A Dutch safety board investigation found that Malaysian Air Lines Flight 17, the airliner that was downed over Ukraine on July 17, 2014, was shot down with a Russian-made “Buk” missile. But who fired the missile, and from where, remains a matter for a Dutch criminal investigation.
In a presentation at the Netherlands’ Gilze-Rijen airbase, where the airliner had been painstakingly reconstructed, investigators gave details of what they knew, including showing a computer animation of the last moments of the aircraft. During a presentation of the investigation’s findings, safety board chairman Tjibbe Joustra said that the Malaysian Airlines Boeing 777 was hit by the explosion of a 9N314M warhead aboard a 9M28 missile fired from a Russian Buk launcher system. The plane was at 33,000ft above eastern Ukraine when the warhead exploded in proximity to the cockpit, immediately killing the flight crew. The remainder of the 298 victims would have passed out within moments of the explosion due to explosive decompression as the airliner fell apart.
Russia has claimed that the missile was launched from within territory controlled by the Ukrainian government. However, within a day of the shoot-down, President Barack Obama said that US intelligence showed that a Buk missile system operated by Russian-backed separatists had shot down the plane. Sources at that time said that a satellite system had caught the infrared signature of a missile launch and had pinpointed the launch site.