Australia considers diplomatic action against Russian Federation over MH17 findings

A damaged missile is displayed during a news conference by members of the Joint Investigation Team comprising the authorities from Australia Belgium Malaysia the Netherlands and Ukraine who present interim results in the ongoing investigation of the 2

On Thursday, a Dutch-led worldwide team of investigators said they had strong evidence that the Buk missile system that brought down the Amsterdam-Kuala Lumpur flight came from a Russia-based military unit, the 53rd anti-aircraft missile brigade based in the Russian city of Kursk.

Australia and the Netherlands have formally accused Russian Federation of being responsible for downing the MH17 passenger jet in 2014.

Dutch Foreign Minister Stef Blok said a possible next step would be presenting the case to an worldwide court, though first the Netherlands and Australia would seek a more substantial reaction from Moscow.

On July 17, 2014, a Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777-200, with the flight number MH17, took off from Amsterdam, the Netherlands, to the Malaysian capital of Kuala Lumpur.

"From the first hours after the tragedy, Russia's Defense Ministry has consistently refuted the Ukrainian insinuations that allege Russian armed forces were complicit in the catastrophe in Ukraine's airspace and have passed the relevant evidence to the Dutch investigative group", Russia's defense ministry said in a statement.

It goes somewhat further in that it identifies the suppliers of the Buk missile and missile launcher as a specific Russian military unit, and says that particular unit had control of both before the missile was sacked from a farm near the village of Pervomaisk, in eastern Ukraine.

On Thursday, Dutch-led worldwide investigators concluded that the missile belonged to a Russian brigade.

However, there's no doubt that the report poses real political problems for the countries most affected by the disaster - in which 298 passengers and crew died, including 80 children and three infants - not least in terms of how they deal with Vladimir Putin's Russian Federation. "We are discussing these findings with our partners and considering our options".

And Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, who said he had spoken to his Dutch counterpart, drew parallels with the poisoning of former Russian spy Sergei Skripal in the UK.

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Bellingcat said it had established that before his deployment to the Donbas in 2014, Ivannikov served as the "defense minister" of South Ossetia - a part of Georgia that has been occupied by Russia since the Russian-Georgian war in 2008.

It said on Friday that fragments indicated the Soviet-made missile was made in 1986, but that the Russian military decommissioned missiles of that type in 2011.

Bodies, debris and burning wreckage were strewn over a field of sunflowers near the rebel-held village of Hrabove in the Donetsk region of eastern Ukraine, about 25 miles from the Russian border, where fighting had been raging for months. The worldwide community has witnessed this irresponsible and destabilising pattern of behaviour in Russia's illegal annexation of Crimea, in its fomenting of conflict in eastern Ukraine which has led to the death of over 10,300 people, and in its shielding of President Assad's brutal regime as he uses chemical weapons against his own people.

"The impartiality of this data and consequently the conclusions made on its basis can not help but cause doubts", the general said.

The team of global investigators, however, found that "all the vehicles in a convoy carrying the missile were part of the Russian armed forces".

Westerbeke said the Joint Investigation Team, or JIT, is not yet ready to name suspects, but added: "I can say that we are now entering the ... last phase of the investigation".

Investigation officials have not yet said who actually fired the missile, stressing that the probe continues.

Moscow has rejected Thursday's accusations, saying no such weapon had ever crossed the Russian-Ukrainian border.

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