Talk:Crash of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17/Vladislav Voloshin

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German TV Report

Video: Tagesschau, German (primary source link(s) forthcoming) --Caustic Logic (talk) 08:44, 21 March 2015 (UTC)

There is a significant error in this German TV report, containing an interview with Voloshin.

The pilot confirms having said “the sentence” which was quoted in Russian media.

“What the Russian media says actually happened. But 6 days later, on July 23nd. We started with 3 fighter jets and only 1 came back. The other 2 aircraft were shot down. There I said this sentence, because I was so affected”

The report claims this sentence was “it was a very bad day” (at 0:40 in video).

This is untrue. The only two sentences reported by the Dnepepetrovsk whistleblower in Russian media where:

“It was not the right plane” “The plane was in the wrong place at the wrong time.” Original here:

Confirming both or either of THESE sentences does not match with the other event a week later. It would be consistent with the shot down of MH17. --MS (talk) 21:34, 20 March 2015 (UTC)

Hi MS, welcome to ACLOS. Please sign your contributions when on talk pages. You can use the third-to-right button in the edit menu above, and it will look like what I just added.
Interesting catch. I wonder how they got in contact with Voloshin. I checked Lost Armour and there are indeed 2 SU-25 from the 299th Aviation Brigade listed for July 23 (Items 11 and 12). And they are also there in the first saved version of the page available at the Internet Archive, from January 25, 2015. What's missing from the list is anything on 16th or 17th July. From the English language whistleblower testimony you linked:
- Ukraine announced that on this day they had no combat flights. We checked different aggregate sources on the downed airplanes, Ukraine denied everywhere that its military aircraft flew on this day.
- I know about this. Ukraine also announced that two of these airplanes were shot down on the 16th, and not the 17th. And many times the date was changed. But actually, the flights were on a daily basis. I saw it myself. Even during the ceasefire there were flights, although, less frequent.
As far as I remember there have been plenty indications that indeed at least one SU-25 has been shot down earlier that day. "Lost Armour" links to entries on "Aviation Safety Net", and if you search there for SU-25, there are indeed two listed for July 16. It's unclear which timezone the listed times are. Both added on July 17, one around 6 am and one around 11 am. Both entries have been last updated: today. --CE (talk) 23:13, 20 March 2015 (UTC)

I would extract the following facts from that material:

1. By confirming the 'sentence', Voloshin confirms that the witness was an insider and whistleblower.

2. The sentence(s) would fit well with the shoot down of MH17, but not the shot down of 2 fighter planes 1 week later.

3. The TV team may have been surprised by this confession and may have altered the 'sentence' to remain compatible with both events.

4. The armament with air-to-air missiles (and the installation of BUK systems) on July 17 can be explained by the events the day(s) before. The Ukrainian government accused Russian airplanes of having had shot down their airplanes. This was reported by the NYT and the BBC the day before MH17 was shot down..

5. Two planes were shot down the day before. The date of the appearance of the reports does not match with a shoot down a day later. There may have been further shoot downs on July 17, but perhaps, the whistleblower confused the circumstances in that point.--MS (talk) 01:42, 21 March 2015 (UTC)

Interesting story, on human side not impossible. So than it goes, he shot two missiles, we do not know what exact kind but fragmentation warhead, Boeing was in their range, and missiles locked on Boeing and brought it down. Maybe launched them being afraid of a Russian plane as he was told Russians shot their plane the day before. What I do not understand here is how a pilot could confuse a widebody Boeing with a military plane. To launch missile from SU 25, as forums say, he needs to point with his windshield in that general direction, and also actually press the buttons to make a launch. So it could not be entirely an accident, he would need to purposefully shoot at something that he actually sees, and there was nothing out there in front of him to justify this. So than it's something in the range from the fog of war to temporary insanity. In any case, this or other theory needs to be confirmed by genuine forensics, investigators should have actual shrapnel in the pilot bodies, and likely conclusions can be drawn from that. --Resup (talk) 04:19, 21 March 2015 (UTC)
The thing is that the whistleblower claims that not only the Voloshin plane came back without the (two) missiles, but that the other two planes didn't return at all. That's a central part of his story - in the snippet I quoted he means that the Ukrainians lied about the date, that the two indeed were shot down on the 17th after they started together with Voloshin. I don't think we can simply say he was confused on that and still believe the rest of his reporting. So if we take this at face value, someone must have shot down the other two. Voloshin has only two missiles, so he couldn't have shot down his collegues AND MH17 in a "temporary insanity". The sentence about "the wrong plane" could therefore refer to another (Russian?) plane, which indeed attacked the group and shot down the two other SU-25. Voloshin returns fire but in that moment the large commercial airliner just pops into the area of the fight, and gets accidently hit. I have a hard time to believe this, frankly, and it doesn't explain the behaviour of the parties after the event, as the evil Russians would be to blame and we would have the evidence from the "West". But if the following scenario by MS wants to be consistent with the Voloshin whistleblower testimony, it has to account for the other two SU-25s. --CE (talk) 11:00, 21 March 2015 (UTC)

