Corrected! Award winning investigative journalism by CORRECT!V MH17 has many mistakes!

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CORRECT!V (from now on I use Correctiv)  is a German nonprofit investigative newsroom in the German-speaking world. The goal is to give citizens access to information. One of Correctiv investigation was on the downing of MH17.

While Correctiv is financed by donations to enable independent journalism, this blog will expose many errors made by Correctiv in its MH17 research.

I prepared this blog a while ago. Today, January 15 2017, Facebook accounced it will use Correctiv for factchecking news. This is a response by Correctiv on the news. When I read this, I was really shocked.

The purpose of this blog is not to discuss the cause of the shot down. I am convinced MH17 was shot down by a BUK missile. Correctiv came to the same conclusion.

The purpose of this blogpost is to expose the really bad way Correctiv performed their investigation. Despite the proven errors Correctiv was awarded by two organizations for the MH17 investigation. This shows the level of subject knowledge by (German) journalists on MH17.

Making mistakes is one, discussing and correcting is another. Many people contacted Correctiv to point out the clear errors. Correctiv did not want to discuss and did not correct, despite this statement by Correctiv.

CORRECT!V corrects mistakes.

Content of this blogpost

The content of this post will go into:

  • what kind of organization Correctiv is;
  • how is it financed;
  • the investigation on MH17 done by Correctiv;
  • the errors Correctiv made in the MH17 investigation;
  • the awards Correctiv received for the MH17 investigation which is full of errors;
  • the objections of people to that errors and the lack of response by Correctiv;
  • the response of German main stream media to the Billy Six and Graham Phillips visit to the Berlin office of Correctiv;
  • the response of the German medienrat on a letter of complaint by Billy Six

What kind of organization is Correctiv?

Correctiv is a German non-profit organization which does investigative journalism for mainly the German public. It  is independent and  does not rely on advertising. The core principle is writing about what is wrong! Corruption, abuse of power, that kind of topics.  In total around 16 journalists write investigative stories for Correctiv. An example of such an investigation by Correctiv is a July 2016 article which shows the medicine industry pays doctors for prescribes their medication.In 2015 575 Million Euro was paid by the indusrty to  71.000 Germany doctors.

How is Correctiv financed?

Correctiv is mainly financed by grants. Mostly non-profit organizations give money to Correctiv to be able for them to perform investigative journalism.

The main financer of Correctiv is German Brost-Stiftung. In 2015 it donated almost 1,5 million Euro to Correctiv.In total Brost Stiftung will donate three million Euros spread out over the first three years of operation.

One of the main reasons for Brost-Stiftung to donate money to Correctiv is that the main stream media has a hard time to defend democracy. It is a fact the regular media have very little money and resources to do investigative journalism. There is a lot of competition , many areas to cover and consumers are getting used to free information via channels like social media.

Besides grants Correctiv earns a relative small amount of money by selling books.

A full overview of donaties and salary of the Correctiv management can be seen here.

Donation by Dutch Persgroep to Correctiv

According the website of Correctiv it received Euro 5000,- in 2015 from De Persgroep BV. Dutch newspaper Algemeen Dagblad (AD), part of Persgroep,  cooperated with the Correctiv investigation on MH17. When asked AD reporter Jeroen de Vreede about this payment his comment was:

Persgroep participates or donates as largest publisher in the Netherlands often innovative ways of journalism. (like Blendle, Paper, Topics and Follow the Money). Correctiv was interesting for donation as the cooperation with AD on the MH17 research was done well. This donation of Euro 5000 was an one-off donation.


Cooperation with Algemeen Dagblad and Der Spiegel

In cooperation with  Der Spiegel and Dutch newspaper Algemeen Dagblad, Correctiv  did an investigation on the downing of MH17. The investigation was done by Marcus Bensmann and David Crawford.  Algemeen Dagblad reported in January 2015 the results of the Correctiv investigation. Algemeen Dagblad did not pay for this investigation.

Der Spiegel reported about the results of the Correctiv investigation  here.

Besides a publication on the website of Correctiv plus a story in Algemeen Dagblad and Der Spiegel,  Correctiv also published a book on MH17 titled  ‘MH17 the search for truth

An overview of the errors and unverified claims  made by Correctiv

In the MH17 investigation report Correctiv made many errors. Some were adjusted, most are still in the report, two years after the publication of the report!

