The missile that shot down Malaysia Airlines’ MH17 flight over Ukraine in 2014, killing 298 people, was fired by a Russian military unit, an international investigation team said.
“The Buk-Telar missile that shot down MH17 came from the 53rd anti-aircraft brigade based in Kursk, Russia,” a Dutch police investigator, Wilbert Paulissen, said Thursday morning.
“The 53rd Brigade is part of the Russian armed forces,” he added, presenting the interim results of this long investigation at a press conference in the Netherlands.
International investigators had already concluded that the missile had been flown from Russia before being fired from the Ukrainian east, then controlled by the pro-Russian separatists, but without saying who fired the missile.
To date, the international team has painstakingly recreated the route taken by the military convoy from Kursk across the Ukrainian border using photos and videos.
According to the investigator Paulissen, the Buk missile has “a number of unique characteristics that as such would constitute a kind of fingerprint for a missile.”
The Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 was shot down on 17 July 2014 over the Donetsk region of eastern Ukraine, where there was a conflict between the Ukrainian army and pro-Russian rebels.
Russia has always denied any involvement in this tragedy.