At June 2 Almaz-Antey , the state run Russian manufacturer of the BUK surface to air missile system, held a pressconference. The main goal of the pressconference was to proof the company was not responsible for the downing of MH17. The company is hit by the economic sanctions of the EU. ‘We are suing EU for unjustified sanctions against us’ Almaz-Antey stated.
The purpose of today’s conference is to prove our non-involvement in the MH-17 tragedy,” Almaz-Antey said to reporters.
New York Times reported that Almaz-Antey based their conclusions only on photos of debris & didn’t analyze/collect frags.
Russia Today covered the press conference as well. At the end some attention for Bellingcat as well.
Almaz-Antey published a video on YouTube explaining (In Russian language) the results of their research.
This is a full recording of the pressconference in English language (90 minutes)
The video has some interesting information on missile, warhead and fragments sizes. Like shown on this screenshot taken of the video.
Almaz-Antey stated that they did investigation on the downing of MH17. The results, illustrated by many slides (see the bottom of the post) are:
- MH17 was shot down by a BUK missile
- The exact type of missile was a 9M38M1 carrying a 9N314 warhead.
- The 9M38M1 missile is out of production since 99. Ukraine Armed Forces still had 991 of those missiles its arsenal in 2005, when it held talks with Almaz-Antey on prolonging their lifespan.
- The BUK 9M317 missile type employed by the Russian Armed Forces is out of the question here, as the shape of the fragments does not match the damage caused to the aircraft according to the head engineer Mikhail Malyshevsky
- The Russian armed forces now mainly use a 9M317M warhead with the BUK system.
- The version of Buk used against MH17 out of production before company was founded in 2002. Using this as case against sanctions
- Snizhne could not be the launch location based on the damage observed
- The launch location must have been around the village of Zaroschinskoe
- If it were fired from Sninzhne, “the entire front end of the cabin would have been blown off”
- Ukraine is responsible for downing MH17. Although this was not said as clearly by the company.
Bye bye SU-25?
Month after month Russian media and internet trolls tried to convince the public MH17 was shot down by one or more SU-25’s. For many reasons that was nonsense.
At May 6 Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta published a leaked report. It stated MH17 was shot down by a BUK missile launched from Zaroschinskoe. This was the first indication of a shift towards the BUK theory by the Russian government. However the report was full of errors. Read the analyze here.
And now at June 2 the Russian manufacturer also confirms MH17 must have been shot down by a BUK missile. But by Ukraine armed forces!
Is this the end of the SU-25 theory? No, as the next day Russia published the name of an Ukraine armed forces employee who witnesssed an Ukraine SU-25 returning to base with no air to air missiles. See the publication “Name of eyewitness released. This Ukriane air force employee saw SU-25 return with no missile “by Ria Novosti
The issues with Almaz-Antey claims
There are two major issues with the statements.
- The statement the 9M38M1 missile is only in use by Ukraine is not true. A BUK system can use 3 type of missiles. The older 9M38 (not in use anymore) , the 9M38M1 (used by both Russia and Ukraine) and the newer 9M317 ( in use by Russia but not by Ukraine). The 9M317 can easily be recognized as it has shorter chords (the vins located on the missile). There are many pictures showing the 9M38M1 missile is still being used by the Russian Armed Forces.
Photos posted on Russian social media show the 9M38M1 missile in active duty near the Ukraine border.For a detailed description of the BUK system see this post.At June 3 Bellingcat posted a new blog with evidence Russia does still use the 9M38M1 missile. Missile crates clearly show 9M38M1
And here a picture published by the Kremlin in 2013 during a visit to Armenia
2. The second issue is the launch location. Russian MoD presented satellite pictures of the area close to Zaroschinskoe. The photo shows a couple of BUk systems. However Bellingcat showed that these photos were fake. Investigators of German Correct!v went to the village. Nobody saw a BUK in the area.At May 12 Novaya Gazeta again publishes on MH17. This time an expert explains it is impossible a missile was shot from Zaroschinskoe. A 9M38M1 will use the closest route towards the target. As MH17 flew in a straight line, the shortest route will target the middle section of the righthand side of the fuselage. The missile would explode about 17-10 meters in front of the aircraft. This means the righthand side engine would be destroyed and the fueltanks of the wing on the right would explode. This did not happen.
The slides presented
The images below show the many slides presented during the pressconference. The photos below are taken by Igor Korotchenko and were all Tweet-ed. See his timeline for all the photos.
This blogpost has all the slides in a high resolution.