A Buk missile from a Russian military unit brought down Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 over eastern Ukraine in 2014, a Dutch-led investigation revealed Thursday.
The missile was from the Russian military’s 53rd anti-aircraft missile brigade based in the Russian city of Kursk, Wilbert Paulissen of the Dutch National Police said. Paulissen was speaking at a presentation of interim results of the long-running probe into the downing of MH17.
The passenger jet was on its way from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, when it was blown out of the sky over Ukraine on July 17, 2014. All 298 passengers and crew were killed.
Paulissen had initially revealed in 2016 that communication intercepts showed that pro-Moscow rebels had called for deployment of the mobile surface-to-air weapon and reported its arrival on July 17, 2014, in rebel-controlled areas of eastern Ukraine.
The Buk missile that downed MH17 was launched from farmland in the rebel-held area of Pervomaiskiy, 3 miles from the Ukrainian town of Snizhne, the investigation found. The Associated Press previously reported that a tracked Buk M-1 launcher with four SA-11 surface-to-air missiles had been seen the same day in the town of Snizhne.
"The United States has complete confidence in the findings of the Joint Investigation Team (JIT) as presented today by the Dutch Public Prosecutor," State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert said in a statement to Fox News.
"Today's announcement confirms and adds detail to what we have said from the earliest days of this tragedy: MH17 was shot down by a Russian-made BUK surface-to-air missile fired from territory in eastern Ukraine controlled by Russia and Russia-led forces," the statement said.
Nauert also called for Russia to be held accountable for its actions.
"We recall the UN Security Council’s demand that 'those responsible … be held to account and that all States cooperate fully with efforts to establish accountability.' We call upon Russia, in particular, to respect and adhere to UN Security Council Resolution 2166 (2014). It is time for Russia to cease its lies and account for its role in the shoot down."
Russia has vehemently denied allegations that pro-Moscow rebels in eastern Ukraine were responsible for the downing of the plane. The Russian Foreign Ministry called the investigators’ 2016 findings “biased and politically motivated.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.