International Criminal Investigation Team (JIT) believes that the missile that downed the flight MH17 of Malaysia Airlines above Ukraine in 2014 was provided by a Russian military unit. The conclusions were presented by a team of investigators from Australia, Belgium, Malaysia, the Netherlands and Ukraine, during a press conference on May 24, 2018, in Bunnik, the Netherlands.
On July 17, 2014, a Boeing 777 of Malaysia Airlines flying from Amsterdam (The Netherlands) to Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia) was shot down above Eastern Ukraine, near Donetsk. The 283 passengers (193 Dutch victims) and 15 crew members all died in the crash.
e anti air BUK missile that was allegedly used in the fatal accident was supplied by the 53rd anti-air brigade based in Kursk, Russia, said Wilbert Paulissen, a Dutch investigator of the JIT.
Shortly after the crash, in 2014, an independent journalist team named Bellingcat presented areport to the Dutch authorities identifying the missile as a Russian BUK. In October 2015, the Dutch Safety Board reached a similar conclusion.
A year later, in September 2016, using the photos and videos it collected, the JIT was able to recreate the path of the missile system from its base to the Ukrainian territory, and back into Russia. It also stated that the missile was shot from pro-Russian rebel-controlled territory.
To support their conclusions, the JIT only presented open-source videos and pictures already used by Bellingcat in their report. However, they affirmed possessing additional evidence that would only be disclosed in a courtroom.
“We are entering the last phase of the investigation,” said Dutch prosecutor Fred Westerbeke. The Dutch authorities informed that any law procedures that would follow the investigation would be judged by a court in The Netherlands.
Whether the Russian troops or pro-Russian separatists shot the missile is yet to be determined. However, Russia has repeatedly denied the conclusions of both Bellingcat and JIT investigations.
After the 2016 JIT report, the Russian Ministry of Defense spokesperson Igor Konashenkovcommented : “I remind that all data presented…in the briefing of the investigation team had two main sources – the internet and the Ukrainian special services. Therefore, the impartiality of this data and consequently the conclusions made on its basis cannot help but cause doubts”.