Crash of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17

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Sun Putin's Missile.jpg

Primary sources

The stretch of the flight route of the Boeing 777 airliner of Malaysia Airlines and the site of its crash were within the zone of operation of two Ukrainian batteries of the S-200 long-range anti-aircraft missile system and three squadrons of the Buk-M1 medium-range anti-aircraft missile system, the press service of the Russian Defense Ministry told ITAR-TASS on Friday.
“Russian radio-technical facilities during July 17 were recording the work of the 9s18 Kupol radar station of the Buk-M1 squadron, stationed in the area of the Styla settlement (30 km south of Donetsk),” the ministry added.
The ministry stressed that technical features of the Buk-M1 air defense system allow it to exchange information between the squadrons of one battalion. “Thus, the launch of the missiles could also be made from all the squadrons, located in the Avdeyevka settlement (8 km north of Donetsk) or in Gruzsko-Zaryanskoye (25 km east of Donetsk),” Russian Defense Ministry stressed.
  • Witness testimony. A BBC Russia report, which was deleted by the BBC after it was published, but stayed available on youtube and was widely discussed on the internet, was republished after two days with a justification pointing to technicalities and mentioning "a lot of comments" they received over the deletion. It provides significant witness testimony from local inhabitants taken soon after the event that low (and apparently slow) flying military planes were seen in the area at the time of the accident; some hand waving gestures were made by witnesses suggesting from where and to where those planes were flying. Loud bangs, apparently two, were heard by the witnesses. But no striking trail (like Buk launch) was reported by those witnesses. Not only such a report SHOULD NOT be buried, but it should be properly filed with the police in the Netherlands leading the official investigation. Relevant materials can be uploaded online. Exact location, timing, altitude, speed, and directions would be hard for non-expert to determine. Eyewitness reports appeared credible. There appeared to be several independent but consistent reports pointing to low-flying planes, not a single report.
Another witness report appeared to be made by rebel leader Bezler, as reported in the SBU intercept posted on youtube and widely discussed. While the posted intercept appeared to consist from glued together independent bits, those individual bits appear to be not denied by the rebels as not being genuine. One bit, where "Bezler" heard saying to "X" that a plane was shot down at Chernukhino , appears to be a single bit which is disconnected from the other parts of the recording. Exact time of this part of intercepted statement cannot be verified from analysis of youtube video , but the video was posted and discussed shortly after the event.

US information

“Regarding the debate which still exists over the sharing of information from the United States: all information which is available and which is of interest for the investigation has been shared,” said Fred Westerbeke, chief investigator in the criminal investigation.
He reiterated that they expected this summer to determine the exact location where the missile which downed the Boeing 777 was fired from and the precise model used.

Timing

  • July 15: Ukrainian air force bomb Snezhnoe
  • Ukrainian SU 25 shot down. Another SU 25 damaged. Conflicting dating (16 or 17 of July). Footage of shooting may appear in Odessa 1 TV footage, 17 July.
  • MH17 Crash time is 16:20, local time (13:20 UTC, 17:20 Moscow time, 09:20 EST). Moscow time is 1 hour ahead of the local time. Burning wreckage video.
  • 17 July, afternoon, 12:00 EST, 20:00 Moscow President Obama speaks with President Proshenko.
  • 20:30 Moscow time, Kremlin "The Russian leader informed the US President on the report of (Russian) air traffic control services (received right before the telephone conversation) about the crash of the Malaysian plane".
  • 21:03 Moscow time. Channel 1, Russia. Opolchenie version that an Ukrainian military plane shot Boeing is reported. First eyewitnesses telling about military planes appear in 22:45 Channel 1 news report (Moscow time)
  • Buk version
Ukrainian Buk reports: TASS, 17 July 19:55 Moscow time It is reported that on 16 of July Ukraine brought Buks to Donetsk region.
Ukrainian Buk sighting: 16 July 2014, Evening News, "Час Ч" №129 Program, Ukraine.
Separatists Buk claim. Voiced by Anton Gerashenko, MoI, Ukraine, on Facebook. Time TBC (but not later than 21:16 Moscow time, when his claim was reported by Channel 1 TV, Russia)
Separatists Buk sightings: none confirmed. Plume-of-smoke-on-a-sunny-afternoon photo , as well as 'Torez sighting at 12:00 ' photo, appeared in Gerashenko Facebook post on 17 of July.
  • 14.10 EST, 22.10 pm Moscow Obama briefly speaks about the crash at a pre-planned event (offer of possible assistance, no accusations)


West accuses Russia.

  • 17 July,10:38 PM EST. White House Press Release. "While we do not yet have all the facts, we do know that this incident occurred in the context of a crisis in Ukraine that is fueled by Russian support for the separatists, including through arms, materiel, and training".
  • 20 July, John Kerry interview, CBS news. Secretary of State John Kerry made the rounds on the talk show circuit Sunday confirming the U.S. has “evidence” to conclude that Russia provided separatists in Eastern Ukraine with the weapons used to shoot down the Malaysia Airlines jet.

