This Russian unit is being blamed for downing Malaysian Flight MH17


A missile that brought down Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 in eastern Ukraine in 2014 was sacked from a launcher belonging to Russia's 53rd anti-aircraft missile brigade, investigators said Thursday.

Worldwide investigators say a Russian convoy carried Buk missile into Ukraine before shooting down Malaysia Airlines Flight 17; Benjamin Hall reports.

On Thursday, the team in charge of the investigation said that the Buk missile which hit the passenger plane had come from a unit of the Russian army stationed in Kursk.

As is known, Boeing 777 of Malaysian Airlines, flight MH17 was on its way from Amsterdam to Kuala-Lumpur, when it crashed in the militant-held area of Donetsk region in July 2014.

But the global investigative team said that its findings stood independently and that it possessed additional information to buttress its conclusions that it would announce only in eventual courtroom proceedings.

"All the vehicles in a convoy carrying the missile were part of the Russian armed forces", he said. In 2014, Russian troops and hardware were introduced at key moments to back pro-Russia separatists fighting against Ukrainian government troops.

The team had previously said the missile was a Russian-made "Buk" that was sacked from an eastern Ukrainian community under the control of pro-Russian rebels. The Bellingcat report used pictures and data from open sources, showing the Buk system on both sides of the border and claiming it was the same.

The blaming of a Russian military group for the tragedy comes as investigators made a public appeal for more information about what happened.

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The question of whether members of the 53rd Brigade were actively involved in the downing of the plane remains under investigation, he said.

JIT - which includes officials from the Netherlands, Australia, Belgium, Malaysia and Ukraine - said its conclusion confirms the previous findings of investigation collective Bellingcat.

Team of global investigators confirms previous findings on cause of 2014 Malaysian Airlines crash.

He added the JIT was now in the "last phase of the investigation", but he could not say then when the case would ultimately come to court, although any case would be tried in the Netherlands, he added, as the vast majority of the 298 people onboard the aircraft were Dutch.

Chief prosecutor Fred Westerbeke said investigators still have a lot of work to do and were not ready to publicly identify individual suspects.

The Kremlin has repeatedly denied that its forces were involved. Dutch investigator Wilbert Paulissen said on Thursday the team "ascertained that the Buk missile has a number of unique characteristics".

It said it had "irrefutable evidence" that the missile had been brought in from Russian territory and fired from a field controlled by pro-Russian fighters.