World

Missile hit confirmed MH17 crash report

Air crash investigators concluded in a report released yesterday that Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 was hit by a missile fired from rebel-held eastern Ukraine last year, killing all 298 people on board.

Russian officials are disputing the findings, which are sure to further strain ties between Moscow and the West.

"Flight MH17 crashed as a result of the detonation of a warhead outside the airplane against the left-hand side of the cockpit," Dutch Safety Board chairman Tjibbe Joustra said at the Gilze-Rijen airbase, where the retrieved wreckage has been reconstructed. "This warhead fits the kind of missile that is installed in the BUK surface-to-air missile system."

While he insisted that investigators had not pinned down the exact location of the missile's launch site, maps shown to reporters clearly showed an area held by pro-Russian separatists.

He also hit out at the Ukrainian authorities for allowing civilian aircraft to continue to fly above a conflict zone.

Relatives earlier emerged visibly shaken after being privately briefed about the fate of the Boeing 777, which was flying from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur when it crashed on July 17 last year.

The Dutch board, which led the international team of investigators, has made 11 recommendations in the report.

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