forces were involved in heavy fighting with pro-Russian separatists at the time.

The Dutch Safety Board (DSB) report said in October 2015 that the missile was fired from a 320 sq km area south-east of where the plane came down and the head of the DSB said the area was under rebel control.

Russia itself has denied any involvement, including allegations that the Buk missile launcher had come from Russian territory. But after the attack, the European Union and US extended sanctions on Russia that had been introduced after the Ukraine conflict began.

Earlier this week, Russia produced radar images which, it argued, showed that the missile could not have come from rebel-held areas. Critics have pointed out that Russian officials have given three versions of events since the plane was shot down.

Russia’s changing story

In the two years since MH17 was shot dead, Russian officials have presented several theories about what happened.this-week-russia-presented-radar-images-which-it-said-showed-the-missile-could-not-have-been-fired-from-rebel-territory

21 July 2014: Four days after the tragedy, Russia’s defence ministry presented satellite photos and other images suggesting it was downed by a Ukrainian surface-to-air Buk missile or a Ukrainian military jet

June 2015: Russia’s Investigations Committee named a “key witness” – a Ukrainian “aircraft ordnance technician” – who claimed that the Boeing was downed by a Ukrainian Su-25 fighter

November 2015: Buk missile producer Almaz-Antey said that the plane was indeed downed by a Buk, but an old one – which Russia no longer had in its arsenal

September 2015: Russia’s defence ministry released what it said were radar data suggesting MH17 was shot down by a missile, but not one fired by Russian-backed rebels

Source: BBC

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