MS' alternative scenario

Combining the more credible sources and facts, I produced this alternative story. I think it matches very well with many details and the behaviour of the parties involved.

MH17 shot down by SU-25 missile

1. The Ukrainian government accused Russian airplanes of having had shot down their airplanes. This was reported, for instance, by the NYT and the BBC the day before MH17 was shot down. /1/ /2/.

2. Therefore, on July 17, Ukraine deployed at least 3 BUK systems /3/ in the area and sent off an air-to-air missile equipped SU-25 jet. According to a whistleblower from Dnepopetrovsk airbase, such ammunition has not been used for a long time, hence the pilot may have been untrained or even unexperienced in their use and air combat /4/.

Footnote: The pilot accused by the whistleblower conceded to have said ‘it was not the right plane’ and/or ‘the plane was in the wrong place at the wrong time.’ as claimed by the whistleblower, but a week later, not on July 17, when 2 other jets were shot down /5/. That confession proves at least that the whistleblower was an insider at Dnepopetrovsk airport. As these sentences don’t match well with the shoot downs a week later as claimed by the pilot, but very well with the shoot down of MH17, the pilots denial appears to be impaired--MS (talk) 07:12, 21 March 2015 (UTC).

3. One Su-25 was flying below the radar horizon of the Russian air control system. The pilot then either saw or detected MH17 approaching.

4. The pilot then turned upwards. With a maximum climbing rate of approx. 65m/s, it may have taken about 1-2 min to reach a height compatible with Russian data (claiming a distance of about 3-5 km, requiring a minimum height of 5-7 km, MH17 above at 10 km) /3/. As faster moving MH17 was approaching, the distance was shrinking. Cloud tops were around 3000 m (10000 feet) in the area /9/ (figure 3).

5. Russian data is inconsistent about the time SU-25 was detected. Early detection was reported not possible due to operation in standby mode /3/. Large distance, low elevation angle and small radar cross section may have also contributed.

6. The pilot, likely untrained or unexperienced in such situations, either mistook MH17 for a Russian fighter or he already saw its colours, red, blue and white, which are coincidentally also Russian national colours, and fired one (or more) missile(s).

7. The Boeing 777 was an extraordinary large object and therefore easy to hit. But due to about orthogonal trajectories, the heat seaking missiles could not see line of sight into the engines, the heat source was diffuse and moving at very high angular velocity in the missile's coordinate system. According to the black box data, the explosion occured at 16:20. A missile exploded at very close distance next to the cockpit, immediately destroying the black box data stream or power supply. (Here I assume the British did not manipulate or truncate the readout of the blackbox, similar to the US manipulation of intercepted communication of KAL007 shot down over Siberia to ‘paint the Russians black’ /6/).

8. The shrapnel damage to the cockpit looks similar to damage of the main body of Korean KAL902, hit in 1978 by a R-60 air-to-air missile over Russia /7/. Back then, the missile exploded about an order of magnitude further away from the main body, therefore shrapnel damage is about 2 orders of magnitude more severe on MH17.

9 As the warhead comprises only 7% of the mass of a R-60 missile, at this close distance some fragments of the disintegrated missile could also penetrate the aircraft mantle, creating various shapes of holes. Such piece(s) may have been found by a Dutch journalist in Nov. 2014 /7a/.

10. Eyewitnesses interviewed in the crash site area by BBC Russia noticed the first explosion /8/. According to figure 3 in the Dutch Safety Board report, there have been patches of blue sky at MH17's last position and to the West /9/.

11. Most of the missile damage was confined to the cockpit section, creating dozens of holes. Cockpit windows were likely shattered as well creating large openings, and immediately, huge aerodynamic forces started to tear on and in the cockpit.

