The Dutch Safety Board has released an early report claiming that Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 was shot down. The plane crashed in the eastern Ukraine in July, killing all 298 passengers aboard.
The report alleges that the plane was struck by "high-energy objects," breaking it up in the air. As Reuters points out, this supports beliefs that the plane was shot down using a missile, which detonated and turned into shrapnel:
Although the report did not mention a missile, impact with a large number of fragments would be consistent with a "proximity" warhead, designed to explode in the air and hurl shrapnel at its target, said Tim Ripley, a defense analyst with Jane's Defense Weekly magazine.
Such warheads can be fitted to a number of missiles, including the Russian-made BUK surface-to-air missile that Ukraine and Western allies, including the United States, say was fired by separatists who probably hit the airliner by accident.
Najib Razak, Malaysia's Prime Minister, admitted that while a surface-to-air missile is suspected, "further investigative work" is required before that can be confirmed.
Furthermore, Reuters notes that this specific type of missile—a BUK missile—is used by the Ukraine and pro-Russian separatists who are fighting in the area. It's believed that the plane was shot down by accident, with both sides blaming each other. Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte told Reuters that it's too soon to point the finger at anyone, but authorities are using what the BBC called "a combination of radar data and evidence from the scene" to determine where the object was launched from.
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