Dutch report into MH17 disaster slams Kiev for not closing air space

A toy is placed at the crash site of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 near the village of Hrabove, eastern Ukraine.

The Dutch Safety Board released its long-awaited report on October 13 into the downing of flight MH17 at the Gilze-Rijen military airbase. It came 15 months after the disaster that killed 298 people, Morning Star said the next day.

Board chairperson Tjibbe Joustra criticised the Kiev government for allowing civilian aircraft to fly through a dangerous war zone.

“In the months before the crash, at least 16 military aeroplanes and helicopters were shot down in the eastern part of Ukraine,” he said. “Yet, despite of all this, Ukraine did not close its airspace.”

The Morning Star said reconstruction of debris from the crash in the eastern Donbass region of Ukraine showed that the Buk missile detonated less than a metre from the cockpit, killing the flight crew instantly and tearing the nose section off the Boeing 777.

Kiev and its Western allies have blamed Russia for the disaster, claiming it supplied missiles to the rebels in the country's east.

But the board agreed with manufacturer Almaz-Antey's own report, released the same day, that the damage was consistent with fragments from the 9M38M1 version of the missile, used by Ukraine but not Russia.

The article said the report did not consider who launched the missile, but it identified an area of 320 square kilometres from which the launch must have taken place and which Kiev claims was in rebel hands at the time.

However, the Star said the 9M38M1 has a maximum range of up to 35km, potentially allowing it to strike targets over an area of almost 4000 square kilometres.

Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak said the world “must move forward toward ensuring that those responsible are held accountable for this murderous act”.

Dutch PM Mark Rutte called on Russia to co-operate with the ongoing criminal investigation into the disaster. Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov responded that the “attempt to make a biased conclusion, in essence to carry out a political order, is obvious”.

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