12. The rest of the airplane was still mostly intact and comparted from the cockpit by a wall with a steel door. At least one passenger was able to put on an oxygen mask /10/. That separation then collapsed, a 2nd decompression explosion occured /11/ and the cockpit section was cut off from the airplane's body. A BBC Russia witness reported the second explosion /8/.

13. Forward section parts most weakened by the first explosion were blown out of the structure by the powerful second, decompression explosion and hit ground to the north-east of MH17’s last postion, while other parts fell down to the east /9/ (figure 6).

14. The SU-25 then descended and disappeared from Russian ATC system radar. That move was also reported by BBC Russia witnesses. In this area, closest to the shootdown and with partly blue sky, nobody reported a BUK missile contrail cloud /8/. Russia’s Defense Ministry also said the military has not detected the launch of any missiles near MH17’s flight path /3/.

14a. On the day of the shootdown, Russian Channel 1 presents two witnesses, said to be from Grabovo, one of them hearing 2-3 explosions and seeing another plane flying ‘to the other side, towards Dnepropetrovsk’ after the shoot down /3a/.--MS (talk) 23:38, 21 March 2015 (UTC)

15. When the SU-25 returned to Dnepopetrovsk airbase, the missing missile(s) were noticed /4/.

16. After MH17 was hit, rebel fighters thought to have shot down another Ukrainian airplane themselves, and started communicating.

17. Ukrainian SBU, aware that their own pilot had made a fatal mistake, immediately started a campaign to blame rebel fighters, and to produce 'evidences', distracting and pointing to another weapon, which might have been in rebel hands as well, in particular a BUK missile.

18. In their first evaluation of satellite pictures, US intelligence noticed several BUK systems in the area as well. Connecting with other evidence, the most ‘likely’ BUK to have shot down MH17 was identified, but on high resolution fotos, this particular BUK was staffed with soldiers in what appeared Ukrainian uniforms and it appeared to be under Ukrainian control /12/ Use of the term ‘likely’ may indicate, that the US as well did not notice a BUK launch.

19. Dutch investigators tried to rush to the scene but where held up in Kiev. While journalists, OSCE staff and a Dutch forensic team were already working on the crash site, Dutch investigators were likely not allowed to go there, and instead negotiated with Kiev about the terms of the investigation. A secret contract was signed giving Ukraine a right of veto of publication of results /13/, and another non-secret contract explicitly excluding research of blame or liability /14/.

20. Meanwhile Kiev forces started attacking the crash site /15/ including an area travelled by Malaysian investigators /16/. Eventually, Dutch investigators, still locked in Kiev, gave up and flew home, and the initial cease fire was not restored.

21. The following 4 months, the crash site remained under Kiev’s control, unvisited by investigators and no efforts undertaken to secure evidence from interference.

22. The Dutch PM, who had promised an independent and transparent investigation, did not reveal the secret contract made with Ukraine even after a request by Freedom of Information Act /17/.

23. In an October 27 interview with Der Spiegel, JIT investigation leader Fred Westerbeke of the Dutch National Prosecutors’ Office said they had no “watertight evidence” in the case. Months after the investigation began, Westerbeke indicated that US and German intelligence officials had still not provided the investigation with satellite images backing up their claims to have definitive proof of Russian involvement in the crash /17/. It is unknown, if the Dutch requested further information at all, such as US high resolution fotos of deployed BUK systems, surveillance data or intercepted phone calls.


List of airliners shot down in the past, some of them by air-to-air missiles, some not hitting the engine /18/.


--MS (talk) 07:07, 21 March 2015 (UTC)


MS, thanks for bringing some energy and info to the table. And great signing! :) I'm not up to speed on this subject, but did review the whistleblower's account, and it still strikes me as a bit suspicious in detail (of a scenario I doubt actually happened, so I'm biased). (In fact... section below, if I don't figure it out first). But it seems he's given just those lines, and not the replacement one Tagesschau used. It's not another line from a longer account or anything? If not, that's a catch. Doesn't seem to make much difference; he re-affirms what the Russians had him saying, just putting it on a different day, so that remains the main issue. --Caustic Logic (talk) 08:44, 21 March 2015 (UTC)
The supporting stuff, we'd need to go point-by-point (and have, generally, in various spots - like anything-to-air missiles use the same principles, etc.). Maybe best here to focus on a couple related main points closer to the Voloshin evidence, and see if anything concrete can be established. --Caustic Logic (talk) 08:44, 21 March 2015 (UTC)
Related thought: the whistleblower says fighter scrambles were daily, and might be. Kiev swears they had no jets up at all that day. If that's true, and might be, it could be interesting, depending how unusual it is; a display of intent to be seen as having no fighters up on the day it would become such an issue. Like, how did they guess that? --Caustic Logic (talk) 08:44, 21 March 2015 (UTC)

You make the unnecessary and unlikely assumption that an Ukrainian Su-25 pilot shot shot MH17 by accident. Why? He could as well have been told that the target was Putin's plane returning from the World Cup.

