MALAYSIA AIRLINES FLIGHT 17 Probe: Missile launcher from Russia downed jet


Associated Press

NIEUWEGEIN, Netherlands

An international criminal probe concluded that a missile which destroyed a Malaysian passenger jet over Ukraine in 2014 and killed all 298 people aboard was fired from rebel-controlled territory by a mobile launcher trucked in from Russia and hastily returned there.

The report, released Wednesday, was “solid proof” of a Russian role in the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, Ukraine’s president said. But Moscow immediately denounced the findings of the Dutch-led inquiry as “biased and politically motivated.”

Investigators have identified 100 people they want to speak to who are believed to have been involved in transporting the Buk missile launcher or its use, chief prosecutor Fred Westerbeke said at a news conference.

The Boeing 777, flying from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, was blown out of the sky July 17, 2014, in eastern Ukraine amid fierce fighting between Russia-backed separatists and Ukrainian troops. Ukraine immediately blamed the rebels, although they and the Kremlin have consistently denied any involvement.

The Joint Investigation Team, led by prosecutors and police from the Netherlands, made its preliminary findings public after interviewing more than 200 witnesses, listening to 150,000 intercepted phone calls, examining half a million photos and video recordings, consulting radar and satellite images, and sifting through dozens of containers filled with wreckage from the jet.

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