ATC Carlos (@spainbuca) sent first Tweet two hours after MH17 FDR stopped. Debunked by Russian radar

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At September 26 2016 Russian Ministry of Defense showed primary radar recordings. The Russians tell that there were no military aircraft near MH17. The Joint Investigation Team concluded this as well.

So this whole Carlos story is a complete nonsense story.

Update March 14, 2018: added photo taken by Carlos just before he started Tweets on MH17. The photo was geolocated to be taken in Bucharest, Romania.

Update March 14, 2018. Added the investigation on Carlos by Radio Free Europe


A Twitter account claiming to be working at Kiev Air Traffic Control sent Tweets at July 17 2014 suggesting Ukraine shot down MH17.

Soon it turned out this was a fake account.

At March 14, 2018 Radio Free Europe published a story on Carlos titled ‘Catch Carlos If You Can’
A mysterious Twitter persona launched one of the most enduring Moscow-friendly hoaxes of the MH17 airline tragedy. Radio Free Europe  found the ex-convict behind the lie.

My investigation of Carlos

Ukraine ATC stated this person did not work as ATC. Spanish people in Ukraine did not know him.  He lived at that time in Romania. Also someone working at Kiev is unlikely to be able to watch the radar screen of Dnipropetrovsk ATC. MH17 was at the time of the crash controlled by Dnipropetrovsk ATC.

Ukraine regulations say only people with Ukraine nationality are allowed to work as an air traffic controller. (source)

Also Carlos sent a Tweet on 16 May 2014 that he had been expelled from Ukraine for instigation and espionage. This is the evidence. 

Also Carlos mentions that military people enter the control tower in Kiev. If Carlos was an air traffic controller he would have known that the control tower at Kiev airport has nothing to do with the air traffic control divison which was responsible for guiding MH17. A control tower is responsible for controling aircraft on the ground and for take-off and landing. Shortly after departure the aircraft is handed over to area control. The air traffic controllers who manage aircraft overflying Ukraine are not working in the Kiev tower.

Stating Control Tower is a common error made by journalist and people who do not have knowledge of aviation.


10:25 – 17 de jul. de 2014 Vuelven a tomar la torre de control en Kiev

“[Miitary] has taken control of ATC in Kiev”

11:13 – 17 de jul. de 2014 Que hace personal extranjero con autoridades de kiev en la torre? Recopilando toda la información

“What are doing foreigners with kiev authorities in the tower? Gathering all the information”


It was also very suspicious the man was interviewed by Russia Today in May 2014. Another weird aspect was that @spainbuca followed lots of anti-EU and anti-Israel Twitter accounts. Also @Spainbuca sent Tweets which were anti Israel. Not a typical Air Traffic Controller.

Not only that, Carlos was very active on Twitter with over 10000 Tweets. But he hardly followed others and had few followers. Another indication the account was used to spread disinformation common for the troll factory from Russia.

On Internet various sites show a time of the first Tweet of 10:21. Lets find out what the exact time of the Tweets was.

The Twitter account @spainbuca was deleted quite soon after July 17. But webarchive has an archive of the Tweets.


So Carlos is not a real air traffic controller. He could be someone working for Russian propaganda agency. His real name is probably José Carlos Barrios Sánchez. After he was expelled from Ukraine he went to Germany and then to Bucarest, Romania. The reason for asking him to leave was his opinion about the situation in Ukraine. In May 2014 RT Spain published an article about Carlos. RT states he was working in Ukraine for the last 5 years.

This Twitterhandle @SpainBuca probably related to Bucarest.

His Facebook account was but this has been deleted as well.

Some more info on Carlos here. 

Already in March 2014 Carlos was discussed in this Ukraine forum. Long before his tweets about MH17 he was notorious for spreading misinformation.

The time of a Tweet is displayed in the timezone set in the preferences of the Twitter account. To find out the time webarchive uses we need a reference. 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.

So this brings us to a time of the Carlos tweet of 08:38 + 7 hours = 15:38 UTC.

The Flight Data Recorder stopped recording at 13:20 UTC.

If we use webarchive to see earlier Tweets of the @spainbuca account, we see something strange. Instead of in Spanish, the Tweets are in Russian language. And these are all anti Kiev. Isn’t that a bit weird?


Also the name does not suggest these Tweets are from a Spanish air traffic controller in Kiev. The name of the account is a Russian girl named Lyudmila Lopatyshkina as reported here. 

It could very well be this girl was working for the Russian misinformation troll factory in St. Petersburg.

So @Spainbuca was the first try of Russia to mislead the audience.

Update March 14, 2018 

Daniel, one of the writers at Bellingcat, found out that a photo which was send by Carlos on Twitter just before he started Tweets on MH17, was made in Bucharest Romania. See his Tweet here.

Daniel geolocated that photo in a street around the corner of Calea Dorobanți (on Bulevardul Iancu de Hunedoara) in Bucharest. See Google Maps.

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9 Comments on ATC Carlos (@spainbuca) sent first Tweet two hours after MH17 FDR stopped. Debunked by Russian radar

  1. Edward H Kelly // September 22, 2015 at 11:01 pm // Reply

    Admin said:So @Spainbuca was the first try of Russia to mislead the audience.

    Do you have any evidence that “carlos” was involved with Russia?

  2. But there are real verifiable (and addressable for further explanations) people that have seen Carlos account being created in 2010

    And the author followed closely Carlos’s tweets from March 2014.

    Unless you mean that Kremlin army highjacked the account in 2014

  3. It seems that the first attempt to discredit “Carlos” Using letter from the Spanish embassy was debunked (see comment below the article)

  4. Edward H Kelly // September 23, 2015 at 4:06 am // Reply

    Admin: “Another weird aspect was that @spainbuca followed lots of anti-EU and anti-Israel Twitter accounts.”
    But is that weird. I think it would be normal if he was saying things that might have been contrary to the USA’s or Ukraines view on Maidan. Wouldn’t that be normal that people of the same ilk would follow him?

  5. De Grijze Duif // November 4, 2015 at 1:55 pm // Reply

    Admin said:So @Spainbuca was the first try of Russia to mislead the audience.

    Do you have any evidence that “carlos” was involved with Russia?
    End quote

    I would have to agree on this remark.

    Lets for a moment assume this was a Western psyop, than this would be an Operation Northwoods 2.0…

    In that regard claiming Carlos is Russian disinfo, is worth reconsideration…

  6. 1) The fact that first snapshot of the Internet archive of Spainbuca’s account is taken some time after the attack does not mean that he started twittering áfter the attack. It just means that the first captured tweets are after the attack. See the archive:
    2) I copied some time after the attack a screenshot of somebody following Spainbuca’s account (Carlos) showing some of his 17 july tweets before the attack. Discussing politics in the Ukraine. (Can I upload the pic somewhere?)
    3) In the Internet archive you also can find tweets of Spainbuca of March 2014
    4) Also it states that the account is created in 2010.
    5) Maybe nobody can proof Spainbuca lived in Kiev, or worked for ATC, but certainly there’s no proof that is was a fake account, Spainbuca lived in Rumania or elsewhere or that he is the product of a Russian action.

  7. not important // May 17, 2016 at 7:04 am // Reply

    New York time zone is UTC-5, not -7, so first tweet hour is 13:38!!!
    So how do you do a shill OP in just 18 mins?

  8. Anton Noniem // October 2, 2017 at 4:35 pm // Reply

    The “earlier” tweets are from 2015 which is later than the MH17 crash. As far as I can tell @spainbuca was discontinued on July 18 (or 19), Lyudmilla took?recreated the account at September 1, 2014.

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