Parts of a suspected Russian missile system have been found at the site in eastern Ukraine where Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 was brought down last year, killing all 298 people on board.
Dutch prosecutors made the announcement on Tuesday, saying the parts, possibly from a Buk surface-to-air system, “are of particular interest to the criminal investigation as they can possibly provide more information about who was involved in the crash of MH17.”
Prosecutors had previously said they were treating a missile strike as the most likely scenario, but Tuesday’s statement was the first time they have described possible physical evidence of a missile.
However, they cautioned that the discovery did not prove there was “a causal connection between the discovered parts and the crash of flight MH17.”
MH17 was traveling from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur and most of the passengers were Dutch.
Pro-Russia fighters have been accused of shooting down the plane using a Buk missile system supplied by Russia. But both rebels and Russia deny any responsibility, in turn blaming the Ukrainian military.
A joint investigation team, made up of representatives from the Netherlands, Ukraine, Malaysia, Australia, the UK, US, and Russia, is due to publish a report on the causes of the crash in October.
Last month Russia vetoed a United Nations Security Council Resolution that would have created a tribunal to prosecute and punish anyone found responsible.