Russian media created a lot of stories claiming an Ukraine Air Force SU-25 shot down MH17. They even used a lie detector to add weight to their “evidence”. However the SU-25 theory was complete nonsense for various reasons: the aircraft is not designed to shot down flying targets, especially when targets fly much higher and faster than a SU-25. Also the damage observed at MH17 is totally inconsistent with a cannon and a R-60 air to air missile.Last but not least Rostov radar showed debris and not another aircraft.
At May 5 a rather big twist appeared in Russian media.
A Russian newspaper published a large article claiming Russian defense experts wrote a report which concludes MH17 was shot down by a BUK. The location of that BUK was spotted by a Russian satellite. So it was an Ukraine BUK which shot down MH17.
The report was supposed to be sent in the near future to the Dutch investigators according the newspaper . However Dutch NOS Journaal said at May 6 the Dutch prosecutor did not receive the report when they were in Russia in April to collect evidence.
Let me be clear: I do not know if a Russian or Ukraine BUK shot down MH17. Judging by the way the Kremlin responded after July 17 I would say Russia is responsible. They had the clear military motive to defend the area against Ukraine fighterjets and transport planes. There are photos showing a Russian BUK in the area. There is a photo of what could be the smoketrail. However we cannot exclude a false flag operation at this moment.
So lets analyze this latest story.
First evidence for BUK:The Russian MoD press briefing at July 21
The Russian Ministry of Defense had a pressconference at July 21 2014. They presented all kind of evidence showing Ukraine was responsible for the shotdown. They showed radar images and suggested a military fighter was responsible. They also showed satellite pictures of Ukraine BUKs in the area.
A lot of what was presented turned out to be false. The shown route of MH17 was false. The location of the photo showing BUK on trailer was false. The statement a SU-25 was seen on radar was false. And the satellite photo showing a BUK was removed from a Ukriane army base was photoshoped.
So that was not a good start to show the honesty of the Russian authorities.
This map was presented as well. It shows positions of Russian BUK systems. The green circles indicate the range of the missile. The BUK position directly south of MH17 is the one this story is about. The village is called Zaroshchens’ke (located here.)
The warm up for the BUK story
At April 30 the vice minister of Defense for the Donetsk People Republic (DPR) Eduard Basurin told during a press conference that military maps used by Ukraine Army were found. These maps showed positions of Ukraine BUKs in the beginning of July close where MH17 was shot down. Western media did not report about this pressconference. The Spanish edition of Russia Today has a comprehensive item about this and showed some parts of the map.
The exact locations in the Russia Today item are:
fragment 1 is Zuhres
fragment 2 (at 48s) is Ilovais’k.
fragment 3 (at 58s) is Shaktars’k
fragment 4 (1m04s) is Amvrosiivka
fragment 5(1m15s) is een global overview of Zuhres till Shaktars’k
All places are on the edge of the area controled by the separatists.
One of the villages seen is Zuhres as shown in fragment 1
The change from SU-25 to BUK story. Or wasn’t it a change but a spin?
At May 5 the Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta published a story about a leaked document. The document was supposed to be sent in the future to the Dutch Safety Board. The report says MH17 was shot down by a BUK from a location controlled by the Ukraine Army. The report was written by engineers of the military-industrial complex (ВПК) or “VPK” = Военно-промышленный комплекс .
Little is known about this VPK. A comment on this spot said:
In Russian, VPK is a vague term for all defence related companies, be it military machine building, design bureaus etc. So, the new Russian report is actually fully anonymous: no names and no concrete company. The “TS VPK” you link to is a separate commercial agency that reports about VPK itself but has nothing to do with the MH17/Buk report.
The frontpage of Novaya Gazeta at Wednesday May 6 is shown below.
Novaya Gazeta is known for being anti Putin. It was the only Russian newspaper saying ‘forgive us‘ to the Dutch audience for the shot down. The image below shows the cover of the newspaper. The digital edition of the newspaper including the report can be found here.
So this is totally different from the SU-25 stories brought by Putin controled newspapers and some fake “Union of Russian Engineers” studies.
So this is quite interesting. Who has leaked this report to the anti-Putin newspaper? Was it to make the BUK theory from the West look more authentic?
