The exact launch site of a missile that downed the fateful Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 in July 2014 should be ascertained soon, the Dutch-led team investigating the accident, said, the Associated Press (AP) reported Monday. The Dutch Safety Board’s final report on the crash — released last October — stated that a surface-to-air missile exploded near the left side of the passenger plane bringing down the aircraft.
Flight MH17 crashed in the troubled area of Donetsk in eastern Ukraine on July 17, 2014, killing all 298 people on board. Although the Dutch report concluded that the Russian-made BUK surface-to-air missile with a 9N314M warhead brought down the Boeing 777, it did not mention which side was responsible for firing the missile — the Ukrainian government forces or the rebels, Russia's civil aviation regulator, Rosaviatsia said in January.
However, Fred Westerbeke, the prosecutor leading the international probe, cautioned that the completion of the investigation would take much longer, the AP reported. He did not give a tentative date, but vowed to finish the probe "as quickly as possible, if only because of the frustration among the families."
In January, Rosaviatsia Deputy Head Oleg Storchevoy wrote a letter to the Dutch Safety Board Chairman Tjibbe Joustra saying that some conclusion of the final report was “unsubstantiated and inaccurate.” He noted, in his letter, that the Dutch report “unfairly obscures the issue of liability” for assuring flight safety over the war zone in eastern Ukraine's Donbass region, “shifting the blame from Ukraine to airlines and international aviation organizations, e.g. the ICAO [International Civil Aviation Organization].”
Storchevoy reportedly said in October that the Dutch-led investigation team did not allow Russia access to the BUK missile fragments found at the MH17 crash site or disclose their serial numbers.