Dutch detectives have today revealed that they conclusively believe the doomed Malaysian Airlines Flight MH17 was shot down by a Russian-made surface-to-air missile.
The tragedy claimed the lives of almost 300 victims last year when the flight was shot from the sky at 33,000 feet over the Ukraine, travelling from Amsterdam Kuala Lumpur on 17 July 2014.
The 15-month investigation, led by the Dutch Safety Board, concluded the damage to the aircraft was consistent with that caused by an exploding Russian-made Buk SA-11 missile.
However, the report was careful not to blame Russia directly for shooting down the Boeing 777.
The findings of the investigation reveal that the missile likely exploded three feet away from the upper left side of the cockpit, causing debris to pierce the front of the plane and the cockpit to separate from the body.
Relatives of the victims were told that all of the passengers either died or lost conscious following the missiles impact. It added:
"It is likely that occupants were barely able to comprehend their situation. In the course of the crash, the occupants were exposed to extreme factors."
A further criminal investigation will begin later or early next year in order to discover who was responsible for the shooting.