MH17 Trial: missile fragments found in the bodies of the air crash victims point to Russia

29 steel fragments were found in the bodies of the crew members of the Malaysia Airlines airliner shot down over the Donbas in 2014. One of them is shaped like a butterfly, typical of the Buk missile of the type 9M38M1, said the Dutch prosecutor Thijs Berger at the trial in the MH17 downing case.

According to him, another such fragment was found in the cockpit. Berger noted that there were "more similarities to the Buk 9M38M1 missile than to the 9M38 missile." The first type of missile is used by the Russian Armed Forces, and the second type is in service with the Ukrainian Army. Both types are used by Buk, Buk-M1 and Buk-M1-2 anti-aircraft missile systems.

The MH17 trial began in The Hague on March 9 but was interrupted because of the coronavirus pandemic. At Monday’s meeting, the prosecution was mainly speaking about the difficulties in gathering evidence and once again stressed the existence of evidence that Buk was in the territory controlled by Russian-backed militants.

The trial of four defendants in the crash of flight MH17 resumed on June 8 in the Netherlands.

Three Russian citizens, Sergei Dubinsky, Igor Girkin and Oleg Pulatov, as well as Ukrainian citizen Leonid Kharchenko have the status of the accused. They were also absent during the first meeting in March.

Pulatov is represented in the trial by a team of lawyers, two of them are at the meeting today.

The judge noted that the case would be heard in the absence of the accused and all the data presented would apply to all four unless otherwise stated separately.

The court was presented with photos from U.S. satellites, which show the Buk missile. The U.S. military did not provide the photos in their original form to the public, but they allowed the Dutch representative to study the sources, and a memorandum will be attached to the case file (where copies of the images are likely to be copied in a smaller resolution).

On July 17, 2014, a Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 flying from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur was shot down near the city of Shakhtarsk in Ukraine’s Donetsk region. All crew members and passengers were killed, a total of 298 people, including 80 children.

  MH17, Russia, Donbas, Ukraine