Dutch prosecutors: fragments from MH17 site may be from Russian-made missile

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MH17 Crash Investigators Find Possible Russian Missile Parts

(Reuters) -- Some of the debris recovered from the crash site of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 in eastern Ukraine may be fragments of a Russian-made missile system, Dutch prosecutors leading an international investigation said on Tuesday.

MH17 crashed over territory held by pro-Russian rebels in July 2014, killing all 298 aboard, who were mostly Dutch citizens.

"The Joint Investigation Team (JIT) investigates several parts, possibly originating from a Buk surface-air-missile system," a statement from prosecutors said.

"The parts are of particular interest to the criminal investigation as they can possibly provide more information about who was involved in the crash of MH17."

Experts and Western governments have accused pro-Russian rebels of shooting down the passenger aircraft, but Moscow says it was hit by a Ukrainian fighter jet rocket.

Prosecutors said on Tuesday they would enlist the help of weapons and forensics experts to establish the origins of the parts.

"The forensic investigation is continuing and we cannot speculate about its eventual outcome," prosecution spokesman Wim de Bruin said.

Images from the MH17 crash site:

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Dutch prosecutors: fragments from MH17 site may be from Russian-made missile
This photo taken on July 26, 2014 shows flowers, left by parents of an Australian victim of the crash, laid on a piece of the Malaysia Airlines plane MH17, near the village of Hrabove (Grabove), in the Donetsk region. Ukraine sought on July 25 to avoid a political crisis after the shock resignation of its prime minister, as fighting between the army and rebels close to the Malaysian airliner crash site claimed over a dozen more lives. Dutch and Australian forces were being readied on July 26 for possible deployment to secure the rebel-held crash site of the Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 in east Ukraine where many victims' remains still lie nine days after the disaster claimed 298 lives. AFP PHOTO/ BULENT KILIC (Photo credit should read BULENT KILIC/AFP/Getty Images)
FILE - In this July 17, 2014. file photo, people walk amongst the debris at the crash site of a passenger plane near the village of Grabovo, Ukraine. For many families of the 298 people killed when Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 was brought down July 17, 2014 over eastern Ukraine, uncertainty and agonizing waiting is still woven into the fabric of their lives a year later. (AP Photo/Dmitry Lovetsky, File)
GRABOVO, UKRAINE - JULY 22:  A woman weeps after visiting the crash site of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 on July 22, 2014 in Grabovo, Ukraine.  Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 was travelling from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur when it crashed killing all 298 on board including 80 children. The aircraft was allegedly shot down by a missile and investigations continue over the perpetrators of the attack.  (Photo by Rob Stothard/Getty Images)
GRABOVO, UKRAINE - JULY 20: Ukrainian rescue servicemen look through the wreckage of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 on July 20, 2014 in Grabovo, Ukraine. Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 was travelling from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur when it crashed killing all 298 on board including 80 children. The aircraft was allegedly shot down by a missile and investigations continue over the perpetrators of the attack. (Photo by Rob Stothard/Getty Images)
A picture taken on July 17, 2014 shows wreckages of the malaysian airliner carrying 295 people from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur after it crashed, near the town of Shaktarsk, in rebel-held east Ukraine. Pro-Russian rebels fighting central Kiev authorities claimed on Thursday that the Malaysian airline that crashed in Ukraine had been shot down by a Ukrainian jet. AFP PHOTO/DOMINIQUE FAGET (Photo credit should read DOMINIQUE FAGET/AFP/Getty Images)
A man wearing military fatigues stands next to the wreckages of the malaysian airliner carrying 295 people from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur after it crashed, near the town of Shaktarsk, in rebel-held east Ukraine, on July 17, 2014. Pro-Russian rebels fighting central Kiev authorities claimed on Thursday that the Malaysian airline that crashed in Ukraine had been shot down by a Ukrainian jet. AFP PHOTO/DOMINIQUE FAGET (Photo credit should read DOMINIQUE FAGET/AFP/Getty Images)
