According Ukraine authorities, at July 16 2014 around 19:00 a Russian Mig 29 launched an air to air missile towards an Ukraine Air Force SU25. The SU25 was hit and crashed near the Ukraine-Russian border.
This was one day before MH17 was downed by a BUK surface to air missile. This again shows how remarkable it is Ukraine did not close its airspace. The Russian Mig-29 shot the Ukrainian airplane with missiles flying at an altitude of 8,250 m, according statements by the Ukraine authorities in public. However the final report of the Dutch Safety Board final report at page 182 states the Su-25 was downed at 6250meters.
This is about 4000 meters lower to the altitude MH17 was flying the next day. MH17 was instructed by Russian air traffic control to turn towards the Rostov on Don radio beacon. This would take MH17 over the same area in which the previous day the Russian Mig-29 tried to down a SU-25.
On questions by DSB during the investigation, Ukraine responded that the SU-25 could also, but less likely, be downed by Pantsir surface to air missile system launched from Russia.
This was no reason for Ukraine to close its airspace at July 17. Mind there were many other reasons for Ukraine to close its aispace.
At July 18 2014, at the daily briefing by the Ukraine Crisis Media Center, spokesman Andriy Lysenko let hear the voice communications between aircraft ground control point of the Russian Federation Armed Forces (call sign Rapier) and a Russian MiG-29 (pilot call sign 221). The command was to destroy airborne targets on Ukrainian territory.
The recording can be heard in this recording of the press conference at July 18, 2014. It starts at around 07:00 in the video.
The National Security of Ukraine news and Analysis center briefing at 12:00 JULY 18, 2014 reported this about the Russian attempt to down an Ukraine SU-25.
The incident with the downed Boeing is the third after two Ukrainian military aircraft, an AN-26 and an SU-25 were shot down from Russian Federation territory. On July 16 at 18:55, Ukraine’s military intelligence found evidence that aircraft of the Russian Armed Forces Air Force were used against the Ukrainian Air Force SU-25 near the town of Amvrosiyivka. Specifically, Ukraine’s military intelligence tracked the flight of a MiG-29 from the 19th Air Fighter Squad of the 1st Mixed Aviation Division of the 4th Command of the RF Air Force in Rostov Oblast, Russia, near the Matveyev Kurgan in Novoshakhtinsk. Between 18:48 and 19:49 Kyiv time, the aircraft ground control point of the RF Armed Forces (call sign Rapier) guided the Russian MiG-29 (pilot call sign 221) to destroy airborne targets on Ukrainian territory.
There is evidence that, during his flight towards the state border of Ukraine at 155-330 degrees on a Rostov-on-Don—Donetsk tack in the neighborhood of Matveyev Kurgan (RF) — Amvrosiyivka (UA), the MiG-29 pilot of the RF Air Force was being guided over 5-7 minutes by his command base on the Ukrainian Air Force plane in order to damage it. The Russian MiG-29 fighter plane patrolled at 8,850 m and shot the Ukrainian airplane with missiles at an altitude of 8,250 m when the two planes were 35-40 km apart.
To hit its target, the RF Armed Forces Air force command told the MiG-29 pilot to use only air-to-air class rockets like the medium-range P-27T with an infrared homing system. This type of missile cannot be detected by the SPO-15 irradiation system typical in an SU-25, or with satellite-based intelligence and surveillance systems after firing. Another feature of the P-27 type missile is that they are made in Ukraine and are trademarked by the Artem Plant in Kyiv. This means that fragments found after shooting cannot be identified specifically as Russian weapons.
There is evidence that during the dogfight, the Russian fighter aimed at the Ukrainian plane three times to ensure the aim of his missile. After he had locked in on his target with the help of the on-board quantum optical locating device, the MiG-29 executed one missile hit at the Ukrainian Air Force plane. Thanks to the skill of the Ukrainian pilot and his evasive action against the missile, the plane was not hit directly and destroyed. The missile only hit the engine nozzle and the pilot executed an emergency landing, as reported previously.
Meanwhile, the Russian pilot’s inexperience, the time he took to home in on the Ukrainian craft again, and insufficient fuel in his tank prevented the MiG-29 from firing a second shot at the SU-25. The MiG-29 landed in emergency mode at the nearest airport in Rostov Oblast, in the Russian Federation.
Russia’s Army Aviation continues to carry out intelligence missions and patrols along the Ukrainian-Russian border. On July 17 ad 11:40, Ukraine’s border patrols saw a squad of 8 RF helicopters fly along the borderline opposite the territory that is patrolled by the Amvrosiyivka border service unit of the Donetsk section.
At 03:55 on July 18, drones were recorded while flying the length of the maritime border in the direction of Novoazovsk.
Later photos appeared online showing the wreckage of the SU-25. Eyewitness say the aircraft was downed using MANPADS.