Another low in Russian misinformation. President Putin tells complete nonsense in Stone interview about MH17

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The world is familiar with misinformation from the side of the Russian Federation on many topics. So far misinformation, discredit of the criminal investigation and telling clear lies was limited to Russian media and the Russian Ministry of Defense.

However a new low was reached at August 31 2017 when  Russian opposition newspaper tvrain published some statements by president Putin on MH17, published in a to be released book. The book has a transcript of interviews by Oliver Stone with Putin.

Stone met Putin several times in summer 2015 for interviews for his movie called “The Putin Interviews” . Some of the statements did not make it in the June 2017 released movie but are printed in the book about the interview.

One of Putin’s cleary not true statements printed in the book is this:

“Now as to the aircraft, the planes which were in the air- as far as I know, right away after this terrible catastrophe, one of the Ukrainian air controllers, I think he was a specialist originating from Spain, announced he had seen a military aircraft  in the corridor assigned for civil aircraft”.

Google has a preview of the book here.

Putin refers to Carlos. According Kremlin controlled media like RT, Carlos was a Spanish air traffic controller who worked at the air traffic control center in Kiev. Carlos owned a Twitter account which was used to sent Tweets on July 17, 1014 stating that MH17 was trailed by Ukraine fighterjets. One of the Tweets said MH17 was shot down by Ukraine military jets.

Carlos was seen in an interview for the Spanish branch of RT.

Now this is clearly 100% fake for several reasons:

  1. Tweets sent by Carlos Twitter account were not live as suggested but were sent two hours after MH17 was shot down
  2. Tweets sent under the same Twitter account @spanbuca previously had anti Kiev government, anti Israel content. Not Tweets you would expect from an air traffic controller working in Ukraine
  3. Earlier the same Twitter account had a different name. Namely of a Russian girl.
  4. MH17 was at the time of shotdown not under control of Kiev air traffic control but by Dnepropetrovsk
  5. The Ukraine air traffic control authority (UkSATSE) stated there was no Spanish citizen employeed by them.

Putin does not say that MH17 was shot down by a military jet as can be read in the next lines. Putin wants that it is investigated why a military jet was close to MH17.

The statement that the supposed military aircraft near MH17 is nonsense as well. Dutch Safety Board final report conclude there were no other aircraft flying near MH17. Also Russia Ministry of Defense in 2016 stated there was no other aircraft near MH17 capable of downing MH17.

Tail hit?

Putin made another remark which is clearly not true.

Putin states “the reports that I’ve received say that the strike hit the tail of the aircraft”.

This is nonsense for even the most non-informed person!

  1. there is no damage to the tail visible other than some minor caused by impacting the ground
  2. there is massive damage visible to the cockpit section and cockpit floor. One of the pilots has clear wounds caused by fragments.
  3. DSB did reconstruct the cockpit and business class section as this was impacted
  4. DSB concluded a BUK missile exploded near the cockpit


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6 Comments on Another low in Russian misinformation. President Putin tells complete nonsense in Stone interview about MH17

  1. Putin: “the reports that I’ve received say…” So he claims the info is not from mass media or Internet (there has never been any version like that since the beginning). It is allegedly from reports Russian intelligence services and experts prepared for him. Holy crap.

  2. The whole part of the interview about MH17:

  3. On 16 May 2014 @spainbuca twitted he had been expelled from Ukraine for instigation and espionage:
    “Llegue a kiev, martes H 18:00, me retuvieron hasta el jueves 14:00H. Expulsado del país acusado de instigador y espía, ahora estoy en Alemania”

  4. A few errors in this post – the twitter account had the name of a Russian girl in 2015 – a year after MH17, so I would suggest it really has no evidence value. Either it is someone hacking his account or the original spainbuca being persuaded handing over his account might be in his best interest.

    Web archive has only a few hits before July 2017*/

    But they all seem consistent with someone working in ATC in Kiev – perhaps a trainer (he doesn’t actually say he is an Air Traffic controller – just in a privileged position)? Certainly it would be a very long game to have someone pretend to work in ATC for 4 months prior to the downing. I have learned never to question the Machiavellian ways of Russian agents, but it all seems a bit pointless.

    I don’t read Spanish, but my translations suggest it is all fairly normal conversations. Nothing particularly anti-Israel or anti-EU or particularly provocative in the few pages preserved. 3000+ followers, following 700+. At one point he tweets a picture of Euromaidan – doesn’t seem to either condemn or approve it.

    He seems to have given an interview with RT in May 2014, which might be the reason for his sudden expulsion. Maybe it was simply seen as a paranoid over-reaction and he was allowed back in? At any rate the fact he seems to have been expelled after giving an interview to RT suggests strongly he is a real person with a real story and the JIT ought to further their inquiries as to what Spanish citizens were expelled around 16 May 2014.

    And what was written previously: “I compared Tweets of Eliot Higgins archived by Webarchive at 16 July 2014 by the date the Twitter search function reports. I found out the time Webarchive uses is UTC-7.”

    That might be a dangerous methodology – it could be true, but then it might not.

    But commentators have pointed out a lot of these things before and you simply ignore them, so perhaps they are not errors?

  5. Your timing of a 2 hour delay looks accurate (as far as I can tell). You can’t read his tweets anymore, but you can search for tweets of people who were talking with him. From this it looks like it was given permission to reenter Ukraine on May 20

    On the day itself:

    If you scroll right to the end, you can see when and how he came aware of it, he seems to have been having a natter about Israel/Palestine around 14:00 UTC

    A Rodney Phillips tweets him the breaking news at 15:08 UTC and then he appears to start tweeting about it at 15:21 UTC. Assuming he was working where he said he was – and frankly it seems absurd to think he wasn’t doing something at Kiev airport – then Kiev airport or the part/team he was working with, only became aware of the downing when it reached the media.

    I don’t find it all surprising all kinds of officials/military turned up at Kiev airport to try and find out what was going on. I expect it was pandemonium for several hours. What he tweets sounds consistent with someone tweeting the rumour and speculation as it swirled around. There might be a big question mark over how accurate it may or may not be – ie was there a solid basis for his claims. But everyone seems to treat him as a real person on twitter and it is difficult to see a troll account going to such lengths has giving TV interviews, pretend to be expelled, pretend to be readmitted on the off-chance your 15 minutes of internet glory might arrive.

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