Members of the Ukrainian State Emergency Service search for bodies in a field near the crash site of the Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 near the village of Hrabove (Grabove), in Donetsk region on July 26, 2014. Ukraine sought on July 25 to avoid a political crisis after the shock resignation of its prime minister, as fighting between the army and rebels close to the Malaysian airliner crash site claimed over a dozen more lives. The Netherlands and Australia, the two countries that lost the most citizens when the Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 was shot down, are seeking a mandate to deploy troops on the ground, possibly through a United Nations Security Council resolution. AFP PHOTO/ BULENT KILIC (Photo credit should read BULENT KILIC/AFP/Getty Images)
A picture taken on July 17, 2014 shows the wreckages of the malaysian airliner carrying 295 people from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur after it crashed, near the town of Shaktarsk, in rebel-held east Ukraine. Pro-Russian rebels fighting central Kiev authorities claimed on Thursday that the Malaysian airline that crashed in Ukraine had been shot down by a Ukrainian jet. The head of Ukraine's air traffic control agency said Thursday that the crew of the Malaysia Airlines jet that crashed in the separatist east had reported no problems during flight. AFP PHOTO/DOMINIQUE FAGET (Photo credit should read DOMINIQUE FAGET/AFP/Getty Images)
A photo taken on July 23, 2014 shows the crash site of the downed Malaysia Airlines flight MH17, in a field near the village of Grabove, in the Donetsk region. The first bodies from flight MH17 arrived in the Netherlands on July 23 almost a week after it was shot down over Ukraine, with grieving relatives and the king and queen solemnly receiving the as yet unidentified victims. AFP PHOTO/ BULENT KILIC (Photo credit should read BULENT KILIC/AFP/Getty Images)
Members of the Ukrainian State Emergency Service search for bodies in a field near the crash site of the Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 near the village of Hrabove (Grabove), in Donetsk region on July 26, 2014. Ukraine sought on July 25 to avoid a political crisis after the shock resignation of its prime minister, as fighting between the army and rebels close to the Malaysian airliner crash site claimed over a dozen more lives. The Netherlands and Australia, the two countries that lost the most citizens when the Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 was shot down, are seeking a mandate to deploy troops on the ground, possibly through a United Nations Security Council resolution. AFP PHOTO/ BULENT KILIC (Photo credit should read BULENT KILIC/AFP/Getty Images)
A part of the fuselage of the downed Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 is pictured in a field near the village of Grabove, in the Donetsk region, on July 23, 2014. The first bodies from flight MH17 arrived in the Netherlands on July 23 almost a week after it was shot down over Ukraine, with grieving relatives and the king and queen solemnly receiving the as yet unidentified victims. AFP PHOTO/ BULENT KILIC (Photo credit should read BULENT KILIC/AFP/Getty Images)
A piece of wreckage of the Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 is pictured in a field near the village of Grabove, in the region of Donetsk on July 20, 2014. The missile system used to shoot down a Malaysian airliner was handed to pro-Russian separatists in Ukraine by Moscow, the top US diplomat said Sunday. Outraged world leaders have demanded Russia's immediate cooperation in a prompt and independent probe into the shooting down on July 17 of flight MH17 with 298 people on board. AFP PHOTO/ BULENT KILIC (Photo credit should read BULENT KILIC/AFP/Getty Images)
RASSIPNOYE, UKRAINE - JULY 19: Women visit the site where the cockpit of Malaysia Airlines flight MH 17 crashed in a field of sunflowers on July 19, 2014 in Rassipnoye, Ukraine. Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 was travelling from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur when it crashed killing all 298 on board including 80 children. The aircraft was allegedly shot down by a missile and investigations continue over the perpetrators of the attack. (Photo by Brendan Hoffman/Getty Images)
A picture shows a piece of debris of the fuselage at the crash site of the Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 near the village of Hrabove (Grabovo), some 80km east of Donetsk, on July 25, 2014. Ukraine sought on July 25 to avoid a political crisis after the shock resignation of its prime minister, as fighting between the army and rebels close to the Malaysian airliner crash site claimed over a dozen more lives. The Netherlands and Australia, the two countries that lost the most citizens when the Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 was shot down, are seeking a mandate to deploy troops on the ground, possibly through a United Nations Security Council resolution. AFP PHOTO/ BULENT KILIC (Photo credit should read BULENT KILIC/AFP/Getty Images)
