London: There is strong evidence that the missile launcher that shot down flight MH17 was provided by the Russian military, a long, crowd-sourced investigation into the tragedy has concluded.
However the investigators could not say who ‘pushed the button’ to launch the missile: whether it was Ukrainian separatists, or Russian soldiers working with them.
The new analysis comes as Prime Minister Tony Abbott prepares for his long-anticipated face-to-face encounter with Russian president Vladimir Putin over MH17: either at an APEC conference in Beijing on Monday and Tuesday, or at this weekend’s G20 meeting in Brisbane.
Mr Abbott promised last month to ‘shirtfront’ Mr Putin, saying “Australians were murdered… by Russian-backed rebels using Russian-supplied equipment”.
Mr Abbott has since toned down his language, saying last week he would tell Mr Putin that “Australia expects full Russian cooperation with the investigation” into the crash.