Zaroshchenske was picked for a good reason by Russian Federation

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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.





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20 Comments on Zaroshchenske was picked for a good reason by Russian Federation

  1. sotilaspassi // October 5, 2016 at 11:31 am // Reply

    “The radar recordings found after two year were made from the primary radar at Ust-Donetsk.”
    In real life A-A show the combined PSR+SSR radar, after being processed/combined by ATC computer. (less filtered than y2014 version)
    Does Ust-Donetsk have both PSR and SSR radars?

    “Having said this, it remains remarkable not a single Ukraine radar station, either fixed for civil usage”
    Perhaps they were destroyed and the last remaining was under maintenance. (if the last remaining would have been active, doubt it either could see anything vs BUK)

    “or mobile for military usage, detected the flightpath of the BUK missile. Or maybe it did but this is kept secret by JIT.”
    IIRC, JIT said UA military mobile radar was doing some SW testing at the time of the event, so, what it saw is not fully known. But from JIT comments we can be pretty sure that it did not see f.jet or missile.

    “Just like the satellite images provided by the United States.”
    Why you think there is any other SBIRS “image” than the one shown already?

    • “Why you think there is any other SBIRS “image” than the one shown already?”

      Please provide a link to this SBIRS image, as no one has seen it outside the intelligence apparatus of the US Government.

      • sotilaspassi // April 9, 2018 at 11:43 am // Reply

        SBIRS is designed to detect large ballistic missile launches, so it is clear to me that it does not normally pay attention to tiny SAMs, especially, they do not alert about those.
        I’m pretty sure that US just run some filtering algorithms on the data afterwards and found some blibs on the missile path towards MH17.
        RAW data would look like carbage and therefore any “still IR image” would tell nothing to normal mortals.

        -> IMO: US does not have more. Their released 3D plot on top of google map is all they have (it’s perhaps more than what they have), that’s their “SBIRS imagery”.

        • US (and Russian) spy satellites take 10’s of thousands of photos per day. Clear sky overpass transits occurred on July 16, July 17, and July 18 of the Donetsk region, and certainly dozens of photos were captured and analysts poured over the imagery to locate all relevant military vehicles.

          Additionally, US satellites have the capability to use infrared to see through smoke, clouds, and the night itself to watch the earth.

          So the US (and Russia) have plenty of imagery of the warzone on these days, aside from whatever SBIRS showed, and I know people who have seen it (it is of course top secret and they cannot discuss what the images contained).

  2. Is there a transcript of the 26-Sept-2016 Almez-Antey news conference available? Official transcript would be best, but perhaps an individual enthusiast has posted one?

    Link in sotilaspassi’s post above suggests this is worth reading.

  3. sotilaspassi // March 27, 2018 at 7:26 am // Reply

    “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.”

    IIRC JIT stated that the mobile military PSR was pretty far from the event, but it managed to follow MH17. According to JIT, it should have detected if there was fighterjet size of target.

    It is not clear if that radar could have detected BUK missile. Potentially yes as detecting drones, ballistic and cruise missiles should be one of the use-cases of military PSR. Those are not much larger than a BUK missile. (Sure way to detect smaller than cruise missiles would be to use “artillery-radar” -kind of radar.)

    It seems clear that the mobile radar specs will be kept secret, at least until court, because it seems to be Ukraine own product, a military secret. NDAs of criminal investigations are precisely for investigators to be able to receive this kind of secret specs/data.
    (not clear if JIT got anything beyond video of the UA mobile radar display -> it shows only items that were not deliberately filtered out)
    JIT can try to validate UA mobile PSR reliability by comparing it to RU released RAW data of Uts-Donetsk radar. (I thank Russia for eventually delivering that, hopefully they someday deliver also the rest of the PSR datas they have.)

    • Undoubtedly Ukrainian military mobile radar was working on July 17 and saw exactly what happened. The reason for this is obvious: Ukraine was flying sorties on the afternoon of July 17 over the Torez area, and these planes were mentioned by locals in multiple online forums including Twitter and vKontakte between 12 noon and 4 pm. Simply put, militaries do not put air assets into the sky without a mechanism for tracking and control, especially after multiple assets have been lost to shootdowns.

      The mobile radars in use would have included BUK Kupol and ST-68UM “Tin Shield” units (about which there is nothing proprietary to Ukraine). At the very least, these were certainly active at ATO headquarters in Dovhenke, Izyum, Kharkov Oblast, and at the Kramatorsk Airfield. Additionally, the fixed military air defense radar at Mariupol at base A-1659 was certainly active and working.

  4. Marcel:

    Russia’s Ministry of Defense broadcast at noon on July 18, 2014 a video statement by spokesman Aleksey Komarov standing in front of a map showing a Ukrainian BUK TELAR unit deployed to Zaroshchenske and controlled from a Kupol/Command Post placed at Styla. Do you really think Russia had worked out all the intricate details you cite in this post regarding flight path distance from radar locations in the 20 hours since the shoot down in order to show this map? That does not seem credible.

      Where is the map? Your imagination? Only BS about 27 Buk launchers deployed in the north-western outskirts of Donetsk.

      • The map is very clearly shown here at the 0:27 mark, and the location of Zaroshchenske is marked directly below the highlighted name
        of Shakhtersk and above the turn of the Russia-Ukraine state border at Pobjeda, Ukraine.

        В день крушения «Боинга» Россия зафиксировала активность украинской ПВО под Донецком

        Aleksey I think purposefully does not mention Zaroshchenske and instead names the town of Gruzko-Zoryanske near Donetsk (North 47.940844°, East 38.071161°), where a very strange and curious military field base was under construction by unknown persons, but Zaroshchenske is the location shown on the right side of the map as described above.

        The triangle of interlocked Ukrainian BUK’s shown on the map and stated to be deployed is at a 30 mile distance near Avdeevka, Styla, and Zaroshchenske. You can verify this yourself in Google Earth by using the measurement tool.

        • It is not a map. Just a shoddy background picture for propaganda TV. The makers simply put “Gruzko-Zoryanske” and the made-up “Buks position” on a wrong place to get a more “convincing” picture.

          • Pretty sure it is a geographic depiction of a part of the earth, i.e., a map, and not a picture.

            You don’t have to like or agree with what the map shows to admit what the Russians showed. Just be honest.

          • Andrew, it’s neither a military map, nor a picture (over a map) drawn from a military map. Just a deliberately distorted representation of Komarov’s words. OK?

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