Investigators identify Russian military unit in MH17 downing

BUNNIK, NETHERLANDS, May 24 (Reuters) - Prosecutors investigating the downing of flight MH17 over eastern Ukraine in 2014 said on Thursday they had identified the missile used to shoot down the plane as coming from Russia's armed forces.

Wilbert Paulissen, head of the crime squad of the Netherlands' national police, said the missile was fired from Russia's 53rd Anti-Aircraft Brigade.

"All the vehicles in a convoy carrying the missile were part of the Russian armed forces," he told a televised news conference.

Russia has denied involvement in the incident. (Reporting by Anthony Deutsch. Writing by Toby Sterling Editing by Gareth Jones)

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Reconstruction of downed MH17 plane
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Reconstruction of downed MH17 plane
Local residents assist an investigator of the prosecutor's office of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic, as he documents and registers the contents of a shed which the local community says contains parts of the wreckage of the downed Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17, in the settlement of Rozsypne (Rassypnoye) in Donetsk region, Ukraine, September 16, 2015. Locals stored parts of the wreckage of MH17 in this shed after retrieving the parts from the area surrounding the crash site since the crash in July 2014, according to local residents. REUTERS/Alexander Ermochenko
Local workers stand next to pieces of wreckage from a Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 plane outside the Prosecutor General's office in Donetsk, Ukraine, September 30, 2015. Prosecutors of the separatist self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic on Wednesday began to transfer newly found wreckage, which according to them, came from the Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 Boeing 777 aircraft shot down over eastern Ukraine last year, to Dutch investigators, local media reported. REUTERS/Alexander Ermochenko
The reconstructed wreckage of the MH17 airplane is seen after the presentation of the final report into the crash of July 2014 of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 over Ukraine, in Gilze Rijen, the Netherlands, October 13, 2015. Malaysian Airlines Flight 17 was shot down over eastern Ukraine by a Russian-made Buk missile, the Dutch Safety Board said on Tuesday in its final report on the July 2014 crash that killed all 298 aboard. The long-awaited findings of the board, which was not empowered to address questions of responsibility, did not specify who launched the missile. REUTERS/Michael Kooren TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
The reconstructed cockpit of the Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 is seen after the presentation of the final report regarding its crash, in Gilze Rijen, the Netherlands, October 13, 2015. Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 was shot down over eastern Ukraine by a Russian-made Buk missile, the Dutch Safety Board concluded on Tuesday in its final report on the crash in July 2014 that killed all 298 people on board, most of them Dutch. But the long-awaited findings of the board, which was not empowered to address questions of responsibility, did not point the finger at any group or party for launching the missile. REUTERS/Michael Kooren
Wreckage of the MH17 airplane is seen after the presentation of the final report into the crash of July 2014 of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 over Ukraine, in Gilze Rijen, the Netherlands, October 13, 2015. Malaysian Airlines Flight 17 was shot down over eastern Ukraine by a Russian-made Buk missile, the Dutch Safety Board said on Tuesday in its final report on the July 2014 crash that killed all 298 aboard. The long-awaited findings of the board, which was not empowered to address questions of responsibility, did not specify who launched the missile. REUTERS/Michael Kooren
Wreckage of the MH17 airplane is seen after the presentation of the final report into the crash of July 2014 of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 over Ukraine in Gilze Rijen, the Netherlands, October 13, 2015. Malaysian Airlines Flight 17 was shot down over eastern Ukraine by a Russian-made Buk missile, the Dutch Safety Board said on Tuesday in its final report on the July 2014 crash that killed all 298 aboard. The long-awaited findings of the board, which was not empowered to address questions of responsibility, did not specify who launched the missile. REUTERS/Michael Kooren
Wreckage of the MH17 airplane is seen after the presentation of the final report into the crash of July 2014 of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 over Ukraine, in Gilze Rijen, the Netherlands, October 13, 2015. Malaysian Airlines Flight 17 was shot down over eastern Ukraine by a Russian-made Buk missile, the Dutch Safety Board said on Tuesday in its final report on the July 2014 crash that killed all 298 aboard. The long-awaited findings of the board, which was not empowered to address questions of responsibility, did not specify who launched the missile. REUTERS/Michael Kooren
