Australia, Netherlands formally accuse Russia

The Hague, May 25: The Netherlands and Australia on Friday declared Russia responsible for the downing of a Malaysia Airlines passenger plane over rebel-held territory in Ukraine, an announcement that came a day after Dutch investigators said the missile and the launch system used in the attack belonged to a Russian military brigade. Flight MH17 was travelling from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur on July 17, 2014 when it was struck by a Buk ground-to-air missile, which caused the aircraft to explode and disintegrate in mid-air. All 298 people on board were killed. “On the basis of the (joint international team’s) conclusions, the Netherlands and Australia are now convinced that Russia is responsible for the deployment of the Buk installation that was used to down MH17,” Dutch Foreign Minister Stef Blok said. Russia, however, denied any involvement in the plane’s destruction. Moscow’s Defence Ministry said it “rejects the version of the Dutch investigators”. It previously insisted that none of its weapons were used to bring down MH17. (IANS)