Investigators have disclosed that they are examining components which might have originated from a Russian-built surface-to-air missile system.
The disclosure from the Dutch Safety Board is the first statement to mention a specific weapon system in connection with the loss of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 in July last year.
It says that the joint investigation team is analysing “several parts” which “possibly” originate from a Buk system, a surface-to-air missile-launching platform produced by Russian manufacturer Almaz-Antey.
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“These parts have been secured during a previous recovery mission in eastern Ukraine and are in possession of the criminal investigation team [for MH17] and the Dutch Safety Board,” says the authority.
“At present the conclusion cannot be drawn that there is a causal connection between the discovered parts and the crash of flight MH17.”
But it adds that the parts hold “particular interest” to the investigators as they might provide information about involvement.
None of the 298 occupants of MH17, en route from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur, survived when the Boeing 777-200ER came down in east Ukraine, a region of armed conflict between Ukrainian forces and Russian-backed separatists.
Analysis of the discovered parts will be conducted by forensic scientists and specialists in weapons. Details of the examination will be included in the Dutch Safety Board’s final report into the loss, which it expects to publish around October.