Nicholas Jones is a New Zealand Herald political reporter.

MH17 report 'raises very serious questions': Foreign Minister Murray McCully

Foreign Affairs Minister Murray McCully wants accountability over the downing of MH17. Photo / Sarah Ivey
Foreign Affairs Minister Murray McCully wants accountability over the downing of MH17. Photo / Sarah Ivey

A report that found a Russian missile shot down Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 raises serious questions and New Zealand is committed to ensuring those responsible are held to account, Foreign Minister Murray McCully says.

"The downing of the flight cost 298 lives, including a New Zealand citizen and a New Zealand resident," McCully said this morning.

"We remain committed to ensuring there is accountability for this tragic accident."

On Wednesday, the Joint Investigation Team (JIT) made up of forces from Australia, the Netherlands, Belgium, Ukraine and Malaysia released their first results of a two-year search into how the passenger plane was shot down in July 2014.

The interim report confirmed a Buk missile was launched from a 500m by 600m patch of farmland near Pervomaiskyi in Ukraine, just outside the village of Snizhne in area controlled by Russian separatists.

It was then transported back across the border to Russia and has not been seen since.

Russia has consistently denied allegations that pro-Moscow rebels in eastern Ukraine were responsible, and has slammed the report findings as "biased" and "politically motivated".

McCully praised the report as being based on "painstaking, impartial and careful investigation".

It raised "some very serious questions", he said.

"The Joint Investigation Team's release of its preliminary findings is an important step towards accountability.

"New Zealand continues to urge all countries to fully cooperate with this investigation, as required under Security Council resolution 2166.

"The victims of this tragedy and their families deserve this much."

A New Zealand resident, Robert Ayley, from Otaki was killed, as was a New Zealander, Mary Menke, who had been living in Australia with her Dutch husband.

The focus will now shift to what happened to the Buk once it crossed back into Russia minus one of its missiles.

The JIT said it is investigating 100 people of interest, with the ultimate aim of bringing them to justice in court.

Ukraine's foreign ministry said the findings proved Russia's "direct involvement" in the downing of the plane and branded the country an "aggressor".

- Additional reporting

- NZ Herald

Get the news delivered straight to your inbox

Receive the day’s news, sport and entertainment in our daily email newsletter


© Copyright 2016, NZME. Publishing Limited

Assembled by: (static) on production apcf04 at 25 Oct 2016 11:05:05 Processing Time: 728ms