Video

21:03 report gives panoramic view of burning plane from a distance; no missile trails (or planes) can be seen in that footage.
Same footage here
  • Few minutes before the accident, eyewitnesses saw another plane, Channel 1, Russia, dated 17 July 2014, 22:45 (Moscow) according to the time shown on the web page. Footage shows two witnesses, said to be from Grabovo. First, audio recording of a lady, 'Tatiana' , over the phone, from Donetsk region, Ukraine. She heard sound of two planes, than 2 or 3 explosions. When she went outside, she says "one plane was burning behind some trees", another was "flying away" , She than repeats, explaining there were 3 (or 2) explosions in the air (she initially thought it was bombing, but it was not), and than one plane "fell down, and was burning", another flew "to the other side, towards Dnepropetrovsk" . Second witness (video of a male). It starts with "before that, there was some shooting in the air, several shots" , than "a loud bang, as if really close" . Then he saw a plane emerging from the clouds and falling apart. In the clip we are given, he does not explicitly mention a second plane (but this is suggested by 'shooting' prior to 'loud bang'). This appears to be the earliest recorded witness claim. Web page has photos showing smoking wreckage, and a firefighter next to the wreckage.
  • 17.07. Anton Gerashenko makes several Facebook posts claiming that MH17 was shot by rebels using Buk.
(1) He posts a crash video, and claims that the rebels shot the plain using Buk provided by Putin.
(2) Refutes claims that Ukrainian Buk shot down Boeing. Makes a claim that: at 12:00 a Buk was seen in Torez, arriving from Shaktersk; an hour after that, rebels and equipment sign-posed "Vostok" were seen in Torez; and than one hour prior to the crash more arrived from Snezhnoe and they all departed to Shaktersk
(3) Posts photo claimed to show 'Buk trail' (the lots-of-sunlight-and-plume photo), which he says "was made several minutes after Buk launch, in the 3 microdistrict of Torez, 'from the West to the East, seen by thousands of people', and claims that " we determined that terrorists were in possession of "Buk" which was documented (зафиксирован) by us in the area of Torez and Snezhoe cities.
(4)Claims that 'one of the two Buks is located in center of Snezhnoe", while 'Putin calls Obama to report on information from Russian dispatchers
(5) Posts a photo showing "Buk in Torez"
Gerashenko is quoted in Odessa 1 TV footage at 21:00 Ukrainian time (22:00 Moscow time), blaming separatists. That is followed by a report on Ukrainian plane shot by a "Russian plane", pilot bailed out an was rescued; exact date/time/place of that event is not provided.
Russian Channel 1 TV corresponded in Kiev makes her report on the Buk claim, quoting Ukrainian TV channels, dated 17 July 2014, 23:30 (Moscow) according to the time shown on the web page.

Accusations

Photos

Satellite Imagery

Russian, Ukrainian, but no (official) US images

As part of their July 21 presentation of evidence, the Russian Ministry of Defense published satellite images allegedly showing Ukrainian BUK positions around Donetzk (RT report). On July 30, Vitalyi Naida, head of Ukrainian Security Service SBU’s counter-intelligence, came up with a series of slides (short article, announcement on SBU website with link to youtube-video showing the slides (presumably Ukrainian language)) allegedly showing that the Russian material was "faked". On August 1, the Russian Ministry of Defense published a rebuttal advising that

Instead of presenting hastily doctored evidence to the international community, the SBU could do with better control over all the mercenary units in the areas around Donetsk and Lugansk organized by Kolomoisky, Lyashko, Yarosh and others, who shell Ukrainian territory without any control from those in charge of the anti-terrorist operation.

As RT's August 1 article carries over, they made some very interesting allegations. Claiming prior alleged satellite image deception, weather mismatches, signs of alteration, and satellite positioning issues, the article says:

The images, which Kiev claims were taken by its satellites at the same time as those taken by Russian satellites, are neither Ukrainian nor authentic, according to Moscow's statement.
The Defense Ministry said the images were apparently made by an American KeyHole reconnaissance satellite, because the two Ukrainian satellites currently in orbit, Sich-1 and Sich-2, were not positioned over the part of Ukraine’s Donetsk Region shown in the pictures.

As explained here on the discussion page, this is a humorous way of pointing out Ukraine has no satellites, so this must have been provided by someone else.

... the real owners of those photos are hesitating to publish them under their own name, since it would derail the myth of the omniscience of their space reconnaissance,” the Russian ministry said.

It also simply might conflict with what the Ukrainians did with the images after they were released to them, but not to the global public.

Analysis

MH17 New Straits Times.jpg

Discussion

Summaries

Investigation

Moved to /Investigation

Legal responsibility

Families of three German victims sue Ukraine Government over failure to close the airspace.

The mother of the victim named as "Olga L." was seeking $1 million in compensation from Kiev for manslaughter by negligence and had begun proceedings [at the European Court of Human Rights] in the past week, Bild am Sonntag newspaper said on Sunday.