More than a year after Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 was shot down in eastern Ukraine, a report set to be released by the Dutch Safety Board (OVV) is expected to confirm that the plane was downed by a Buk missile fired from a mobile launcher during heavy clashes between Ukrainian forces and pro-Russian separatists. Alongside the report, a partial reconstruction of the plane from recovered debris and wreckage will be displayed.
The limited rebuild of the Boeing 777 will include some of the cockpit and business section. Shrapnel was recovered from parts of the missile which struck the plane, as well as from the bodies of passengers and cabin crew. The disaster killed all 298 people on board and the OVV (which is leading the investigation and coordinating the international teams) will release the report on 13 October from the Gilze-Rijen air base in southern Netherlands.
Relatives of the victims of the MH17 crash have already been briefed on the report's discoveries, which will hone in on four areas, the OVV said in a statement. "The cause of the crash; the issue of flying over conflict areas; the question why Dutch… relatives of victims had to wait two to four days before receiving confirmation from the Dutch authorities that their loved ones were on board; and lastly, the question as to what extent the occupants of flight MH17 were conscious of the crash."
The board will not assign "blame and culpability", nor will it say who pulled the trigger. The board said: "It is the purpose of the criminal investigation to answer those [questions]". Russia has been accused of being behind the shooting, but it has repeatedly denied any involvement in the tragedy and instead, blamed Ukrainian forces. Moscow has mooted the suggestion that the aircraft was shot down by a Ukrainian military jet or that the missile was launched from territory held by the government.
The Russian manufacturer of Buk missiles, Almaz-Antey has said that it will hold its own press conference on 13 October. The company says that it had undertaken an experiment in which a decommissioned Boeing passenger jet was blown up in a bid to prove that a Russian Buk was not engaged in the disaster. In July, Russia vetoed a UN resolution to set up an international criminal tribunal and faced fierce criticism from Australia, which lost 38 of its residents.