The Russian Federation claimed in a press conference at July 21, 2014 that if a BUK missile was launched, it was done by the Ukraine Army just south of a small village called Zaroshchenske.
Satellite photos were shown proving that indeed BUKs were spotted near Zaroshchenske.
Zaroshchenske was quickly proven to be impossible to be the launch location. Many journalists visited the area. None of the residents saw any BUK TELAR vehicle let alone a launch of a missile. An overview here.
A second satellite image showing an army base north of Donetsk presented by Russia was proven by multiple experts to be fake.
At September 28 2016 the Joint Investigation Team showed during a press conference a tapped telephone conversation between two separatists. One told that at the time of the shot down, the area around Zaroshchenske was controled by the separatists. Something which was confirmed as well by residents.
JIT took soil samples at Zaroshchenske. Based on the conclusion of JIT that a field south of Snizhne was the launch location, we can conclude JIT did not find any forensic evidence confirming a launch near Zaroshchenske
Last but not least the damage observed on the aircraft makes a launch from Zaroshchenske extremely unlikely. The proximity fuse on the BUK missile would have detonated on the right hand side of the aircraft causing damage to the right. There was hardly any damage of fragments to be seen on the cockpit.
Yet even at the September 28 2016 press conference Almaz Antey repeated Zaroshchenske is the launch location.
And that has a very good reason! The reason is radar detection. A radar detects objects which move relative to the radar antenna. An object which flies in a perfect circle around a radar antenna is not or very unlikely to be detected, according to Russia. The speed relative to the radar is called radial speed. A missile flying at 1000 meters/second in a perfect circle around the radar has a radial speed of 0 m/s. This means the missile is not detected, according to Russia.
However in this detailed post is explained that this blind speed will only occur on radial speeds lower than 10m/s in area’s with ground clutter. As the missile flew in an area with no clutter, there is no blind speed.
Now let us have a look at the distance from the radar antenna at Ust-Donetsk in Russia. 47°37’2.94″N 40°40’51.81″O
The radar recordings found after two year were made from the primary radar at Ust-Donetsk.
The distance from the radar antenna to the launch location (according Russia) at Zaroshchenske is 172km.
The distance from Ust-Donetsk to the location where the BUK missile exploded (N48.123 E38.522) is 171 km.
So this means the missile flew almost exactly at the same distance to the radar during the whole flight!
It is hard to believe this is a coincidence. To explain the damage it would be much more logical that Russia would pretend the launch locatation was more towards the East in the direction of Snizhne. Many locations with hardly any people living there. So less eyewitness and easier to explain that Ukraine controlled the area.
This detailled study shows the area more towards the east of Zaroshchenske was likely under control by Ukraine army.
If a missile was launched from this area, the radial speed of the missile would have for sure a value which could be detected by the Ust-Donetsk radar. So the invalid excuse of Russia would immediately rejected here.
Still Russia decided to pick Zaroshchenske as the launch location. The reason is obvious. Russia wanted to claim that a missile could not be detected by their radar when launched from here.
Russia failed to explain about when blind speeds occur.
What Russia also did not tell is that it has a radar station in Baturinskaya (south of Rostov in Russia) as well. The range of this primary radar is long enough to detect falling debris of MH17. This radar must have been able to detect the missile if launched from Zaroshchenske as the missile was moving away from the radar antenna.
If the missile was launched from Zaroshchenske, Russia for sure would have presented radar images from the Baturinskaya radar station. It did not.
Having said this, it remains remarkable not a single Ukraine radar station, either fixed for civil usage, or mobile for military usage, detected the flightpath of the BUK missile. Or maybe it did but this is kept secret by JIT. Just like the satellite images provided by the United States.