Putin denies Russia responsible for MH17 downing

All 298 people on board were killed when the Malaysian Airlines jet was shot down over Ukraine in 2014

The announcement came a day after a Dutch-led interim report by prosecutors said that the missile that shot down the plane was sacked from a launcher in Russia's 53rd Anti-Aircraft Brigade.

The missile used to shoot down a Malaysia Airlines passenger jet over eastern Ukraine in 2014, killing all 298 aboard, belonged to a Russia-based military unit, an global team of investigators said Thursday after painstakingly studying video and photos of a military convoy.

"Australia and the Netherlands have now informed the Russian Federation that we hold it responsible under worldwide law for its role in the bringing down of MH17", said Julie Bishop, Australia's Minister for Foreign Affairs.

The Dutch government urged "Russia to enter into talks aimed at finding a solution that would do justice to the tremendous suffering and damage caused by the downing of MH17".

The Malaysian Airlines flight - a Boeing 777 - was blown out of the sky over territory in eastern Ukraine on July 17, 2014, while en route from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur.

The cabinet made its announcement a day after an interim report by prosecutors investigating the plane's destruction said the missile that shot it down was sacked from a launcher in Russia's 53rd Anti-Aircraft Brigade.

"All the vehicles in a convoy carrying the missile were part of the Russian armed forces", said Wilbert Paulissen, of the Dutch National Police, at a news conference on Thursday.

However, there's no doubt that the report poses real political problems for the countries most affected by the disaster - in which 298 passengers and crew died, including 80 children and three infants - not least in terms of how they deal with Vladimir Putin's Russian Federation.

The group had been trying to uncover the identity of the mystery officer who is the focus of a five-nation Joint Investigation Team (JIT) now carrying out a criminal probe.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov compared the MH17 case to British allegations that Moscow is responsible for poisoning former spy Sergey Skripal - another charge widely believed in the West that the Kremlin denies.

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Russian Federation denies involvement in the July 17, 2014, missile strike.

The Russian Defense Ministry claims that a missile that downed down a Malaysia Airlines passenger jet over eastern Ukraine in 2014, killing all 298 aboard, "more than likely" came from Ukrainian arsenals.

"The foreign minister of the Netherlands called me to say they have no doubts that the Buk came from Russia", Lavrov said, referring to the missile.

The Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said there is a link between the Russian army, and the missile that destroyed the aircraft.

So, we still find the whole episode to be "misleading", much like a succession of claims by the Russian government and Russian state media - such as the claim that a Ukrainian fighter shot it down or that is was a Ukrainian government Buk missile, among many other claims that have since been thoroughly debunked.

"The downing of MH17 was a global tragedy and those responsible must be held accountable", NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said.

The US, the European Union and North Atlantic Treaty Organisation also urged Moscow to accept responsibility for the disaster.

The team of global investigators, however, found that "all the vehicles in a convoy carrying the missile were part of the Russian armed forces".

Prosecutors stopped short of saying who actually fired the fatal shot.



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