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Wednesday, October 14, 2015, 09:59

Missile blamed for downing MH17 jet

By Agencies

The Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 crash that killed 298 people in July last year was caused by a Buk missile system, the Dutch Safety Board concluded in one of its final reports on Tuesday.

The long-awaited findings of the board, which was not empowered to address questions of responsibility, did not specify who launched the missile.

But Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte called on Russia to cooperate fully with the criminal investigation into who was responsible for the downing.

The chairman of the Dutch Safety Board, Tjibbe Joustra, told a news conference, "Flight MH17 crashed as a result of the detonation of a warhead outside the airplane against the left hand side of the cockpit.

"This warhead fits the kind of missile that is installed in the BUK surface-to-air missile system.

"Additional forensic evidence is needed to determine the location of the launch," Joustra said.

Dutch investigators said the missile exploded less than a meter from the cockpit, killing three crew there.

The aircraft, a Boeing 777-200 traveling from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur, broke up in the air and crashed over a large area in eastern Ukraine controlled by rebels who had been fighting government troops there since April last year.

The safety board also found that Ukraine had reason to close airspace over the conflict zone.

The findings were swiftly disputed by the missile maker Almaz-Antey, which has carried out its own investigation into the crash.

The Russian company said it had performed a test that disputed the Dutch version of events, and said the damage to the aircraft pointed to the use of an older type of missile.

Yan Novikov, director of Almaz-Antey, said, "The results of the experiment completely dispute the conclusions of the Dutch commission about the type of the rocket and the launch site."

Missile blamed for downing MH17 jet

Russian news agency Tass quoted Alexander Luzan, a former deputy chief of the Russian army air defense, as saying that the modification and type of the Buk missile, as well as the position of the Buk missile system that brought down the plane suggest that the Ukrainian Armed Forces might have downed it.

Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk blamed Russia's security service.

"I have no doubt that this was a planned operation of the Russian special services aimed at downing a civilian aircraft," Yatsenyuk told a televised Cabinet meeting.

Ukraine military downed MH17: Russia

Russian Almaz-Antei missile manufacturer said Tuesday that the Malaysian MH17 plane was shot down by 9M38 surface-to-air missile from the territory controlled by the Ukrainian military.

"Today we can say with certainty that if Boeing has been hit by a surface-to-air missile, it was by the 9M38 missile launched by the BUK-M1 air defense missile system from the vicinity of Zaroshchenskoye settlement (in southeastern Ukraine)," Almaz-Antei CEO Yan Novikov said at a press conference.

Novikov presented at a press conference results of two actual experiments done by specialists, which led to the conclusion that "completely contradict the results of the Dutch Safety Board on the type of missile and the launch location."According to Novikov, the missile was "for sure" being fired from Zaroshchenskoye village in southeastern Ukraine, which is under control of Ukrainian military forces rather than insurgents in the eastern Ukraine.

Reuters - AFP - Xinhua

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