Let us start with a list of the errors and unverified claims. Then I will discuss each error in detail and provide evidence for the error.

  1. Stating Ivan Krasnoproshin was in active military service
  2. incorrect conclusion of the location of the launch site
  3. initially Correctiv stated a Tupolev was shot down by a BUK. Later corrected to a S200
  4. Incorrect quoting of Harry Horlings
  5. Correctiv states a BUK missile is launched from a fireproof container. Never corrected
  6. speaking to eyewitness who cannot have heard a BUK missile launch
  7. The claim that Ukraine used civil aircraft as human shield
  8. Claim the BUK was filmed in the afternoon of July 17, after it shot down MH17 (later corrected)

Besides all these errors, there is another issue with Correctiv and that is the way the organization communicates with criticasters. Several people like Billy Six, Max van der Werff and me contacted Correctiv. They never wanted a discussion about the errors. On Twitter and Facebook these people are blocked.

Error 1: Stating Ivan Krasnoproshin took part in downing of MH17

Correctiv states that a Russian sergeant was discharged in June 2014 from active service in the Russian army. This is suspicious as it was rumoured that this was a trick of Putin so he could say “there are no Russian soldiers active in Ukraine”. However, as a logbook clearly reveals, this sergeant left military service in June 2013.

Correctiv writes the following about Ivan Krasnoproshin

A sergeant of the 53rd brigade who is particularly active online posted numerous pictures of his unit on his page on Vkontakte (, the Russian clone of Facebook. The sergeant’s name is Ivan Krasnoproshin. Among his pictures is a photo of a document reporting his discharge from the Russian army in mid-June. The photo showing a page in his unit’s logbook lists the names of the soldiers reporting for the evening roll call. Number one: Sergeant Krasnoproshin, followed by 13 privates. Every day is crossed off. The last entry is on June 13th. Then there is a hand-written note behind Sergeant Krasnoproshin’s name: “Discharged due to completion of service period according to order no. (illegible).”
Indeed, according to the logbook, Sergeant Krasnoproshin was not the only member of his unit to be suddenly discharged from the Russian military on that day. Three additional soldiers in Sergeant Krasnoproshin’s unit—including Sergeant Krasnoproshin nearly one third of the unit’s members—were discharged on the same day and for the same reason.
In the middle of June, several days after Krasnoproshin and his comrades were discharged, the long convoy of the 53rd air defense brigade made its way towards Ukraine. Again someone posted a photo in a social network. Again we can see the same BUK launcher 3*2.
There is little doubt: it was the 53rd Russian air defense brigade from Kursk that took position in Snizhne in eastern Ukraine on that fateful afternoon.

However this photo suggests Krasnoproshin left the military service in June 2013. Long before MH17 was shot down.

The image below shows a screenshot from a Dutch NOS television item on Bellingcat. It shows the name of Krasnoproshin on the first line in both Cyrillic and Latin alphabet. Bellingcat used photos from Krasnoproshin for its research into the route of the BUK from Kursk.

Error 2 : incorrect conclusion of the location of the launch site

Correctiv went to a small village just north of Snizhne called Puschkinsky. They spoke to a couple of people living in Puschkinsky who stated they heard a big noise caused by the missile launch on a field nearby. A second eyewitness stated he even saw the launcher which launched a missile.

Joint Investgation Team on the September 2016 press presentation  made public the missile was launched from a field south of Snizhne. Many kilometers from the location Correctiv had described.

It is unclear why Correctiv went to Puschkinsky for their investigation in the first place. There could be two reasons. First of all website Meduza reported about a place north of Snizhne in an online article which was later removed. An other reason for Correctiv to search in Puschkinsky could be a Zello conversation. Zello is a popular mobile phone app which allows real time voice communications similar to using a walkie-talkie. Website Ukraineatwar reported about a tapped Zello conversation in July. Someone stated in that conversation that she had seen a missile plume near the KhimMash factory. This factory is a few hundred meters from Puschkinsky.

Correctiv concluded solely on the interviews with very few people living in  Puschkinsky  that the BUK missile was launched from a field nearby.

When  Correctiv spoke to eyewitness in Puschkinsky,  Correctiv  could have known about a much more logical possible launch location south of Snizhe. Days after July 17 a photo was published showing a smoke plume. At July 21 blog Ukraineatwar geolocated the location of where the photo was made.

