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Dutch aviation experts have concluded a preliminary report in regards to what brought down Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 over Ukrainian airspace in July. The Dutch Safety Board believes "high energy objects" hit the exterior of the plane, which were very likely to have been warhead missiles. 

The report states: 

[MH17] 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. There are no indications that the MH17 crash was caused by a technical fault or by actions of the crew."

This is in line with earlier speculation that pro-Russian separatists shot a missile at the plane. Both the United States and Ukraine have pointed the finger at Russia as well, as it remains unclear if the missile launchers were on the Ukrainian or Russian side of the border and who provided the equipment. The report does not address as to which side of the border the "objects" may have come from. 

The Dutch have also been able to investigate the black boxes, which were in separatists hands for some time. They concluded the black boxes were not tampered with or manipulated. No "audible alerts" were found on the recorders. 

While the report by investigators certainly solidifies the widely believed theory of the plane being shot down, the investigation is still not complete as the Dutch do not have safe, secure access to the crash site: "Coordinated access to the wreckage site by the international team of air safety investigators has not yet been possible. It is the intention of the Dutch Safety Board to visit the site whenever it is possible to safely conduct further investigation of the wreckage."

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.

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