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THE HAGUE, NETHERLANDS-A day after worldwide prosecutors said they had unequivocal evidence of Russian involvement in the downing of a Malaysian passenger jet over Ukraine almost four years ago, the Netherlands and Australia on Friday announced they were holding Moscow legally responsible for its role in the missile attack.

Earlier in the day, a Netherlands-led joint investigation team said - for the first time - that the missile which brought down the plane over eastern Ukraine came from a Russian military brigade.

It was sacked from rebel-held territory in eastern Ukraine. Peskov, the Kremlin spokesman, said that Russian Federation "absolutely" denied involvement.

"Australia and the Netherlands have now informed the Russian Federation that we hold it responsible under worldwide law for its role in the bringing down of MH17", Foreign Affairs Minister Julie Bishop said on Friday.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has said he spoke to his Dutch counterpart Stef Blok by phone about the incident, according to the TASS news agency.

Putin, who took part on Friday in a discussion panel on the sidelines of the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF), reiterated Russia's complaints about the way the investigation is being handled.

The Dutch government said in a statement that a "possible" next step would be to take the case to an global court or organization. Earlier on Thursday, global investigators concluded Russian-made BUK missile shot down the plane over east Ukraine in which 298 people were killed.

But the European Union foreign-policy chief Federica Mogherini and NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg on May 25 both called on Russian Federation to "accept its responsibility and to fully cooperate with all efforts to establish accountability".

It was the clearest link yet published by the investigators to the involvement of Russian military in the deadly surface-to-air missile strike on the Boeing 777, and it echoed findings published in 2016 by the Bellingcat investigative group.

Netherlands, Australia blame Russia for 'downing' MH17 plane
Dutch minister: MH17 investigation points to Russian involvement

On Friday, the Russian defence ministry issued a fresh statement suggesting all Buk missiles with the serial numbers indicated by the JIT had been destroyed in Russia in 2011, suggesting the missile must have come from the Ukrainian armed forces.

The team of worldwide investigators, however, found that "all the vehicles in a convoy carrying the missile were part of the Russian armed forces".

"The foreign minister of the Netherlands called me to say they have no doubts that the Buk came from Russia", Lavrov said.

The reconstructed wreckage of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17.

On Friday, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters that the Dutch investigation did not include any Russian participation, but did include Ukrainian representatives.

The statement added, however, that holding a nation state responsible for a breach of global law would involve "a complex legal process".

Westerbeke said investigators were not yet ready to identify individual suspects publicly or to issue indictments, but that when they do he expects cooperation, or a firm global political response.

They have appealed for further information, especially from those who know people among the 53rd Brigade, as they seek to bring criminal charges against those who ordered the plane to be shot down.

Meanwhile, the investigative site Bellingcat claimed it had identified the second of two men whom the JIT has fingered as top suspects after obtaining their wire-tapped conversations before and after the plane was shot out of the sky.


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