Correctiv completely ignored this location. It did not visit the area to speak to eyewitness. Other journalists from newspapers like The Telegraph, NRC, NOS and Volkskrant did talk to eyewitness. Many stated the saw a missile flying. JIT in 2016 told the press this area was indeed the launch area.



Error  3: speaking to eyewitness who cannot have heard a BUK missile launch

Correctiv  interviewed an eyewitness in Puschkinsky who stated he heard a missile launch. He also claimed grass on a field close to his home was burning . However from investigation by German blogger Michael Kobs the eyewitness did not point to a field where the BUK could have been launched from, but to the MH17 crash site.

The eyewitness also told the tiles on the roof were vibrating. This seems very unlikely to have been caused by the impact of MH17 to the ground. Snizhne is too far away from the Hrabove.


Error 4: incorrect quoting of Harry Horlings

Harry Horlings is quoted by Correctiv as a  former Dutch fighter pilot. Correctiv did not state it talked to Horlings. Algemeen Dagblad reporter Jeroen de Vreede had an interview with Horlings.

Billy Six had an interview with Harry Horlings to discuss the quotes of Horlings used in the Correctiv investigation. Horlings states that a better name for Correctiv would be ‘inCorrectiv’.

Error 5: Correctiv states a BUK missile is launched from a fireproof container

Besides these big errors, Correctiv made some smaller, easy to avoid, errors. For examples in the report Correctiv states a BUK is launched from a fireproof container.

“The missile is launched out of a fireproof container, leaving few visible burn marks on the ground; the launch vehicle in turn leaves marks on the ground that are identical to those of a tank.”

That is obviously wrong. See photos of BUK TELAR launchers and any person with none expertise on missiles notices a BUK missile is not launched from a container.

The only BUK system which uses containers is the BUK-M3. This version is used by Russia only but still very limited. It is impossible based on the photos we have seen that such a BUK M3 was used to down MH17. Also the DSB report is clear about that.

I approached Correctiv several times about this error. I once got a reply from Bensman. However there was no discussion about this error and Correctiv still did not correct the error.

Billy Six, a German freelance journalist,  contacted Correctiv four times by email and many times by phone with questions. Howver Mr. Bensmann of Correctiv claims: „Correct is that Billy Six didn´t ask us a single question regarding our research.“

Error 6:  Correctiv claims Ukraine used civil aircraft as human shield

Correctiv suggests Ukraine Air Force used civil aircraft as human shield.

Civil air traffic granted Ukrainian fighter pilots valuable seconds in their fight for survival against BUKs. Ukrainian fighter jets have the ability to hide just beneath passenger planes without the civilian passengers and crew even knowing of their presence.

At the moment of writing this blog there is not a single proof Ukraine fighterjets used civil aircraft as a human shield. Probably Correctiv used a statement by a woman with pro separatists attitude who told this on a video published on Youtube. The woman later married to a separatists leader.

Error 7: speaking to eyewitness who cannot have heard a BUK missile launch

See later in this post.

Error 8 Stating the BUK was filmed on July 17 after it shot down MH17.

In the original report by Correctiv it was stated:

The BUK was filmed again late in the afternoon of July 17th 2014. This time a missile was missing. The BUK is on its way down the street N21, in Luhansk, a city close the the Russian border.

Later this error was corrected by deleting the sentence. It can still be seen at Webarchive.

According the SBU, the BUK was filmed in the early afternoon of July 18 in Luhansk.


 Awards given to Correctiv

Despite the many errors in the report, Correctiv received two awards for their investigation on MH17:

The jury of the Grimme award wrote “Correctiv did a great investigation and edited it very well.” The jury commends this project as an outstanding example for the merger of digital storytelling methods with traditional journalistic skills.

The text below is the translation by Correctiv of the jury verdict:

Through extensive research the authors were able to reconstruct the alleged downing of the passenger aircraft. They have reconciled and verified existing evidence from various sources with facts on the field. Multimedia elements were put to good use in order to make an interesting story plausible to tell.“

We read texts like  “verified existing evidence” and “extensive research”

The errors described in the above paragraph proof there has not been extensive research and verification of evidence.