Aric Toler who is part of the Bellingcat team is interviewed by StopFake.org. Read his opinion here. Toler tells this is a clear shift of Kremlin away from the SU-25 theory. That was unable to continue because it just was nonsense. To make the BUK theory more credible the report was ‘leaked’ to a anti-Putin newspaper.
I believe this report is FAKE. I believe this report was made by a Western secret agency to strengthen the BUK theory. Read on why.
The report. Is it genuine?
The report looks to be written by someone who is not knowledgeable on the SA-11 / SA-17 BUK system. For example the report mentions two types of warheads.
The report says:
Severall sources in internet use the photos of the warhead shown in figure 3. Analyse of these photos shows that photo 3A is a mockup warhead 9N314. This warhead is part of the 9M38 BUK missile. Photo 3B is a mockup warhead type 9N314M part of a missile 9M38M1.
This is NOT correct!
The SA-11 BUK uses two type of missiles. The older 9M38 used the warhead type 9N130. The 9M38M1 missile uses the warhead 9N314 and 9N314M
On the photo below you see the 9N314M warhead.
More indications the report is fabricated:
- all the info looks to be taken from internet. There is no in-side knowledge.
- The report is anonymous. The name of the auhor(s) is not known. The BBC reports on this
Novaya Gazeta’s deputy editor Sergey Sokolov told the BBC that he did not know the names of military experts who worked on the report but he was familiar with their company.
Mr Sokolov pointed out that the newspaper was given access to the report on condition of anonymity, and it considered it important to pass it on to the public
A couple of Russian people analysed the report. Generally they say the report is fake. Photos and information is taken from Internet.
For example the analyze of svoboda.org
On May 7 the facebook account of prominent blogger Sergei Parkhomenko was deleted by Facebook. Probably because Russian bots complained to Facebook about the content. Sergei Parkhomenko wrote the report was fake. Interpretermag has the details.
Another analyze of the report is published at LiveLeak.
Dutch website GeenStijl published a Dutch translation of the report.
Damage and position of the BUK
There is little know about the effect of the angle the BUK missile hits its target. What we know is that the fragments are spread out sideways. In this post is explained how a SA-11 BUK system operates.
The image below shows the angel of fragmentation distribution. The fragments of the warhead which are designed to destroy the target explode sideways. (indicated by the digit 1).
This post shows the damage done to the cockpit. A relative narrow band has been severely damaged or destroyed by the missile.
We also know the missile is initially guided by the TELAR using a radar beam. Compare it to a searchlight. The missile will hit the are illuminated by the radar. Another fact is the missile will explode around 17 meters before the illuminated point of the target. Now if the BUK TELAR was located in Zaroshchens’ke the missile would most likely explode on the righthand side of MH17. However it did explode on the lefthand side. Most likely the lefthand engine returned the most radar beams and this what the missile was aimed at. 17 meters before ot exploded, close to the cockpit.
Based on the distribution of fragments and the damage observed it seems very unlikely the missile was launched from a position almost south of where MH17 flew.
By controled the area within BUK range at July 17?
The newspaper states the BUK seen at Russian made satellite photos was from the Ukraine Army. How likely is that?
If you draw a circle of around 40 to 50 km around the position where the BUK missile hit MH17 the location of the launcher can be determined. That area is controlled by the separatists according for example the map below (created by Ukraine authorities). This map was published at July 16. BTW the aircraft sign north of Donetsk is the international airport.
So only the separatists or Russian forces could have done the shotdown?
It is not that simple as that. At the end of July or the first days of August an Ukraine army convoy drove roughly from the North to the South crossing the Donetsk-Snizhne line. A long video of this trip was posted on Youtube but was taken offline for unknown reasons. Ukraineatwar website made a blogpost with many stills of that same video. It can be read here. The video and blogpost indicated that it is not impossible an Ukraine BUK was located in an area which was according maps controlled by separatists.
The period in which the Ukraine Army drove this route is for sure end of July/begin August. One of the photos shows Dutch RTL journalist Jaap van Deurzen. He was in the area around that time. Jaap van Deurzen confirms he was end of July at that location. My guess around July 27/28. See the RTL Nieuws of July 28.
