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MH17 Investigation at 'Advanced Stage,' Results Due in Months

  • VOA News

FILE - A truck drives by an Orthodox cross with a sign reading Save and Guard, at a memorial to the victims of the Malaysian Airlines MH17 plane crash, near the village of Hrabove, eastern Ukraine, October 13, 2015 .

FILE - A truck drives by an Orthodox cross with a sign reading Save and Guard, at a memorial to the victims of the Malaysian Airlines MH17 plane crash, near the village of Hrabove, eastern Ukraine, October 13, 2015 .

Dutch prosecutors say an international joint investigation into the downing of Flight MH17 over eastern Ukraine is "at a very advanced stage" and the results will be available within months.

This part of the investigation concerns the weapon used and "the exact launch site of the weapon" to bring down the Malaysia Airlines plane.

The airliner crashed in territory held by Russia-backed separatists on July 17, 2014, killing all 298 people onboard, two-thirds of whom were Dutch.

The Dutch Safety Board concluded last October that the plane, flying from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur, was shot down by a Russian-made surface-to-air Buk missile.

The Dutch Public Prosecutor's Office said late last week the joint investigation team is "still waiting for information from the Russian Federation about Buk installations," noting they were expecting an answer "within two months."

The prosecutor said the investigators won't publish their results in a report, but will eventually include them "in a criminal file, which is intended for the hearing of the case in a court or a tribunal."

The investigators are from the Netherlands, Australia, Malaysia, Belgium and Ukraine. Their governments have pledged to bring those responsible for the crash to justice.

Several lawsuits have been filed regarding the doomed flight.

Early last week, families of six Malaysian crew members sued the airline for negligence and breach of contract, their lawyer said. And last year, relatives of 16 victims from Australia, New Zealand and Malaysia, and 33 next of kin, launched legal action against Russia and its leader, President Vladimir Putin, in the European Court of Human Rights.

Each claimant is seeking $10 million in damages.

The downing of the jet also led the European Union and the United States to level new sanctions against Moscow, in addition to those already in place for Russia's actions in Ukraine.

The airline also suffered severe financial losses after it was hit with the downing of Flight MH17 and the loss of flight MH370, which disappeared on March 8, 2014, en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing.

Earlier this year, debris found in the Indian Ocean was confirmed to have been from the Boeing 777, which had 239 passengers and crew aboard when it went down. But it remains a mystery what happened to the plane.

On Sunday, some passengers and crew were injured aboard Malaysia Airline Flight MH1 when it experienced turbulence over the Bay of Bengal. The flight was en route from London to Kuala Lumpur.

RFE/RL contributed to this report. Some material from AFP and Reuters.

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