Criticasters of Correctiv

Not everyone was impressed by the work of Correctiv. Almost every citizen journalist who spent time of MH17 stated Correctiv made many errors. An overview of these people:

  • Billy Six
  • Graham Phillips
  • Max van der Werff
  • Michael Kobs
  • Gunnar Jeschke who wrote a blog at  Der Freitag publishes online daily, as well as weekly in print. It has a syndication agreement with the British newspaper The Guardian, publishing a number of German translations of Guardian content in every issue. The political alignment of Freitag is  social liberalism
  • Marcel van den Berg (this blog)
  • Harry Horlings was wrongly quoted by Correctiv. Horlings called Correctiv inCorrectiv
  • Arnold Greidanus, a Dutchman who did intensive investigation into MH17, called Correctiv a fraud.

The only person who is a bit positive on Correctiv is Bellingcat’s Aric Toler. See this conversation on Twitter.


German Michael Kobs did a lot of investigation on MH17. He wrote an article about Correctiv

Max van der Werff visited the small village Puschkinsky himself. His blog about the visit can be read here. Max concluded the eyewitness who claimed he saw the launch of the missile, pointed in the wrong direction in the video published by Der Spiegel. Max spoke to the person who lives in the house indicated by Correctiv as the house of the witness. The man called Alexander told Max he did not ever talk to Correctiv and did not see a BUK missile launch.

Visit to the Correctiv office by criticaster

In August 2016 UK freelance journalist Graham Phillips and German freelance journalist Billy Six visited the office of Correctiv in Berlin. Beforehand Correctiv requested Phillips to ask his questions by emails. He prefered however to visit the office. He started to shout that Correctiv  are media liars. The staff of Correctiv requested Six and Phillips to leave the office and stop filming. The duo left the office but the filming was not stopped.

Billy Six explains in this video his side of the story.


The result of the visit was a lot of attention in German press. Deutsche Welle (DW) had an interview with Chistian Humborg, executive director of Correctiv . Tagesspiegel has an article about the visit of Phillips and Six here.

Billy Six is another criticaster. He even sent a letter of  complaint to German Press Council for the investigation done by Correctiv.Six also contacted the Ethics Council of Correctiv. Furthermore he contacted the society of Grimme Award with a request to strip Correctiv  from their award which they had received in June 2015. He never got a reply!

This video in German language tells all the issues with correctiv


So what are the issues of Six and Phillips?

Billy Six wrote a Facebook post about his issues.

  1. Harry Hornings, a former test pilot, was quoted in the article of Correctiv.  Hornings told Billy Six he never spoke to Correctiv. Also some of his statements were incorrectly quoted by Correctiv.
    Algemeen Dagblad and Correctiv in response responded that AD spoke to Horlings. The text of the interview was used by Correctiv. So indeed Correctiv did not talk to Horlings, something was never said by Correctiv.
  2. Graham Phillips asked Correctiv by email why they did not release the recorded interview with the eyewitness who claimed he saw the launch of the BUK missile (source). Correctiv did not want to answer the questions because of the visit of Phillips and Six to the Correctiv office. Below the response of Correctiv to the questions of Phillips.
  3. Did Correctiv talk to Harry Horlings personally and why did Correctiv quote him saying a jet could not have downed MH17?
  4. What are the evidence for Correctiv statement Russian army invaded Eastern Ukraine?
  5. Is Correctiv prepared to return the Grimme-award?
  6. How is Corretiv financed?
  7. Billy Six went personally to the village reported by Correctiv as being the location where the missile was fired from. He spoke with 14 witnesses, two of them knew Bensmann. Nobody confirmed the story published by Correctiv. 
  8. Six asked  Bensmann personally to listen to the “original audio” having the interview with the single eyewitness who claimed to have seen the launch, but he refused


Max van der Werff published the following issues:

  1. Max states Correctiv fabricated the eyewitness report. (source). For example the eyewitness shown in this video stated to Van der Werff he did not see the launch
  2. Max van der Werff requested Correctiv many times about the launch location. They never replied. (source). Correctiv blocked Max van der Werff in Twitter.

I have some issues with the quality of Correctiv as well.

  1. Correctiv states a BUK missile is launched from a fireproof container. That is not the case. I contacted Correctiv several times. They did not correct the error.

Correctiv responded to the Billy Six video here.