Flowers and plush toys are left at the site of the crash of a Malaysia Airlines plane carrying 298 people from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur in Grabove, in rebel-held eastern Ukraine, on July 19, 2014. Ukraine and pro-Russian insurgents agreed on July 19 to set up a security zone around the crash site of a Malaysian jet whose downing in the rebel-held east has drawn global condemnation of the Kremlin. Outraged world leaders have demanded Russia's immediate cooperation in a prompt and independent probe into the shooting down on July 17 of flight MH17 with 298 people on board. AFP PHOTO / DOMINIQUE FAGET (Photo credit should read DOMINIQUE FAGET/AFP/Getty Images)
Ukrainian State Emergency Service employees collect bodies of victims at the site of the crash of a Malaysia Airlines plane in Grabove, in rebel-held east Ukraine on July 20, 2014. The missile system used to shoot down a Malaysian airliner was handed to pro-Russian separatists in Ukraine by Moscow, the top US diplomat said Sunday. Outraged world leaders have demanded Russia's immediate cooperation in a prompt and independent probe into the shooting down on July 17 of flight MH17 with 298 people on board. AFP PHOTO/ BULENT KILIC (Photo credit should read BULENT KILIC/AFP/Getty Images)
A stick with a white piece of cloth makrs the spot where a body lays at the site of the crash of a Malaysian airliner carrying 298 people from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur in Grabove, in rebel-held east Ukraine, on July 18, 2014. Pro-Russian separatists in the region and officials in Kiev blamed each other for the crash, after the plane was apparently hit by a surface-to-air missile. All 298 people on board Flight MH17 died when the plane crashed. AFP PHOTO / DOMINIQUE FAGET (Photo credit should read DOMINIQUE FAGET/AFP/Getty Images)
GRABOVKA, UKRAINE - JULY 18: A miner searches a field for debris and human remains from an Malaysia Airlines plane on July 18, 2014 in Grabovka, Ukraine. Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 travelling from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur crashed yesterday on the Ukraine/Russia border near the town of Shaktersk. The Boeing 777 was carrying 298 people including crew members, the majority of the passengers being Dutch nationals, believed to be at least 173, 44 Malaysians, 27 Australians, 12 Indonesians and 9 Britons. It has been speculated that the passenger aircraft was shot down by a surface to air missile by warring factions in the region. (Photo by Brendan Hoffman/Getty Images)
A picture taken on July 17, 2014 shows the wreckages of the malaysian airliner carrying 295 people from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur after it crashed, near the town of Shaktarsk, in rebel-held east Ukraine. Pro-Russian rebels fighting central Kiev authorities claimed on Thursday that the Malaysian airline that crashed in Ukraine had been shot down by a Ukrainian jet. The head of Ukraine's air traffic control agency said Thursday that the crew of the Malaysia Airlines jet that crashed in the separatist east had reported no problems during flight. AFP PHOTO/DOMINIQUE FAGET (Photo credit should read DOMINIQUE FAGET/AFP/Getty Images)
A man walks amongst the debris at the crash site of a passenger plane near the village of Hrabove, Ukraine, Thursday, July 17, 2014. Ukraine said a passenger plane carrying 295 people was shot down Thursday as it flew over the country, and both the government and the pro-Russia separatists fighting in the region denied any responsibility for downing the plane. (AP Photo/Dmitry Lovetsky)
GRABOVO, UKRAINE - JULY 20: An oxygen mask system lies in a field amongst wreckage from Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 on July 20, 2014 in Grabovo, Ukraine. Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 was travelling from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur when it crashed killing all 298 on board including 80 children. The aircraft was allegedly shot down by a missile and investigations continue over the perpetrators of the attack. (Photo by Rob Stothard/Getty Images)
A picture taken on July 18, 2014 shows the wreckages of the Malaysia Airlines jet carrying 298 people from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur a day after it crashed, near the town of Shaktarsk, in rebel-held east Ukraine. Pro-Russian rebels fighting central Kiev authorities claimed on July 17 that the Malaysian airline that crashed in Ukraine had been shot down by a Ukrainian jet. The head of Ukraine's air traffic control agency said Thursday that the crew of the Malaysia Airlines jet that crashed in the separatist east had reported no problems during flight. All 298 people on board Flight MH17 died when the plane crashed. AFP PHOTO/DOMINIQUE FAGET (Photo credit should read DOMINIQUE FAGET/AFP/Getty Images)