In this overall scenario, accidental seems more likely, neither the slow plane nor the unstable pilot are fit for doing it on purpose, as initial and prime mission. (Not saying all that scenario actually happened). --Resup (talk) 13:54, 21 March 2015 (UTC)
Putin's airplane target: 'It was not the right plane' would match perfectly well with that scenario. The initial flight plan may have led over Ukraine and was later changed. He may have supposed Putin was flying to Socchi. ...I did not insert this scenario, simply because it is so disturbing that it turns people off. (Like when someone does not believe in 9/11, many just ignore everything else he says.) He may have seen the 'Russian' colours on the airplane and fired. I left it to the reader to imagine why.--MS (talk) 21:59, 21 March 2015 (UTC)

More important, your scenario fails to explain the most important coincident of the event: MH17 fell down on the same day the one and only BUK launcher was seen in the area. The obvious prima face explanation is that the BUK shot down MH17, but if other evidence disagrees it must be rejected. The other explanation is that it is a false-flag attack made in response to the arrival of the BUK. This follows the supposed modus operandi of Ukrainian and Western false-flaggers: only use weapons the opponent is known to posses. The town of Kramatorsk was shelled with Smerch rockets right after a Novorossian Smerch attack on the ATO headquarters at the nearby airport. The Maidan snipers only started shooting at civilians after the police were armed after 18 policemen were killed on February 18th, 2014. Syrian gas attacks allegedly used sarin, when "Assad" was known to have it, but switched to chlorine gas as soon as Syrian chemical weapons were destroyed. -- Petri Krohn (talk) 12:57, 21 March 2015 (UTC)

I covered the absence of a BUK contrail cloud or launch detection in 14 and 18. I would also disagree, that only one BUK launcher was in the area. Russia reported 3 Kiev launchers, implicitly confirmed by Robert Parry via leaked US intelligence. To my knowledge Kiev has not disproven the Riussian claim (see Russian reply) and if US satellite pictures would have disproven the Russian claim, the US would not have missed the opportunity to catch Russia cheating. Another dog not barking.--MS (talk) 05:39, 22 March 2015 (UTC)
Petri, excellent use of parallels there, all valid. I suspect the Buk connection is even more direct, but demonizing new capabilities or exploiting known/believed, to make a false-flag work and direct its effects - just what to watch for. MS, you raise points I'm tempted to argue, but forensic points, the plume photo, radar data, etc. have their areas already, opinions already differ there, this page is getting full enough, and I'm spread thin enough already. --Caustic Logic (talk) 06:55, 22 March 2015 (UTC)

The main aspects of this scenario was to be compatible with evidence and to show that a single R-60 missile could have brought down MH17 and trigger the breakup in the air.

SU-25 designer Babak said the fighter jet could have successfully attacked the Boeing at an altitude of 3,000-4,000 meters, but not at the plane’s altitude of 10,500 meters. He added that air-to-air missiles would have only damaged the Boeing – not completely destroyed it while still in the air. I have presented an altitude of 5000-7000 m, but in case Russian air control did not detect the SU-25 but instead a disintegrating section (as suggested at bellingcat), the altitude could have been also within Babak's range, below Russian detection capability. Top of clouds were at approx. 3000 m.

I would explain the breakup with the second (according to some eyewitnesses much more) powerful decompression explosion. That sequence would explain why one passenger could put on an oxygen mask, but more importantly, why the prominent left front section fell down to the north-east in opposite direction to the pressure force of the first explosion.

I would also think that a 3 kg warhead at close distance may produce about as much damage as a 60 kg warhead exploding an order of magnitude further away. (If I assume energy, pressure, number of shrapnel hits is about proportional to 1/r2 (1 divided by squared radius)). Here for example, the BUK was supposed to have exploded in 15 m distance, and if this is agreed by everyone to be capable of triggering a breakup, an R-60 exploding in 2m distance can do it as well.

