Russian military missile downed MH17 passenger jet in 2014, investigators say

A Buk missile from a Russian military unit brought down Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 over eastern Ukraine in 2014, a Dutch-led investigation revealed Thursday.

The missile was from the Russian military’s 53rd anti-aircraft missile brigade based in the Russian city of Kursk, Wilbert Paulissen of the Dutch National Police said. Paulissen was speaking at a presentation of interim results of the long-running probe into the downing of MH17.

The passenger jet was on its way from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, when it was blown out of the sky over Ukraine on July 17, 2014. All 298 passengers and crew were killed.

Paulissen had initially revealed in 2016 that communication intercepts showed that pro-Moscow rebels had called for deployment of the mobile surface-to-air weapon and reported its arrival on July 17, 2014, in rebel-controlled areas of eastern Ukraine.

The Buk missile that downed MH17 was launched from farmland in the rebel-held area of Pervomaiskiy, 3 miles from the Ukrainian town of Snizhne, the investigation found. The Associated Press previously reported that a tracked Buk M-1 launcher with four SA-11 surface-to-air missiles had been seen the same day in the town of Snizhne.

Russia has vehemently denied allegations that pro-Moscow rebels in eastern Ukraine were responsible for the downing of the plane. The Russian Foreign Ministry called the investigators’ 2016 findings “biased and politically motivated.”