Russian missile maker says BUK rocket downed MH17

2nd June 2015, Comments 0 comments

The Russian firm making missiles similar to the one the West claims downed Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 in Ukraine said on Tuesday the passenger jet was likely hit by a BUK missile system.

All 298 passengers and crew on board the Malaysia Airlines jetliner -- the majority of them Dutch -- died when it was shot down over rebel-held eastern Ukraine last year.

Officials from state-controlled missile producer Almaz-Antey said they could not pinpoint which side shot down the plane, but intimated that the Ukrainian army was responsible as they unveiled their own report into the incident based on publicly available photographs of the wreckage.

"The first stage of our analysis showed that the type of missile system used was a BUK-M1," company official Mikhail Malyshevsky said at a press conference, Russian news agencies reported.

Company officials said that the BUK-M1 missile had not been produced in Russia since 1999 and was in the arsenal of the Ukrainian armed forces.

Almaz-Antey alleged that the missile was probably fired from close to the village of Zaroshchenske to the south of the jet's flight path.

"We cannot comment on who was stationed there" at the time, company director Yan Novikov said.

Ukraine and the West have accused pro-Moscow rebels of shooting down the plane with a BUK missile supplied by Russia.

Russia's defence ministry has denied any involvement and pointed blame at either a Ukrainian missile system or another jet.

Dutch investigators have collected wreckage of the plane and are expected to release a final report into the cause of the crash by around October.

British citizen journalist group Bellingcat released a report on Sunday claiming to show the Russian defence ministry had doctored satellite images to bolster its claims.

del/as/bc


© 2015 AFP

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