Correctiv Ethikrat

The investigative work of Correctiv is assisted by the so called Ethikrat. This is an advisory board which main task is make sure that Correctiv the high ethical basic principles of investigative journalism respects to  support of a democratic culture. I requested Christian Humborg, at that time head of Correctiv, for contact details of the Ethikrat. I never got an anwers. Humborg now works for WikiMedia Germany.


The response of the German medienrat on the letter of Billy Six

Russia Today Germany had an video interview with Billy Six on the incident at the Correctiv office in Berlin. He told he wrote a letter to the German medienrat to complain about Correctiv. The medienrat responded they could not act to the complain as they believe Correctiv is not part of the regular media,


Russia Today requested Marcus Bensmann for comment. Below his comment. Interesting to know that Correctiv will factcheck for Facebook.


response-Bensman-to RT


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25 Comments on Corrected! Award winning investigative journalism by CORRECT!V MH17 has many mistakes!

  1. Error #7 is not an error, it is a deliberate lie. They expected that no one of their audience would look into Russian handwriting.

    • In the August version of this post, Error #7 was about Ivan Krasnoproshin. To repeat, it was not an error, it was a fraud. Correctiv certainly saw that the year in the attendance list was 2013. As well, they certainly saw the date when Krasnoproshin posted the photo of the attendance list on his social media account. Correctiv omitted that date, in order to deceive the public. They are just fraudsters.

  2. The Correctiv article states
    The BUK was filmed again late in the afternoon of July 17th 2014. This time a missile was missing.”
    There is no follow up to this statement , have you brought this to their attention ie where is evidence of an afternoon sighting filmed ?

    • Thanks. I was not aware of this error. It was later adjusted by Correctiv. Webarchive still shows the original text. Added to the blogpost.

  3. Gabriele Gordon // January 17, 2017 at 9:40 pm // Reply

    Why didn’t you note my early criticism of the work of Correctiv?
    With a Michael Kobs add-on here?
    O.K., maybe the German language was a barrier for you to get to know these arguments.
    But I’m really surprised that you targeted Correctiv that late. It contradicted Bellingcat and had so many flaws that it should have [been] rejected a long time ago. But that was not the case, because Correctiv acted as a NATO-Ally just as Bellingcat.
    Google and Facebook means NATO, there’s no doubt about its serving US-Policy: and just now when Facebok announces to use Correctiv as a fact checking tool you waked up?
    Come on.
    I’m wondering why you are debunking Correctiv right now and not earlier.

    • I believe the investigation by Correctiv is not that relevant for the conclusion. The conclusion still stands and I agree 1000% with it:
      Russia supplied a BUK TELAR (probably including crew) which shot down MH17.

      My critism is on the lousy way Correctiv did the investigation. It is a journalism piece of amateurism. They wrote incorrect statements, did not correct obvious mistakes, blocked people with had critism, jumped to conclusions, had a tunnelvision and so on.

      The fact that Facebook decided to hire these amateurs made me trigger to finally finish the last part of the blogpost and publish it. The draft was ready since August 2016.

      What you write about NATO is nonsense to me.

    • the readibility of your blog, miss gordon, is below zero.
      so plz upgrade it to a new one.
      und ich meine dass gar nicht bös, dieses alte blogsystem war nicht dafür gedacht, solche anzahl an beiträgen anzuzeigen…

  4. the readibility of your blog, miss gordon, is below zero.
    so plz upgrade it to a new one.
    und ich meine dies gar nicht bös, dieses alte blogsystem war nicht dafür gedacht, solche anzahl an beiträgen anzuzeigen…

  5. Continuation.
    However, amazingly, on 15 July Ukrainain forces retreated from the settlements taken on 14 July:
    This report of 16 July is quoting the radio station “Golos stolitsy” (“Voice of the capital city”) and its correspondent in Lugansk Nadezhda Chernukha. Question by the radio station: “What is the situation in the region now? The media report that Ukrainian forces allegedly retreated because of threats by militants. What do you know about this?”
    Answer by Nadezhda Chernukha: “Yes, it is so: it is unknown why, but yesterday [15 July] Ukrainian forces retreated from the settlements they had already liberated [on 14 July], those are Beloe, Saurovka and Roskoshnoe. No reasons [for retreat] were cited. There was some info that the militants threatened to shatter [to bomb or shell] the city [Lugansk]… However, the militants refuted that info.”
    Of course, the rumor that the separatists had threatened to destroy Lugansk was ridiculous because 1) A majority of separatists were locals; 2) Ukrainain forces were not that sensitive – they bombed and shelled Lugansk, which resulted in civilian casualties. Thus, for unknown reasons, Ukrainain forces retreated from Beloe and Roskoshnoe on 15 July, after taking them on 14 July. (Saurovka seems to have been a slip of the tongue, instead of Sabovka, near Lugansk). The retreat enabled “Buk” to “travel” between Lugansk and Donetsk, in accordance with photos and videos made in advance.
    On 18 July, Ukrainian forces retook Beloe and Roskoshnoe.

