The world is one step closer to locating the separatists who shot down Malaysian Airlines flight MH17.
The owner of a Volvo truck that reportedly smuggled a BUK missile into Ukraine that downed flight MH17 has been found — and now fears for his life.
“Yes, of course. It is easy to recognise. We know our vehicles. Yes, it is ours,” he confirmed.
“It is the only Volvo with such a cabin”.
New evidence suggests pro-Russian rebels are responsible for the attack after the man, known only as Vasilijus, told Lithuanian website alfa.it the vehicle was stolen by them on July 8.
Footage shot by a secret team of Ukrainian police in the early morning after the attack shows the missile being smuggled out of eastern Ukraine, close to the scene of the crash, the day after the plane was shot out of the sky.
The man was located after footage clearly showed the vehicle, on the move towards Russia, was a white Volvo.
Mr Vasilijus is reportedly the only owner of a truck in the Donetsk region matching that description.
“Do not reveal my name — I already have plenty of problems,” he told alfa.it.
“My base in Donetsk was taken over and it was parked there. Yes, this is my vehicle. They came to our base and said they needed it.
“Everyone left from the eighth (of July), and the base was under their control, including my equipment and that white truck.”
He added the rebels took over his business nine days before the flight was struck by a ground-to-air air missile, killing all 298 passengers and crew on board.
It is unclear what kind of work Mr Vasiliy is involved in, but he confirmed the “base” are still in rebel hands and he and his crew have not been back since.
Vasilijus is a key witness to the investigation, considering he is one of the few people who could identify the rebels responsible for the attack.
“The testimony of this person is exceptionally important — it becomes undeniably clear that the anti-aircraft system that shot down the passenger plane was in the hands of the terrorists supported by the Kremlin,” alfa.it writes.
Worsening clashes between separatists and government forces in Ukraine have again frustrated investigators trying to recover bodies and possessions from the MH17 crash site.
The joint team of Australian, Dutch and Malaysian officials were delayed and had only limited access to the crash site on Monday (Ukrainian time) because of increased shelling and gunfire in nearby areas.
Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 was shot down in rebel-held territory in eastern Ukraine on July 17. All 298 passengers and crew perished, including 39 Australian citizens and residents.
Pro-Russian separatists have denied responsibility for the attack.