Malaysian Airlines Flight MH17 was shot down over eastern Ukraine by a Russian-made Buk missile, the Dutch Safety Board said on Tuesday in its final report on the July 2014 crash that killed all 298 aboard.
The long awaited findings of the board, which was not empowered to address questions of responsibility, say that investigators have been unable to determine who was in control of the particular area where the BUK missile was fired from.
The announcement at an airbase in Gilze Rijen in the Netherlands mentioned that civil aviation aircraft should not have been allowed to fly over the east of Ukraine, due to the risk of a plane being struck.
“Ukraine already had sufficient reason to close the airspace over the eastern part of Ukraine as a precaution before 17 July 2014”.
The Ukrainian prime minister Arseny Yatseniuk said he had no doubt the plane was shot down by Russian special forces because “drunken separatists” could not have operated the missile.
Yatseniuk made his charge shortly before publication of the Dutch Safety Board’s final report.
“In our opinion it was carried out solely from territory controlled by Russian fighters and there is no doubt that drunken separatists are not able to operate Buk systems and this means these systems were operated solely by professional Russian soldiers,” Yatseniuk told a government meeting.
Hitting back at the release of the Dutch report, Russian Almaz-Antei missile manufacturer said 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.
On June 2, the Russian side has already denied involvement in the plane crash citing investigation results after looking into the wreckage and missile fragments found at the crash site.
Mikhail Malyshevsky, adviser to the general designer of Almaz-Antei, said that all the evidence pointed to the conclusion that the flight was downed by a guided air defense missile, probably a 9M38M1 missile of the BUK-M1 which “has not been produced in Russia since 1999.”
Malyshevsky added there is evidence that the BUK-M1 system and accompanying missiles were still in service with the Ukrainian Armed Forces in 2005.
The Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 crashed in Ukraine’s conflict-torn Donbass region on July 17, 2014 on its way from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur, killing all 298 people on board. Agencies