RASSIPNOYE, UKRAINE - JULY 19: A man shows a piece of Malaysia Airlines flight MH 17 which landed in his garden on July 19, 2014 in Rassipnoye, Ukraine. Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 was travelling from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur when it crashed killing all 298 on board including 80 children. The aircraft was allegedly shot down by a missile and investigations continue over the perpetrators of the attack. (Photo by Brendan Hoffman/Getty Images)
An armed pro-Russia militant stands guard at the site of the crash of a Malaysian airliner carrying 298 people from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur in Grabove, in rebel-held east Ukraine, on July 18, 2014. Pro-Russian separatists in the region and officials in Kiev blamed each other for the crash, after the plane was apparently hit by a surface-to-air missile. Members of the UN Security Council demanded a full, independent investigation into the apparent shooting down of a Malaysia Airlines jet over Ukraine. AFP PHOTO / DOMINIQUE FAGET (Photo credit should read DOMINIQUE FAGET/AFP/Getty Images)
Ukrainian rescue workers collect bodies of victims at the site of the crash of a Malaysia Airlines plane carrying 298 people from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur in Grabove, in rebel-held east Ukraine, on July 19, 2014. Ukraine and pro-Russian insurgents agreed on July 19 to set up a security zone around the crash site of a Malaysian jet whose downing in the rebel-held east has drawn global condemnation of the Kremlin. Outraged world leaders have demanded Russia's immediate cooperation in a prompt and independent probe into the shooting down on July 17 of flight MH17 with 298 people on board. AFP PHOTO / DOMINIQUE FAGET (Photo credit should read DOMINIQUE FAGET/AFP/Getty Images)
GRABOVO, UKRAINE - JULY 20: A row of seats from Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 are lie in a field on July 20, 2014 in Grabovo, Ukraine. Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 was travelling from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur when it crashed killing all 298 on board including 80 children. The aircraft was allegedly shot down by a missile and investigations continue over the perpetrators of the attack. (Photo by Rob Stothard/Getty Images)
A picture taken on July 17, 2014 shows flames amongst the wreckages of the malaysian airliner carrying 295 people from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur after it crashed, near the town of Shaktarsk, in rebel-held east Ukraine. Pro-Russian rebels fighting central Kiev authorities claimed on Thursday that the Malaysian airline that crashed in Ukraine had been shot down by a Ukrainian jet. The head of Ukraine's air traffic control agency said Thursday that the crew of the Malaysia Airlines jet that crashed in the separatist east had reported no problems during flight. AFP PHOTO/DOMINIQUE FAGET (Photo credit should read DOMINIQUE FAGET/AFP/Getty Images)
Armed pro-Russian separatists block the way to the crash site of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17, near the village of Grabove, in the region of Donetsk on July 20, 2014. The missile system used to shoot down a Malaysian airliner was handed to pro-Russian separatists in Ukraine by Moscow, the top US diplomat said Sunday. Outraged world leaders have demanded Russia's immediate cooperation in a prompt and independent probe into the shooting down on July 17 of flight MH17 with 298 people on board. AFP PHOTO/ BULENT KILIC (Photo credit should read BULENT KILIC/AFP/Getty Images)
GRABOVO, UKRAINE - JULY 19: Blood stains the spot in a wheat field where the body of a passenger on Malaysia Airlines flight MH 17 landed and was later removed on July 19, 2014 in Grabovo, Ukraine. Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 was travelling from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur when it crashed killing all 298 on board including 80 children. The aircraft was allegedly shot down by a missile and investigations continue over the perpetrators of the attack. (Photo by Brendan Hoffman/Getty Images)
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Prosecutors from the countries affected most - Netherlands, Malaysia, Belgium, Australiaand Ukraine - are investigating the crash, but it is not clear where, when or how any suspects would be tried if they are identified. Russia vetoed a Dutch-led proposal to establish a U.N. tribunal last month.

Separately, air crash investigators are meeting with the Dutch Safety Board in the Netherlands this week to discuss progress and see a reconstruction of the remains of the aircraft, which were taken from the crash site in Ukraine to a Dutch air force base.

The board, which is conducting the civilian investigation into the cause of the crash, is expected to issue its final report in October, but not to apportion blame.

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