At the April 6 briefing by Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova again Bellingcat was criticized. The transcript is here. Bellingcat responded via a posting on the Facebook page.
Bellingcat as an instrument to divert attention from investigating the tragedy of the Malaysian Boeing over Ukraine
We took note of an interview with Bellingcat representatives for the BBC in which they sarcastically spoke about some “trolling” on the part of the Ministry of Defence and the Foreign Ministry of Russia, for allegedly attacking them.
I would simply like to recall that we do not attack anyone, but rather, give our unbiased assessment of the work of both this group and those who use its materials as reliable information.
We understand the purpose of this group’s activities. Acting jointly with the current Ukrainian authorities, they continue to use all possible “fakes,” to create quasi-evidence to blame Russia. Why do we take this position and on what is it based? Even now the commission (investigating the circumstances of the Boeing tragedy over the territory of Ukraine) prefers to ignore Russia’s reasoning, which is corroborated by facts and evidence, in particular by tests and experiments. The commission ignores it to the extent that it makes no reply to this reasoning, while at the same time passing off these “fakes” for the hundredth time as proof or integrated evidence, even when this information has been debunked, and not only by Russia.
At present, we have information,that leads us to believe that loyal and handy witnesses in this case are being selected and presumably trained. This begs the question: why is all this being done? The aim is once again to give the global community fabricated proof of Russia’s aggression. This seems blasphemous in this case, because people died there and their families want to know the truth. One may endlessly combine all these invented stories and collect evidence allegedly found on social media sites and at the same time ignore the results of experiments, including those provided by Russia. All this can be done only if you neglect to consider one thing: this case is not just an information campaign, it involves human lives, the destinies of the victims’ families, who definitely want to know the truth.
Bellingcat responded via the Facebook site
In an April 6 press conference, Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson Maria Zakharova accused Bellingcat of using fake evidence, cooperating with the Ukrainian government, and other untrue claims. We have sent the following letter to the Russian Ministry of Defense, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and Russian Embassy to the United Kingdom requesting specific examples or evidence to support their accusations:
Dear Sir or Madam,
Both the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Ministry of Defense have accused Bellingcat of preparing “open falsifications,” passing off “fakes,” using “faked posts,” and making “pseudo-hypotheses.” Bellingcat has never created fake information, and has never included “faked posts” as evidence in its investigations. After months of false accusations in official press conferences, we request that the government of the Russian Federation provide specific examples of the “fakes” and false evidence that are supposedly published by Bellingcat.
Additionally, on April 6, the spokesperson for the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs accused Bellingcat of “acting jointly with the current Ukrainian authorities.” Bellingcat has never acted jointly with any body of the Ukrainian government. We request any proof held by the government of the Russian Federation that Bellingcat has cooperated with the Ukrainian–or any other–government in its research or publications.
The government of the Russian Federation seems very concerned with providing an “unbiased assessment,” in the words of spokesperson Zakharova, of the work of Bellingcat. We request concrete proof to support its accusations.
Eliot Higgins, Bellingcat