MH17: Missile that downed plane 'came from Russia'

The reconstructed wreckage of the MH17 airplane Credit: Reuters

The missile that downed flight MH17 was made in Russia, a new report has found.

A team of international prosecutors said it was fired from a pro-Russian rebel-held village of Pervomaysk in eastern Ukraine.

The launcher was transported into Ukraine from Russia, and afterwards the missile system was returned, the report added.

Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 was travelling from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur on July 17, 2014, when it was hit by a surface-to-air missile.

It broke apart mid-air killing all 298 people on board, most of whom were Dutch.

A teddy bear is placed at next to wreckage of flight MH17 in eastern Ukraine Credit: Reuters

The team of prosecutors from the Netherlands, Australia,Belgium, Malaysia and Ukraine have identified 100 "persons of interest" during their inquiry, but declined to specify their nationalities.

They said it was not clear if soldiers were ordered to fire the missile or acted independently, but the findings counter Moscow's claim that the plane was brought down by Ukraine's military rather than the separatists.

At the time of the crash, Ukrainian government forces were engaged in heavy fighting with pro-Russian separatists.

Crash investigators said they would not comment on the possible involvement of Russia but would definitely be examining new radar images produced by the country which they had previously not had access to.

An armed pro-Russian separatist stands on part of the wreckage Credit: Reuters

Russia has always denied direct involvement in the Ukraineconflict and rejects responsibility for the destruction of MH17.

The Russian Foreign Ministry said that it is disappointed by the Dutch-led investigation's findings, saying that they were "biased, politically motivated, dreamt up, and the guilty party was designated arbitrarily".

It continued that Moscow was prevented from taking full part in the investigations, and that instead Ukraine was allowed to fabricate evidence and turned the case to its advantage.

The statement added that it hoped new radar data from Moscow will prompt investigators to revise their findings.

The Russian makers of the missile, Almaz-Antey, said that they rejected the findings of the investigators because they are not backed up by technical evidence, and added that the rocket was launched from an area controlled by the Ukrainian army.

Ukraine's Foreign Ministry hailed the findings as an "important milestone", saying they pointed to Russia's "direct involvement".

The disaster played a significant role in the European Union and United States decision to impose sanctions on Russia over the conflict.

This escalated tensions between East and West to levels not seen since the Cold War ended in 1990.

Flowers and mementos left by local residents at the crash site Credit: Reuters