Thursday, 18 October, 2018

Investigation Finds Russian Missile Shot Down Flight MH17

The MH17 plane after the crash in the Donetsk region of Ukraine in July 2014.   Reuters The MH17 plane after the crash in the Donetsk region of Ukraine in July 2014. Reuters
Steven Clarke | 27 May, 2018, 01:26

Russia's defense ministry meanwhile said it had nothing to do with the incident, Interfax news agency reported.

A Joint Investigation Team, drawn from Australia, Belgium, Malaysia, the Netherlands and Ukraine, is gathering evidence for a criminal prosecution in the downing of the plane.

The investigators' findings support earlier conclusions from the United Kingdom "citizen investigative journalist" group Bellingcat, which said more than two years ago that photographs from the day the plane was shot down linked the Buk missile to Russia's 53rd brigade in Kursk, as NPR's Corey Flintoff wrote at the time.

"The next crucially important step is to identify some members of the military in the 53rd brigade of the Armed Forces of (Russia).who can directly say who was involved in the transfer or operation of the Buk".

On Thursday, Russia rejected the investigation's conclusions and pointed the finger at Ukraine instead. Any suspects will probably be tried in absentia in the Netherlands because Russian Federation vetoed a U.N. Security Council resolution to block an worldwide tribunal.

The investigators showed pictures that they said traced the route the missile convoy had taken to reach eastern Ukraine.

Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said the global community should be concerned about Russia's involvement in an attack that killed so many people.

Mo Salah Exits Champions League Final vs. Real Madrid with Shoulder Injury
Liverpool and Real Madrid will face off in the Champions League final in Kiev, Ukraine on Saturday. He said: "No final decision yet but really not looking good - unable to resolve flight situation".

But the global investigative team said their findings stood independently and that they possessed additional information to buttress their conclusions that they would unveil only in eventual courtroom proceedings.

"If we ever met those families perhaps we could start a conversation, for we would already know a central truth about each other's lives".

But Moscow quickly rejected the accusation, saying no such weapon had ever crossed the Russian-Ukrainian border and that it was an attempt to "discredit Russia in the eyes of the worldwide community".

Investigators also detonated a Buk missile to compare the debris to that found in the fields and bodies of MH17 victims, according to Australian federal police commander Jennifer Hurst.

In a written statement, Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said: "That a sophisticated weapon belonging to the Russian army was dispatched and used to shoot down a civilian aircraft should be of grave worldwide concern". In 2016, JIT confirmed that the missile type that downed the aircraft, agreeing with the Ukrainian theory that the BUK missile system was transported from Russian on July 17, 2014, and then fired from a rebel-controlled area. In a sign that some evidence is still missing, the JIT repeated a call for those with information about the incident to come forward, including information about the 53rd brigade, promising anonymity. It said a video presented at the news conference was based on "fabricated" data.

The airliner was hit by a Russian-made missile on July 17, 2014, with 298 people on board, two-thirds of them Dutch, over territory held by pro-Russian separatists. The Russian government has long denied direct involvement in the conflict.

After a series of Russian media claims of Ukrainian responsibility were all shown to be false, Moscow appears to have settled on the idea that it was "impossible to tell" which side was responsible.

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