Then there is this video. It was shown at a Ukraine military TV station. The video was uploaded on the evening of July 16. It shows an Ukraine BUK battery somewhere in Eastern Ukraine at July 16. It says it was in the ATO (Anti Terrorist Operation)region indicating Eastern Ukraine.
The location where the BUK was positioned is not known at this moment. Nobody was yet able to geolocate it. An Ukraine journalist comments on the video (includes english subtitles)
At July 15 a flat in Snizhne was bombed by an aircraft. The separatists claim it was an Ukraine aircraft. Ukriane states it must have been a Russian aircraft as after the shotdown of the Antonov 26 Ukraine did not fly in the area, (BBC)
If true which is very doubtfull Ukraine had a motive (or gave themself a motive) to station BUK systems in the area.
Earlier, at July 14 the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine (NSDC) decided to destroy any Russian military aircraft violating Ukrainian airspace. So that was another reason to keep BUK in the area.
Russian satellite photos
The Russians claim a BUK positioned south of Zaroshchens’ke (located here.) shot down MH17.
left: The satellite image made at July 17 just a few hours before the crash (according Russia)
right: the satellite image made at July 18 according Russia.
Source of both photos the pressconference of the Russian Mod at July 21.
Russian Ministry of Defense released satellite photos showing BUK positions of Ukraine Army at July 17. There are a couple of problems with those photos.
1. The Russian satellite photo dated at July 17 shows a different state of the field that satellite photos taken at July 16 (by Google Earth) and July 18 (by Russia).
You can check for yourself using Google Earth and set the date to July 16. See a screenshot below.
See the images below published by German Bild Zeitung.
The date shown on the most right picture is incorrect. This should be July 18.
These photos clearly shows the photo supposed to be taken at July 17 shows a state of the field different than July 16 and July 18. At July 16 the field is half harvested. It is impossible a state of a field change of half harvested to not and back to half harvested in two days!
The story of Bild is here.
2.Russia claims a BUK was seen at the Donetsk army base. After July 17 the BUK was gone according the Russian MoD.
This is a clear and proven lie of Russia. The BUK was inoperative and never moved. Google satellite photos proof that the BUK never moved a single inch. Russia simply photoshoped the BUK away.
3. Satellite photos do not indicate there are tracks seen in the area where a BUK was supposed to be. However German investigation bureau Correct!v went to the village and saw some tracks. However not sure what vehicle made those tracks. Correct!v talked to people living in the area and they told they did not see not hear a Ukraine BUK.
See also this website which does an analyse of the photos.
Union.info explains that the photos published by Russia are fake. They do not show any signs of tracks. Also a field was completely harvested at July 16 yet the satellite photo shows a half harvested field.
Dutch NOS 8 o’clock news (Journaal) had an item about what Novaya Gazeta published. An expert on satellite photos make an analysis. Not only he mentioned the weird difference in the harvesting. He also mentioned that Western satellite photos showed clouds over the area, while the Russian photo did not show a cloud. The expert said “is is not based on the truth what is being presented by the Russians”
This website analyses the satellite photos as well and shows the Russians are fake.
It is hard to be 100 % sure but it looks like the Russian provided satellite photos are fake.
What would be the reason for the shotdown by Ukraine?
Ukraine could have a good reason to position BUK systems near the are which was controlled by the separatists. Ukraine clearly does not want to have Russian fighterjets enter Ukraine airspace. Several reports mention shot down of Ukraine aircraft over Eastern Ukraine. The weapon used to shot down the Antonov at July 14 is still officially not know although Ukraine authorities stated it was shot down by an air to air missile.
Russian state news station Sputniknews reported at July 25 that an Ukraine BUK shot a missile by mistake during an excersise. It is not possible to verify. A source from one of the Ukrainian defense departments told RIA Novosti
I agree with the report a BUK was used to shot down MH17. The position of the hit and as a result the position of the BUK launcher needs carefull study. There are very few experts on the SA-11 BUK systems willing to explain how the SA-11 attacks its target. For now I believe Snizhne is a very likely position.
The village of Zaroshchens’ke is a not likely to be the position a BUK can damage MH17 like observed in the photos. Also no tracks to be seen which could be of a heavy BUK TELAR. And villagers have not heard or seen anything.