Dutch minister: MH17 investigation points to Russian involvement

All 298 people on board were killed when the Malaysian Airlines jet was shot down over Ukraine in 2014

An worldwide team of investigators says that detailed analysis of video images has established that the Buk missile that brought down Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 almost four years ago came from a Russia-based military unit.

Investigators on Thursday said the missile that shot down the plane was sacked from a missile launcher in Russia's 53rd Anti-Aircraft Brigade, but stopped short of saying who actually fired the fatal shot.

The Netherlands and Australia say they are holding Russia legally responsible for the plane's downing after worldwide investigators concluded that the missile that hit the plane came from a Russian military unit.

Meanwhile, the Dutch government said on May 25 that the Netherlands and Australia will hold Russian Federation legally responsible for shooting down MH17 and the deaths of all 298 people on board.

The German government supports calls for those who shot down MH17 to be held accountable for their actions, government spokeswoman Martina Fietz told reporters.

In its report, the JIT also showed fragments of the missile that supposedly shot down the Boeing 777 plane with serial number included.

A team of worldwide investigators this week blamed a Russian military unit operating in Ukraine for the crime.

"On the basis of all collected evidence [.] Bellingcat and its reporting partners conclude with very high certainty that Oleg Vladimirovich Ivannikov, born on 2 April 1967, is the person of interest whose identity was sought by the [Dutch-led worldwide investigation]", the outlet said.

On Thursday, the JIT concluded a Russian-manufactured missile was responsible for shooting the passenger jet out of the sky over Eastern Ukraine.

Although the BUK missile had indeed been manufactured in the Soviet Union in 1986 "all the missiles made that year were withdrawn from service in 2011", the ministry said. The missile was "certainly not" Russian, he said. The Russian Defense Ministry also alleged that the missile belonged to Ukrainian forces.

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An global team of investigators confirm that a Russian Buk missile brought down Malaysia Airlines Flight 17.

All 298 people on board were killed.

In February 2017, Belligcat also identified a retired Russian officer, Sergei Dubinskiy, as been one of those directly responsible for transporting the Buk missile unit from the military base in Kursk to the occupied Donbas and back again in July 2014.

She also said those responsible for the downing of flight should be held accountable in line with global standards, the release said.

Russia's President Vladimir Putin has responded to the accusations made by the investigation team saying, "To acknowledge what is written there [in the Dutch report] we need to fully participate in the investigation".

Westerbeke said investigators were not yet ready to identify individual suspects publicly or to issue indictments, but that when they do he expects cooperation, or a firm global political response.

Australia and the Netherlands have said they hold Russian Federation legally responsible for the downing of Malaysia Airlines flight 17 over Ukraine in 2014 and will seek reparations for relatives of the 298 people killed.

The announcement Friday came a day after worldwide investigators announced that the missile system that brought down the Amsterdam-Kuala Lumpur flight came from a Russia-based military unit.

In a 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".

Ms Bishop said Australia, Belgium, Malaysia, the Netherlands and Ukraine were now "considering options" towards prosecution as they pursue justice for those who lost their lives and their families.

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