  6. Let’s recall the May, 2015 discussion on this very website:
    Re-read this post: it contains many links to news items indicating that in the week of 14-18 July there was active fighting and shelling in the area south and south-west of Lugansk. Also, the post contains a text by Arnold Greidanus who had done an extensive research on the Luhansk video. Arnold’s conclusion: it is “highly unlikely” that the Buk had been “driving at the intersection filmed”.
    Also, see Admin’s summary in the above post: “The route does not make sense at all”.
    Indeed, no sense at all. A natural route for any Buk to escape from Snizhne to Russia is via Marinovka to the Russian town of Kuibyshevo. The distance from Snizhne to the Russian border is approximately 23 km. In mid-July, the village of Stepanovka was under the separatists’ control. On 16 July, separatists took the village of Marinovka. The border checkpoint “Marinovka” was yet under Ukrainian control. It is approximately 5 km between the village of Marinovka and the checkpoint. For a Buk, it would not have been a big problem to bypass the checkpoint – just driving on its tracks through fields at dark of the night.
    Driving instead to Lugansk (roughly 135 km), through a war zone at the city’s outskirts, and then approximately 80 km from Lugansk to the Russian border (the town of Severny), actually at daylight, it would have been utterly insane.
    Also, as it is pointed out in the post above, there is a low overpass (3.5 meters) on the main road connecting Luhansk and Debaltseve. (It is located in the town of Perevalsk). Thus, for a Buk on a lowloader, that route would not be a “route of choice”.
    The low overpass in Perevalsk and hostilities near Lugansk make the Lugansk-Donetsk road an unlikely route for a Buk on its way to Snizhne as well. Donetsk emerged in Kiev’s narrative as a transit point for the “Kursk Buk” because the photos and videos of the “Kursk Buk” had been made on the Donetsk-Snizhne road, beginning from the Makiivka highway.

  7. Again, look at
    Do I misunderstand anything? The overpass in Perevalsk is 3.8 meters high – see the photo in the post above. The height of Buk TELAR 9A310M1 (Buk-M1) is 3.8 meters. Thus, a Buk can’t drive there! Buk could not have driven on the main road between Lugansk and Donetsk.
    I still have some things to say and will do it later, but this sole thing – the height – is sufficient to destroy the case.

  8. The Yandex map of Perevalsk is better than the Google map. Type; on the Yandex page, click the word Карты; there, type Perevalsk. The map will show that railroads do not allow to bypass the low Perevalsk overpass on the main road Lugansk-Donetsk (via Debaltsevo).
    Kiev’s narrative is based on the photos and videos of a Buk on the road Donetsk-Snizhne. Thus, Kiev had to tell the story of a Buk that had arrived to Donetsk from Lugansk via Debaltsevo. But Buk could not have driven by that road because of the low overpass in Perevalsk. Thus, Kiev’s story is fake.

  9. Theoretically, it may be that a Buk could have crossed one of the Perevalsk railroads at the crossing 48.447429, 38.842066 – I just do not know what that crossing looks like. Then it could have driven via a few streets and return to the main road beyond of the low overpass (3.8 meters). It would be interesting to know what the above crossing looks like. Anyway, the main road between Lugansk and Donetsk via Perevalsk and Debaltsevo is not a convenient route for a Buk.

  10. The Buk did not have to pass Perevalsk because the only movement made was from
    The Ukrainian base at Spartak/Donetsk to Snizhne.

    • Andrew, this is what I wish to say. The Buk on the “17 July” photos and videos did not arrive via the Lugansk-Perevalsk-Donetsk road.

      • There is not a single piece of doubt for me! That BUK came from Russian Federation.

