Ukraine officials deny the Ukraine Air Force was flying on July 17, the day MH17 was shoot down by a BUK surface to air missile and 298 innocent people were killed.
However it is extremely unlikely this statement is true. Many indication show Ukraine Air Force was flying in the area. This post is not to prove MH17 was shoot down by a SU-25. In my opinion this is nonsense. But I do believe somehow there is a relation between military jets operating near Snizhne and the shoot down of MH17.
So what are the indications:
- the spokesman of the Ukraine Armed Forces stated less than an hour after MH17 was missing the Ukraine Air Force jets were operating
- Many eyewitness reported seeing one or multiple SU-25 operating in the area
- The days before July 17 many flights were operated by Ukraine SU-25s
- Primary radar of both Ukraine Air Force as well as Ukraine civil air traffic control are not available
- DSB did not talk to eyewitness on the ground
- Reports on social media about fighter aircraft in the afternoon of July 17
Statement Ukraine jets were operating at July 17
At a pressconference at July 17 at 17:00 Andrej Lysenko, The spokesman for Ukraine’s Security Councilm stated the following at around 21 minutes, during the questions round (video of press conference here):
[21:04] Question: On social networks, info is shared about BUK rockets, spotted near Snizhne. They are not Ukrainian ones. Can you comment on this?
Lysenko: We’ve got info, not only about this rocket system. We realize that it’s a very serious weapon and our Air Force and Intelligence will do their best to destroy these systems, so let’s wait and see. We have this information.
[21:41] Question: I would like you to clarify. So, can you confirm about this BUK, that it can hit airplanes ?
Lysenko: We’ve got information that some rockets complexes have passed into Ukraine territory, which can hit planes from high altitude. There was even a video how these BUK rockets drove through Luhansk. We know this.
[22:48] (Another question on another subject)
[23:18] Question: On social networks there is also information, that near Rozsypne, near Torez, maybe a Ukrainian plane was shot down.
Lysenko: When did this happen?
Question: The news appeared an hour ago, maybe less.
Lysenko: I can’t give an answer now, I have no information about this, but we will inform you later about the plane. All our fighter jets are operating, except yesterday’s case. Thanks for your attention.
Immediately after the downing and without anyone asking yet Ukr. officials stated they hadn’t being flying in the ATO zone.
Many eyewitness reporting on SU-25s’
At least 16 people I am aware of told on camera they saw one or more SU-25 operating in the area where MH17 crashed at the time of the crash. For an overview see this post.
The days before July 17 many flights were operated by Ukraine SU-25s
This post provides an overview of flying activities of the Ukraine Air Force in the days before July 17. It clearly shows many aircraft and helicopters were flying combat missions. It is very unlikely at July 17 there were was no flying at all.
Primary radar of both Ukraine Air Force as well as Ukraine civil air traffic control are not available
Ukraine did not provide primary raw and processed radar recordings of both military and civil air traffic control. The military radar was switched off according the Ukraine armed forces. Reason for radar switched: there were no planned flights at the 17th. Eyewitness tell a different story. The primary radar of civil air traffic control was switched off because of scheduled maintenance
DSB did not talk to eyewitness
DSB did not talk to eyewitness who were in the area of where MH17 crashed. These could have confirmed to DSB that SU-25s where in the area. This is remarkable as Annex 13 of ICAO advises to include eyewitness reports in the investigation. The comment of DSB for not talking to eyewitness is:
- anything on the groud was not our scope;
- talking to eyewitness after many months does not provide usefull information as memory fades and is influenced.
I really wonder why DSB did not approach eyewitness in the days after July 17. Could it be that Kiev did not allow the Dutch investigators to talk to people? Sydney Morning Herald has an interesting story told by an Australian police officer. He talks about not being able to do investigation in Eastern Ukraine.
Reports on social media about figher aircraft seen at July 17
There are various reports on social media which state aircraft were seen in the afternoon.
Rebel commander Alexander Khodakovsky of the so-called Vostok battalion sain in a interviewwith Reuters:
“And that day, they were intensively flying, and exactly at the moment of the shooting, at the moment the civilian plane flew overhead, they launched air strikes. Even if there was a BUK, and even if the BUK was used, Ukraine did everything to ensure that a civilian aircraft was shot down.”