Reports dispute source of missile that shot down MH17

We've known for several months that it was a missile that shot down Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 over Ukraine, back in July. The big question since, then, though, is where the SAM came from.

That's largely because the Dutch authorities investigating the crash have not, officially, revealed the results of their work. But a recent leak of preliminary findings to the Dutch media by the Office of the National Prosecutor (and picked up by IHS Jane's) claims that the Boeing 777 was shot down by a Russian Buk surface-to-air missile. Moreover, this initial phase of the investigation alleges that the SAM came from a Russian-controlled battery.

The Joint International Team investigating the crash, of which the Office of the National Prosecutor is part of, has analyzed over a million documents, photos, video and even shrapnel relating to the crash – not to mention eyewitness interviews – as part of the first phase of the investigation, Jane's said. A reconstruction of the plane's remains, inside a hangar at a Royal Netherlands Air Force Base (shown above), was also used to recover information. The initial findings, if confirmed as being authentic, won't be the end of the investigation, though.

The JIT, which includes Dutch authorities, as well as those from Belgium, the Ukraine, Australia and Malaysia, will start a second phase that, according to Jane's, will work to "collect facts that would provide the basis for a conviction in court."

That's not to say there aren't outlets questioning the leak to Dutch media, though. Russia Today reports on a statement from the Dutch Safety Board, one of the outfit's in the JIT investigation, which claimed the leaked reports were premature, and that no definitive source of the downing had been identified yet.

"The investigation into the cause of the accident is in full progress and focuses on many more sources than only the shrapnel," the DSB statement read. "Additional investigation material is welcome, but it is imperative that it can be indisputably shown that there is a relationship between the material and the downed aircraft."

Despite being the alleged source of the leaked report, the Dutch Office of the National Prosecutor also, officially, cast doubt on the reports of Russian blame.

"I can say for sure they are not correct," Spokesman Wim de Bruin told RT. "We are not yet ready to take any conclusion."

At this point, it's still impossible to say for sure where the SAM that downed MH17 originated. Based on these contrasting reports, though, it seems certain that we shouldn't be waiting too long to find out.

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