Wreckage of the MH17 airplane is seen after the presentation of the final report into the crash of July 2014 of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 over Ukraine, in Gilze Rijen, the Netherlands, October 13, 2015. Malaysian Airlines Flight 17 was shot down over eastern Ukraine by a Russian-made Buk missile, the Dutch Safety Board said on Tuesday in its final report on the July 2014 crash that killed all 298 aboard. The long-awaited findings of the board, which was not empowered to address questions of responsibility, did not specify who launched the missile. REUTERS/Michael Kooren
The wreckage of the MH17 airplane is seen after the presentation of the final report into the crash of July 2014 of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 over Ukraine, in Gilze Rijen, the Netherlands, October 13, 2015. Malaysian Airlines Flight 17 was shot down over eastern Ukraine by a Russian-made Buk missile, the Dutch Safety Board said on Tuesday in its final report on the July 2014 crash that killed all 298 aboard. The long-awaited findings of the board, which was not empowered to address questions of responsibility, did not specify who launched the missile. REUTERS/Michael Kooren
A damaged exit door of the MH17 airplane is seen after the presentation of the final report into the crash of July 2014 of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 over Ukraine, in Gilze Rijen, the Netherlands, October 13, 2015. Malaysian Airlines Flight 17 was shot down over eastern Ukraine by a Russian-made Buk missile, the Dutch Safety Board said on Tuesday in its final report on the July 2014 crash that killed all 298 aboard. The long-awaited findings of the board, which was not empowered to address questions of responsibility, did not specify who launched the missile. REUTERS/Michael Kooren
A military policeman stands guard in the cockpit of the MH17 airplane after the presentation of the final report into the crash of July 2014 of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 over Ukraine in Gilze Rijen, the Netherlands, October 13, 2015. The Dutch Safety Board, issuing long-awaited findings on Tuesday of its investigation into the crash of a Malaysian passenger plane over eastern Ukraine, is expected to say it was downed by a Russian-made Buk missile but not say who was responsible for firing it. Buk manufacturer Almaz-Antey scheduled a separate press conference on Tuesday at which it may attempt to discredit the Safety Board findings. REUTERS/Michael Kooren TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Local workers transport wreckage from the Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 plane (flight MH17) at the site of the plane crash near the village of Hrabove (Grabovo) in Donetsk region, eastern Ukraine, December 16, 2014. REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov (UKRAINE - Tags: DISASTER POLITICS TRANSPORT)
A pro-Russian separatist standing at the crash site of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17, near the settlement of Grabovo in the Donetsk region, is seen in this July 18, 2014 file photo. Russia vetoed a United Nations Security Council draft resolution on July 29, 2015 that would have set up an international tribunal to prosecute those suspected of downing a Malaysia Airlines passenger airliner last year in eastern Ukraine. REUTERS/Maxim Zmeyev/Files
Local workers transport wreckage from the Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 plane (flight MH17) at the site of the plane crash near the village of Hrabove (Grabovo) in Donetsk region, eastern Ukraine, December 16, 2014. REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov (UKRAINE - Tags: DISASTER POLITICS TRANSPORT)
Local workers transport wreckage from the Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 plane (flight MH17) at the site of the plane crash near the village of Hrabove (Grabovo) in Donetsk region, eastern Ukraine, December 16, 2014. REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov (UKRAINE - Tags: DISASTER POLITICS TRANSPORT)
Wreckage of the MH17 airplane is seen after the presentation of the final report into the crash of July 2014 of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 over Ukraine, in Gilze Rijen, the Netherlands, October 13, 2015. Malaysian Airlines Flight 17 was shot down over eastern Ukraine by a Russian-made Buk missile, the Dutch Safety Board said on Tuesday in its final report on the July 2014 crash that killed all 298 aboard. The long-awaited findings of the board, which was not empowered to address questions of responsibility, did not specify who launched the missile. REUTERS/Michael Kooren
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