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According to the Dutch Safety Board report, Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 crashed in Ukraine as a result of a Russian-made Buk missile.

MH17 flight crashed in Ukraine in July 2014 killing 298 people.

The missile hit the front left of the plane causing other parts break off..

The West and Ukraine say Russian-backed rebels brought down the Boeing 777, but Russia blames Ukrainian forces.

The report does not say who fired the missile, but says airspace over eastern Ukraine should have been closed.

The plane – flying from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur – crashed at the height of the conflict between government troops and the pro-Russian separatists.

Among the victims were 196 Dutch nationals.

The report says the three crew members in the cockpit were killed by the missile explosion instantly.

However, the report adds, it was unclear at which point the other occupants died, and the possibility of some remaining conscious for some time during the one-and-a-half minutes it took for the plane to go down could not be ruled out.MH17 crash report

The Dutch Safety Board presented its findings first to the victims’ relatives before briefing reporters at the Gilze-Rijen military base in the Netherlands.

The board showed parts of the aircraft that had been brought back from the rebel-held Donetsk region and reconstructed.

Dutch Safety Board President Djibbe Joustra said the impact pattern on the plane showed a missile was responsible – not a meteor, air-to-air missile or internal explosion.

Djibbe Joustra said paint had been found on metal fragments within the plane that matched with missile fragments on the ground.

The evidence pointed to a 9N314M warhead, which can be fitted to a 9M38M1 missile launched by the Buk surface-to-air missile system, the report found.

Djibbe Joustra said there was sufficient reason to have closed off Ukrainian airspace to commercial traffic but Ukraine did not do that – and on the day of the crash, 160 flights flew over the area in question.

The board does not have the authority to apportion blame, under the rules governing international crash investigations.

Djibbe Joustra suggested that the aircraft is most likely to have been brought down by a Russian-made Buk surface-to-air missile – which experts say both Russian and Ukrainian armies possess.

The government in Ukraine and several Western officials have said the missile was brought from Russia and launched from the rebel-held part of Ukraine.

A separate Dutch-led criminal investigation is under way. Dutch Prosecutor Fred Westerbeke on Tuesday said a number of “persons of interest” had been identified, but there was still much to be done and the inquiry would not be finished this year.

Russian officials from Almaz-Antey – the state company which manufactures Buk missiles – once again rejected those accusations.

During a presentation timed to pre-empt the Dutch report, officials said the evidence suggested the plane was shot down by a surface-to-air Buk missile fired by Ukrainian forces.

Using video footage of their own mock-up of shrapnel hitting the fuselage of an aircraft, the officials said trajectory evidence showed the missile had been fired from Ukrainian-controlled territory. They argued the missile used was a decades-old model no longer in use in the Russian arsenal.

Russia says Dutch investigators have not taken account of its findings.

In July, Russia vetoed a draft resolution at the UN Security Council to set up an international tribunal into the MH17 air disaster.

President Vladimir Putin said at the time the establishment of such a tribunal would be “premature” and “counterproductive”.

According to a Dutch preliminary report, Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 broke up in mid-air after being hit by “numerous objects” that “pierced the plane at high speed”.

The report released by the Dutch Safety Board said there was “no evidence of technical or human error”.

All 298 people on board died when the plane came down, amid reports it was shot down by pro-Russian rebels.

The plane was flying from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur when it crashed in eastern Ukraine.

Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 broke up in mid-air after being hit by numerous objects that pierced the plane at high speed

Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 broke up in mid-air after being hit by numerous objects that pierced the plane at high speed (photo EPA)

Dutch aviation investigators relied on information from the black box flight data recorders, air traffic control, satellite images and photos from the scene to compile the preliminary report.

They said the plane “broke up in the air probably as the result of structural damage caused by a large number of high-speed objects that penetrated the aircraft from outside.”

The cockpit voice recorder revealed no signs of any technical faults or an emergency situation, the experts said.

The Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 crashed between Krasni Luch in Luhansk region and Shakhtarsk in the region of Donetsk on July 17.

Ukraine’s government and several Western leaders say there is strong evidence that pro-Russian separatists shot down the plane with an anti-aircraft system known as Buk.

Russia has consistently denied allegations that it had supplied any missiles or weapons to the rebels.

Experts from Germany, Australia, Malaysia, the US, the UK, Ukraine and Russia are collaborating on the case.

The board says it expects the final report to be published within a year.