MOSCOW, September 10 (RIA Novosti) – Unidentified fragments that have been found in the bodies of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 crew, could belong to a warhead of a surface-to-air Buk missile, Peter Deynekin, the former commander in chief of Russia's air force, told RIA Novosti Wednesday.
“A Buk warhead is about 70 kilograms [154 pounds]. It’s an enormous charge, which went off near the Boeing hitting its fuselage by a swarm of fragments – spheres or cubes,” Deynekin said, adding that if such fragments are found in the bodies, it will point to a Buk missile's involvement in the crash.
A Dutch Safety Board (DSB) spokeswoman told RIA Novosti earlier Wednesday that unidentified fragments had been found in the bodies of the plane's pilots, their origin is currently being established.
On Tuesday, the DSB released a preliminary report on the MH17 crash. According to the report, the plane broke up in the air probably as the result of structural damage caused by “a large number of high-energy objects” that penetrated the aircraft from outside.
The DSB aims to publish the final report within a year of the date of the crash.
Flight MH17, flying from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur, crashed on July 17 in Ukraine’s eastern region of Donetsk, killing all 298 people on board. Kiev accuses independence supporters in eastern Ukraine of shooting it down, but cannot provide any evidence. The local militia leaders insist that they do not have weapons capable of shooting down a plane flying at 32,000 feet.
The Russian Defense Ministry said that MH17 crashed within the operating zone of the Ukrainian army’s self-propelled, medium-range surface-to-air Buk missile systems.