        • It may be that a Buk came from Russian Federation, but it came NOT via the Lugansk-Perevalsk-Debaltsevo-Donetsk road. And an escape via the Debaltsevo-Lugansk road would have been even more incredible. This route has no advantage over the direct route towards the Russian town of Kuibyshevo – hostilities were both near Marinovka and near Lugansk – but it has important disadvantages: a long distance (roughly, 220 km vs 23 km); the necessity to look for ways to bypass the low overpass; moving after the sunrise. Any satellite or any spy seen it between 5 am and 7 am driving between Lugansk and the town of Severny (the Russian border)?

        • To correct myself: in my previous comment, I wrote that an escape route via the Debaltsevo-Lugansk road would have been even more incredible. No, both – the “arrival” route via the Lugansk-Debaltsevo-Donetsk road and the “escape” route via the Debaltsevo-Lugansk road – are incredible. Number one reason to see them both incredible is intense fighting and shelling near Lugansk – at its southern and south-western outskirts:
          If a Buk had entered Ukraine from Russia near Severny, it would have been crazy to send it to Donetsk via Lugansk. Other routes, more to the east, without fighting, did exist. They led to Krasny Luch (now Khrustalny) and from there to Snizhne. Railroads are numerous both in the direction of Krasny Luch and Donetsk, and around Donetsk railroads are like a complex tangle. Look at the area of Yenakievo-Makiivka.

  11. In September, 2016, the Ukrainian website Gordonua published an interview with the former commander of the Tornado battalion Ruslan Onishchenko:
    Onishchenko has been under the Military Prosecutor Office’s criminal investigation since June 2015, now he and another 11 members of Tornado are under trial, charged with torture, killings, rape. The Gordonua interview was about another Tornado man who shot dead two police officers in the city of Dnipro in Sep 2016. Onishchenko believed that the Tornado man in Dnipro was framed up. As for himself and his comrades, who are now under trial, Onishchenko claimed that they had been arrested because they had blocked trains with illegal cargo in Donbass and thus had hindered with illegal trade in Donbass patronized (illegaly) by military prosecutors. He felt hurt and betrayed by the Interior Ministry – the organizer of the Tornado battalion (initially, it was named Shakhtarsk; established in June 2014). In particular, Onishchenko said: “…We carried out tasks that were set by very high-rank officials in the Interior Ministry and the Office of the Prosecutor General, as well as by their close associates. We constantly were in contact with them by phone. They set us tasks to disrupt the so-called referendum in “DPR”, to collect video-, photo-, and audio materials. Do you remember the video where it was filmed as to how the Russian “Buk-M1″ was driving via Torez, Snezhnoe, and so on? It was Tornado guys who filmed it, they sent it to an aide of a high-rank official in the Interior Ministry. He posted the video, promoted himself, and now betrays Tornado”.

    We know a remarkably well-informed, amazingly smart aide in the Interior Ministry: Avakov’s advisor Anton Gerashchenko, now MP. One year after the MH17 shooting-down, on 17 July 2015, Gerashchenko explained in his FB as to how he had got to know that the Russian Buk-M1 had downed the plane. According to his 17.07.2015 FB post, he got info about Buk from the Torez city council deputy Vitaly Kropachev and the latter got it from his friends.
    However, given Gerashchenko’s amazing insight 1 hour 10 minutes after the disaster (his FB post of 17.07.2014 in 17:30 Kiev time), it seems to be more likely that he had certain information in advance.

  12. In continuation of my comment on Tornado.
    8 July 2014, Anton Gerashchenko congratulating the fighters of the battalion Shakhtarsk [later renamed in Tornado] with their taking the oath to Ukraine:

  13. Via a social network, I found a resident of the Perevalsk area and asked him whether it is easy or not to bypass the Perevalsk 3.8-meter overpass. His reply: Путепровод объехать сложно. The range of meanings for translation: not easy; difficult; hard.
    Thus, according to Kiev’s narrative, in order to transfer the Buk from Severny to Snizhne, the separatists chose the longest road, difficult to drive through (at least because of the Perevalsk overpass) and dangerous because of hostilities near Lugansk; in order to transfer the Buk back to Russia, the separatists again preferred the longest road with the low overpass and chose to travel at daylight (approximately, between 5 am and 7 am from Lugansk to Severny).

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