The missile that downed Flight MH17 over eastern Ukraine was transported from Russia, a criminal inquiry revealed on Wednesday (Sep 28), adding that more than 100 people were under investigation for the 2014 disaster.
The investigators also confirmed that the missile which slammed into the Malaysia Airlines plane was fired from a field in a part of eastern Ukraine under the control of pro-Russia separatists at the time.
But the Dutch-led investigation did not directly accuse Moscow of supplying the BUK missile and its transporter system - and the Russian government has repeatedly denied any involvement.
The Malaysia Airlines passenger jet was blown from the skies in July 2014 during a flight from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur, killing all 298 people on board including 196 Dutch citizens.
"Based on the criminal investigation, we have concluded that flight MH17... was downed by a BUK missile of the series 9M38, that came from the territory of the Russian Federation," said Wilbert Paulissen, the head of the Dutch police investigation.
Afterwards the missile launcher system "was taken back to Russia," he added.
Using photos, videos, witness statements and telephone conversations, the investigators have retraced the route taken by the convoy which brought the missile system into eastern Ukraine.
But to the frustration of relatives, the investigators did not name any suspects at their briefing in the central town of Nieuwegein, near Utrecht.
The BUK was fired from a field in Pervomaiskyi which at the time "was in the hands of the Russian separatists," said Paulissen.
The joint investigation "has identified approximately 100 people" believed to have had an "active role" in the transporting of the missile system used to bring down the routine flight, chief investigator Fred Westerbeke said.
A civilian investigation by the Dutch Safety Board also concluded last year that MH17 was hit by a BUK missile fired from eastern Ukraine, but Moscow denied that pro-Russian rebels were responsible.
Repeating those denials on Wednesday, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said: "First-hand radar data identified all flying objects which could have been launched or were in the air over the territory controlled by rebels at that moment."
"The data are clear-cut ... there is no rocket. If there was a rocket, it could only have been fired from elsewhere," he said.
The investigators said they had not had access to the new radar images on which Moscow was basing its latest statements.
RELATIVES WANT DETAILS
The investigation has been headed by the Dutch prosecution service, but includes teams from Australia, Belgium, Malaysia and Ukraine.
They first met relatives of the victims on Wednesday to discuss the results.
"What is clear is that the BUK missile system came from Russia to Ukraine, was fired and taken back to Russia. That clearly suggest the involvement of the Russian Federation," Piet Ploeg, who lost three relatives in the disaster, told AFP.
But so far no one has been charged in the investigations, and relatives of the victims are anxious for justice. Prosecutors cannot file charges because there is no international agreement on what court a case would be heard in.
Speaking before the news conference, Silene Fredriksz, whose 23-year-old son Bryce was on the airplane with his girlfriend, Daisy Oehlers, said the victims' families wanted justice.
"As a family we are impatient. We want to know what happened, how it happened and why. We want those responsible to face justice," she said.
"Apart from wanting to know exactly what weapon was used and where it was fired from, we also want an answer as to where we go from here," said Evert van Zijtveld, chairman of the foundation that supports families of MH17 victims.
"We want to see the perpetrators caught and put on trial," he told AFP. Zijtveld lost his 18-year-old son Robert-Jan and daughter Frederique, 19, in the tragedy.
The downing played a significant part in a decision by the European Union and United States to impose sanctions on Russia over the Ukraine conflict.
Ukrainian and Western officials, citing intelligence intercepts, have blamed pro-Russian rebels for the incident. Russia has always denied direct involvement in the Ukraine conflict and rejects responsibility for the destruction of MH17.
Prosecutors have sought legal assistance from Moscow since October 2014, and visited in person for a week in July.
"Russian authorities have offered information in the past, but have not answered all questions," they said in a statement at the time.