In an interview with Russian independant newspaper Novaya Gazeta, a deputy commander of the Ukraine air defence stated a few days before July 17, 2014 a BUK missile was launched at a Mig 29 of the Ukraine air force.
The article was published June 30, 2015.
Oleg Zaharchuk stated to the newspaper:
Not long before July 17th, a pilot, whose name I can not name, is in a Mig-29 and is noticing a BUK – here you can not visually mistake this for another weapon. The pilot has done an anti-rocket maneuver and escaped to the launched missile. And soon after that the MH17 was hit “
In Newsweek edition of July 2015 Oleg Zaharchuk was quoted as well:
“In June, three Buks arrived, situated near Donetsk, in Torez and to the north of Novoazovsk,” says Oleg Zakharchuk, deputy chief of Ukraine’s air force. “[Our planes have] a radar warning receiver system, and our pilots on patrol were exposed to the radar’s activity from time to time. The pilot could see in his cockpit that he was within the area of a Buk’s activity. That was exactly the area the Boeing went down.”
Oleg Zaharchuk was working in the air traffic command centre of the Ukraine air force and confirmed at July 17 no military aircraft were operating.
He also states that almost one year after the disaster nobody was interviewed by the investigation team.
Both civil and military air traffic control in Ukraine is done by UkSATSE. This does not seem to be a very reliable organization seeing this post.
An comment posted at Pprune.org, a forum used by professional airports and others working in the aviation idustry, suggested Ukraine air traffic control UkSATSE was aware of presence of surface to air missiles. The comment was posted at June 14, 2014. The comment reads:
“” Ukrainian officials should close whole airspace over eastern part. now is closed up to fl260. Russian terrorists can easily hit passenger a/c.
Some users doubt when the message above was posted. This because the ‘last edited’. What a pity that same user did not use webarchive. He then could see there was a snapshot of this thread made at July 21, 2014. Showing the same exact message. The change at September 19 was “Now is closes up to fl260” -> “now is closed up to fl260”
If true, this is interesting information and needs to be researched by the Joint Investigation Team.