US backs Dutch, Australian findings against Russia in MH17 probe

Washington (AFP) –


The United States said Friday it stood with the Netherlands and Australia after they blamed Russia for the 2014 shooting down of flight MH17 over war-torn eastern Ukraine.

Australia and the Netherlands are moving toward taking legal action to "hold Russia responsible" for its role in the shootdown that killed all 298 people on board.

"We strongly support the decisions by the Netherlands and Australia to call Russia to account," State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said in a statement.

"It is time for Russia to acknowledge its role in the shooting down of MH17 and to cease its callous disinformation campaign."

A top Dutch investigator said his team had concluded that the plane was shot down by a Russian-made BUK missile from a Russian military brigade in Kursk.

Most of the dead were Dutch, but there were 17 nationalities, including Australians, on board.

The BUK missile launcher "was brought into sovereign Ukrainian territory from Russia, was fired from territory controlled by Russia and Russia-led forces in eastern Ukraine, and was then returned to Russian territory," Nauert said.

Russia has denied any responsibility, with Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov saying the Netherlands had provided "no facts" to support the findings and was merely speculating "to achieve their own political goals."

Nauert said Russia's involvement in Ukraine since 2014 has led to more than 10,300 conflict-related deaths.

"It is more than time for Russia to end this violence," she said.