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MH17: 'Persons of interest' identified by prosecutors

"Persons of interest" have been identified in an international criminal investigation into the downing of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17.

After a report by the Dutch Safety Board found that a Russian-made Buk missile filed from rebel-held eastern Ukraine was likely to have caused the disaster, prosecutors said findings from their separate criminal probe "point in that same direction".

The Dutch-led team of investigators did not name any of the suspects said to have been identified.

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MH17: Some 'may have remained conscious before crash'

Debris from the MH17 crash lies in eastern Ukraine. Credit: Reuters

Some passengers on board flight MH17 may have remained conscious during the short period between it being struck by a missile and crashing to the ground.

However, Dutch investigators said it was likely that those on board were "barely able to comprehend the situation in which they found themselves" during the 60-90 seconds in which the plane came down.

The report said passengers would have been exposed to "factors that had an extreme impact on the body" such as the noise of the impact, the abrupt change in speed of the aircraft, the decompression and extreme cold.

As a result, it found that passengers were unlikely to have "performed conscious actions" during the short period, and no photographs or text messages were found on devices such as mobile phones aboard the plane.

All 298 people on board were killed in the disaster.

  1. National

Investigators release animation of the route of MH17

Dutch investigators have released an animated report showing the route MH17 took up to the moment the airliner disappeared from radar.

The Dutch Safety Board have questioned why civilian airlines were flying over an area of armed conflict.

A Dutch investigator said: "Nobody gave any thought to the possible threat to civil aviation."

  1. National

Airlines and Ukraine blamed over MH17 crash 'failures'

The rebuilt fuselage is displayed at the Dutch Safety Board press conference.

Dutch investigators have criticised both the Ukrainian authorities and airlines for flying over the country during a period of conflict in which flight MH17 crashed.

The Dutch Safety Board said airlines flying over the area should have recognised the dangers of flying over the east of the country amid fighting between Ukrainian loyalists and pro-Russian separatists.

The investigators also said Ukraine should have closed airspace in the region before the plane was brought down.

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Rebuilt MH17 fuselage on display as report released

The fuselage of the plane is on show in the Netherlands. Credit: Emma Murphy/ITV News

The rebuilt fuselage of flight MH17 has been displayed as a report into the cause of the disaster is set to be published by Dutch investigators.

ITV News Correspondent Emma Murphy reports that the remains of the outer body show shrapnel puncture marks centred around the cockpit.

It is understood that the report will state that a Russian-made Buk missile struck the plane above and to the left of the cockpit, causing it to come down in eastern Ukraine last year.

  1. National

Buk manufacturer denies missile brought down MH17

The press conference watches a film of a demonstration. Credit: APTN

A Russian manufacturer has refuted claims that its Buk missiles were the cause of the MH17 air disaster.

ITV News understands that a report released by Dutch investigators will say that a warhead typically associated with the missile system hit the plane, causing it to come down over eastern Ukraine in July last year.

However, in a press conference shortly before the report's release, the Almaz-Antey manufacturer insisted its own results "completely disprove" such a conclusion.

Citing an "experiment" carried out by the state-controlled company, general director Yan Novikov claimed that if the plane was indeed shot down by a missile, it would have come from the Zaroshenske, a village Russia says was under the control of the Ukrainian government at the time.

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