MH17: what we know now

Five years ago, on July 17th 2014, Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 plane departed from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur. The flight was going well until the aircraft entered Ukranian airspace, where armed groups and the Ukranian government were engaged in an ongoing conflict. At that time, a foreign object struck the airplane causing it to explode above the self- proclaimed Donetsk Republic. A total of 298 people (283 passengers, of whom 80 were children, and 15 crew members) were flying from at least 15 different countries, most of them from The Netherlands. All 298 people on board were killed.

As most victims were Dutch, the country created an investigation team to address the situation – the Joint Investigation Team (JIT). The JIT is made up of officials from the Dutch Public Prosecution Service and the Dutch police together with authorities from Australia, Belgium, Malaysia, and Ukraine.

Experts used data from “black boxes”, satellite photos, and conversations with the Schiphol control towers. They explained that the airplane dissolved in the air, probably as a result of the structural damage caused by the high energy object that struck it.

After the incident the Ukranian PM, Arseniy Yatsenyuk accused Russia for the incident. According to US intelligence officials, the missile came from the city of Kursk and was shot by an anti-aircraft Russian brigade. They also added that the separatists sent the missile system back to Russia after the destruction of the plane. However, German intelligence reported that the system was stolen from the Ukranian military.

Russian President Vladimir Putin immediately announced that they were not responsible for this tragedy. The missile was very old, dating back to Soviet days and no longer used by the Russians. In fact, it was a model used by Ukrainians.

He also added that Russia was excluded from the investigation carried by the international research team. The Russian president also referred to the incident of a Russian aircraft crash in the Black Sea, which was flying from Israel to Russia and was destroyed by a Ukrainian rocket.

In July 2015, Malaysia proposed that the UN security council set up an international tribune to prosecute those responsible. It ended with veto from Russia. In January 2016, Malaysia Airlines terminated their service to/from Amsterdam.


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