[WASHINGTON] The United States welcomed on Wednesday the preliminary results of a criminal inquiry into the downing of flight MH17 over Ukraine, saying it supported Washington's suspicions of Russian involvement.
The United States was quick to blame Russian-backed separatists after the Malaysia Airlines jet was shot down in July 2014 with the loss of all 298 people on board, despite angry denials from Moscow.
Now, a Dutch-led criminal inquiry - the flight took off from Amsterdam bound for Kuala Lumpur and most of the dead were from the Netherlands - has uncovered evidence that supports that case.
US spokesman John Kirby said the inquiry leaves "no doubt that MH17 was shot down by a BUK surface-to-air missile fired from territory in eastern Ukraine controlled by Russian-backed separatists.
"We also note the joint investigation team's finding that the missile launcher was first brought into Ukraine from Russia and then moved out of Ukraine and back to Russia after the shoot-down."
The findings stop short of directly accusing Moscow of involvement in the tragedy in July 2014, but appear to support the Ukrainian and US allegation that pro-Russian rebels were to blame.