DUTCH investigators have confirmed a Russian-made missile brought down Malaysia Airlines flight MH17.
After a 15-month investigation, the Dutch Safety Board released its final report into the disaster on Tuesday in the Netherlands.
In a surprising addition, the report also criticised Ukraine for failing to close the airspace above a war zone.
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38 Australian citizens and residents were among the 298 people killed when the Boeing 777 was blown out of the sky on a flight from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur on July 17 last year.
While handing down the report, air crash investigators unveiled a partial reconstruction of the plane’s cockpit and business class section out of wreckage retrieved from Ukraine.
The mangled cockpit area held three crumpled metal seats where investigators say the crew were killed instantly when a missile warhead detonated just outside, sending deadly projectiles into the front of the plane.
The cockpit was torn from the rest of the plane which then broke up, the central portion crashing upside down before catching fire on the ground.
The Dutch Safety Board chairman confirmed that a Russian-brand of missile fired from the war zone had brought down the plane, with pieces of the missile recovered from the crash site.
He also criticised Ukraine and other authorities for a failure to recognise the risk of flying in that airspace.
He revealed that 160 commercial flights had overflown the area on the day of the crash despite at least 16 Ukrainian military planes and helicopters being shot down in the area over previous weeks.
The report recommended that stricter rules should be applied by international aviation bodies to ensure countries involved in conflict closed endangered airspace in a timely manner.
The report marked out a 320-square-kilometre area in the war zone from where the missile might have been fired but did not specify whether it came from an area under rebel or Ukrainian military control.
Kiev and the West have accused pro-Russian rebels of shooting down the plane with a missile supplied by Russia but Moscow and the rebels deny any responsibility and point the finger at Ukraine’s military.
Both the Russian and Ukrainian militaries have BUK missiles in their arsenals.
The safety board has made clear it is not concerned with blame or liability as those are matters for the separate and ongoing criminal investigation.