A missile system from the 53rd anti-aircraft brigade of the Russian Armed Forces was used to shoot down Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 over eastern Ukraine in 2014, prosecutors investigating the disaster said on Thursday.
Flight MH17 was shot down over Ukraine by a Buk missile brought across the border from Russia and fired from a village under the control of pro-Russian rebels, an international criminal investigation has said.
“The buk (missile system) that was used came from the Russian army, the 53rd brigade,” Chief Dutch Prosecutor Fred Westerbeke told Reuters. “We know that was used, but the people in charge of this buk, we don’t know.”
"Based on the criminal investigation, we have concluded that flight MH17 was downed by a Buk missile of the series 9M83 that came from the territory of the Russian Federation," chief Dutch police investigator Wilbert Paulissen said.
Paulissen said the missile had been fired from an arable field 6km (three miles) south of the village of Snizhne. “At the time of the launch this territory was under the control of pro-Russian fighters,” he said.
The missile launcher was later taken back to Russia, he said. An inquiry by the Dutch Safety Board last year found that a Russian-made Buk missile hit the plane but did not say where it was fired from.
They said the missile launcher was brought into Ukraine from Russia.
All 298 people on board the Boeing 777 died when it broke apart in midair flying from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur.
The Dutch-led Joint Investigation Team (JIT) consists of prosecutors from the Netherlands, Australia, Belgium, Malaysia and Ukraine which included more than 102 investigators, half a million videos and photographs, more than 200 witnesses interviewed and anlysis of over 150 000 intercepted phone calls .
This was not the first time Russian backed rebels used Russian BUK missiles to down airplanes in that area. In the past they shot down numerous Ukrainians aircrafts
Russia has disputed claims that the missile was fired by rebels in eastern Ukraine, it claims it was fired by the Ukrainian army.
It's important to note that Russian officials have given three versions of events since the plane was shot down, and even went as far as posting fake images on state TV that were quickly debunked later, so when it comes to MH17 it's hard to take what comes out of the Kremlin seriously.