Inquiry Finds Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 Was Shot Down by a Russian Missile
According to an official Dutch inquiry into Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, the flight was attacked by a Russian Buk surface-to-air missile fired from the ground in eastern Ukraine, killing all 298 people aboard the commercial jetliner.
On July 17, 2014, Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17—flying from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur—was hit by a missile, broke apart mid-air, and crashed over the Russia-Ukraine border. All 298 passengers and crew members aboard the jetliner were killed, including six prominent AIDS researchers.
The official investigative report—led by the Dutch Safety Board collaborating with an investigative team from Australia, Belgium, Malaysia and Ukraine—was released early Tuesday morning and focuses on the cause of the crash, the aftermath of the impact, and the institutional failures that facilitated the attack.
The crash of flight MH17 on 17 July 2014 was caused by the detonation of a 9N314M-type warhead launched from the eastern part of Ukraine using a Buk missile system. So says the investigation report published by the Dutch Safety Board today. Moreover, it is clear that Ukraine already had sufficient reason to close the airspace over the eastern part of Ukraine as a precaution before 17 July 2014. None of the parties involved recognised the risk posed to overflying civil aircraft by the armed conflict in the eastern part of Ukraine.
But although the probe criticizes Ukraine authorities for declining to close the airspace, it does not go as far as to blame Russian-backed separatists for the attack—something Russian leaders have denied since the crash.
To that end, Russia reportedly presented an alternate theory Tuesday that “the missile must have been fired from Ukrainian-held territory, and that it was of a type that is no longer found in Russia’s arsenal.”
Even so, a separate Dutch police investigation into the crash could yield criminal charges—but because Russia has already successfully vetoed a U.N. Security Council resolution for an international criminal tribunal, finding a venue may be difficult.
The Dutch Safety Board has also released a video summarizing their findings.