Edit log: revised July 17th
Several sightings of a BUK on July 17th have been reported. The november Bellingcat report on the BUK route is best known.
Recently, Novaya Gazeta provided a slightly differing story on the whereabouts of the BUK between July 14th and 18th.
On July 16th, 2015, Aric Toler of Bellingcat published addtional accounts of the BUK and the missile launch as they appeared on Twitter and VKontakte on July 17th, 2014.
To these accounts I’d like to add a ‘new’, lesser known one.
A forgotten statement by Anton Gerashchenko
In the early evening of the 17th, around 18.45 hrs local time, Anton Gerashchenko was interviewed on the Ukrainian news channel 112 Ukraine. According to several short articles in the Ukrainian press Gerashchenko stated that the Ukrainian army had recorded the launch of the missile. And also: “He noted that in the area at the disposal of the militants is a huge amount of military equipment, “including missile systems Buk “, which was recorded today in the morning in the area of Ternove …”.
The statement can be found at e.g. Interfax, Ukraine Today, InfoResist, Ipress and Telegraf, among others.
A video of that broadcast is published here, but since I don’t speak Russian (or Ukrainian) I am not able to understand what is said exactly.
After I published this blogpost Alex commented on the location mentioned (below this post).
Also, on Twitter I received comments from @AricToler and @okutw.
Therefore I have edited this story, since the location is not Ternove as published in the sources mentioned above!
At 1m05s in the video Gerashchenko mentions the name Snizhne in Russian: Снежного, which is pronounced like “snezh-no-va”. So, it is not Ternove (Терновое) that was mentioned. Thus it’s another example of news media copying a story of a press agency that did not report accurately.
What does this statement regarding the sighting of the BUK mean?
- The words used by Gerashchenko were “in the morning” or, literally, “the first half of the day”, as Alex commented.
According to the Bellingcat reconstruction the BUK was sighted in Snizhne after 13.00 hrs – which is not part of “the first half of the day”!
- On the other hand: Gerashchenko’s statement uses the words “in the area of” and if taken quite loosely it would apply, but then his statement would not be very precise…
Other statements by Anton Gerashchenko on July 17th
On July 17th Gerashchenko made several statements regarding the transportation of a BUK and the downing of MH17.
About 20 minutes before the broadcast, at 18.20 hrs local time, Gerashchenko posted on Facebook that “this morning local patriots moving this complex from Torez to Snizhne were recorded” (“Сегодня утром местными патриотами было зафиксировано перемещение этого комплекса со стороны Тореза в Снежное”).
Again he uses the words “this morning”. According to the Bellingcat report the photograph of the BUK in front of the supermarket in Torez was taken at approximately 12:30 hrs. Tweets regarding the sighting of a BUK in Torez reported by Bellingcat are also dated after 12.00 hrs.
An hour after the interview on 112.ua, at 19:58 hrs, Gerashchenko posts on Facebook again, now telling that two BUKs have been seen in front of a supermarket in Snizhne.
The location of the supermarket in Shnizhne was incorrect though, since a picture of the BUK in front of that supermarket was uploaded only 12 minutes after this Facebook post and it was to be located in Torez.
By the way, as I pointed out in my previous post: the fact that Gerashchenko mentions two BUKs has been largely ignored – Bellingcat does not mention this in their report.
(For an extensive analysis of the surfacing of – two different versions of – the photograph of the BUK in Torez and of many other materials presented by Bellingcat, see Michael Kobs detailed report.)
Again an hour later, at 20:59 hrs, Gerashchenko then publishes the picture of the BUK in Torez on Facebook, this time with the correct location mentioned, commenting that the BUK drove through the town of Torez “this morning” (“Установка ЗРК “Бук” проезжает сегодня утром через город Торез!”).
And again he uses the words “this morning”!
These statements by Gerashchenko, taken together, raise the question whether the BUK was sighted driving to and through Torez already in the morning. If not, then the only explanation is that at the time he was not well informed.
But, from the 112.ua interview, it can be deduced that his information came from the Ukrainian army.
And where did the other BUK go, or was that one already present in Torez – as could be presumed from the accounts of Oleg Zakarchuk, deputy chief of Ukraine’s air force, in Novaya Gazeta and Newsweek…?!
Launch of the missile was ‘recorded’?!
What’s also interesting in Gerashchenko’s interview at 112.ua is that the Ukrainian army recorded the launch of the missile. It’s a claim that – to my knowledge – has not been repeated and apparently got lost in all the media fuzz since.
However, @okutw commented at the previous version of this post that the Russian verb “фиксировать” more likely can be translated as “observe” or “commit”, not “record”. Maybe so, but both the Russian Wiktionary as this dictionary give the description of “capture” or “record” as possible meanings as well.
Maybe someone can make a transcript of this part of the conversation, so his statement can be analyzed more accurately in context?