Another sighting of the BUK, from a forgotten statement

guestblog by Arnold Greidanus

Anton Gerashchenko Anton Gerashchenko at news channel, July 17th, 2014
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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, InfoResistIpress 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.

Anton Gerashchenko

Anton Gerashchenko at news channel, July 17th, 2014

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, 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 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 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?



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5 Comments on Another sighting of the BUK, from a forgotten statement

  1. On the video Gerashchenko says “which was observed today in the first part of the day in the area of Snezhnoe” (not Ternove).

    He speaks Russian, and in Russian Ukrainian “Snizhne” is spelled as “Snezhnoe”.

    And one more thing, that may confuse: he spells “in the area of Snezhnoe” as “в районе Снежного” (“v rayone Snezhnogo”), that is not grammatically correct – should be “v rayone Snezhnoe”

  2. Prosto Tak // July 17, 2015 at 9:26 am // Reply

    Sorry, “в районе Снежного” (“v rayone Snezhnogo”) is the only grammatically correct form. Russian (as well as Ukrainian and most Slavonic languages) has noun declension, and the Genitive case form is used here, Snezhnoye -> Snezhnogo.

  3. John Smith // July 21, 2015 at 11:39 am // Reply

    Show us a picture or a video taken on June 29 – July 16 of any alleged rebel’s Buk or a video or picture of a Buk with visible nearby rebels. Oh wait, there’s no material of this kind, and you’re just relying on “he said, she said.”

    • If you sustain all of your beliefs on the Buk missile launch by separatists by way of photographs, then you are deluding yourself because 1) that is a war zone and still is, and photojournalists are not welcome, 2) the separatist preferred tactic is to shell or shoot at Ukrainian forces stealthy and behind buildings and not in the open in full view of witnesses and 3) the launch of the missile is very hazardous to nearby people, so no one would like to be near the Buk station when it is busy.

  4. sotilaspassi // August 27, 2015 at 7:09 am // Reply

    “Ukrainian army recorded the launch of the missile.”

    +Did they have radar recorder that detects 40cmx5m objects?
    +IIRC, they did not have good artillery/mortar/rocket radar at that time
    +Perhaps they got info that US IR satellite detected a hotspot before MH17 came down?
    +did they record the sound of the launch on some spy camera?

    Both UA and RU has lied so many times vs MH17 that I bet also that “launch record” was a lie.

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