I have then even more difficulty in believing the BUK scenario, that at a 15 meters distance, the damage of the first explosion and smoke traces would be confined to such a narrow strip. Smoke traces here for example:. Wouldn't the BUK's probability of destruction be rather low, if damage is limited to such a narrow ring, leaving most directions of the sphere around the missile unhurt ?--MS (talk) 06:19, 22 March 2015 (UTC)

Ok, I'm Confused

Starting with that caveat, if I'm following, we have this: (six numbered points all by me, responses maybe below those) --Caustic Logic (talk) 10:31, 21 March 2015 (UTC)

1) Voloshin says what the Russian media says is true, for a different day. So not true.

2) what they say seems to refer to what the whistleblower says about, specifically, July 17

3) that story is: Voloshin and two other pilots took off in 3 jets, he alone armed with A-A missiles, quite clear. He alone returned, absent two jets/pilots AND absent two missiles, and whistleblower overheard the pilot speaking (easy enough at an airport, right?) about a plane (singular, so not his plural friends) that was in the wrong place at the wrong time, or was not the target, or something to that effect.

4) Voloshin however says he returned with two jets shot down and said something (?) on that day, July 23. Does not confirm or deny he returned missing two A-A missiles. That would look bad in context, huh? (I wonder: How does Kiev's Air Force deal with suspected whistleblower pilots, as they engage in criminal strikes that might stir protests? Was this a ruse to get Voloshin starting to confirm the whistleblower's actual allegation? Whoa, reading too far ahead, and probably fiction.)

5) Point being, it can't be just wrong on the date but also the alleged (seeming, likely) acknowledgment that he shot an airliner. No such thing on the 23rd.

6) In this story, we have 3 aircraft downed on the 17th; it's left open or even suggested Voloshin hit the airliner in some erred response to his friends getting shot down, but of course it was clearly air-to-air missiles to start with, so ...? How unlucky he was the one not hit. Was he intending to hit the jet from the start? and his cohorts were there for (?) They were shot down by, we presume, rebel Buk launchers below, firing at least two missiles. And we're left thinking if only they had made a third hit, that airliner would have landed safely. Thank god for the rebel Buk launchers firing up into the air that day around MH-17 and its attackers ...

So this is some of why I'm not liking this story, besides existing issues best covered elsewhere, that leave me doubting the jet explanation to begin with. I'm biased towards seeing it as flawed. --Caustic Logic (talk) 10:31, 21 March 2015 (UTC)

We kind of cross-posted, I read this only after I commented above. I propose a Russian fighter actually attacking the group and explaining the "it's the wrong plane" sentence, but as you can read I don't really believe it. But we both noticed the same: That the other two SU-25s are an integral part of the story and have to be accounted for. --CE (talk) 11:07, 21 March 2015 (UTC)
Checking that, good thinking then. Could move here, this could move there, whatever, your call. Still too confused to decide things like that. (was a long day) --Caustic Logic (talk) 12:50, 21 March 2015 (UTC)

Theory of confused whistleblower

I guess in that theory, whistleblower did not get every detail right, he reported (1) what Voloshin uttered one day, returning back from a mission in bad psychological state and with 2 missiles missing, and (2) that once upon a time, two planes did not come back, but Voloshin did. He got confused remembering this as a single day events but they perhaps were not. 16 July or 23 July are possible day for 2 planes missing event, while (1) may be on 17 July. Confused whistleblower is not totally impossible, I presume he is a mechanic, not commanding officer with logbook access, he does not see every landing and take-off, does not take a record, and nobody reports to him what exactly happened. Maybe he overheard Voloshin talk, later on noticed that two planes went missing (possibly 16 July planes). Maybe he only noticed missing planes when some work on them was due but planes were not there, or something like this. And there was nobody out there to tell him--- on this and that day, exactly this happened, (I am not necessarily believing the theory, just trying to put what the theory is, or may be) --Resup (talk) 12:14, 21 March 2015 (UTC)

He's very explicit about it. From the testimony:
Out of the eight airplanes, which were based there, only two had "air-to-air" missiles. They were suspended. [...] Airplanes flew regularly. All day since the morning. In the afternoon, about an hour before the downing of the "Boeing", three attack fighters were raised into the air. I don't remember the exact time. One of the airplanes was equipped with such missiles. It was a Su-25. [...] - Did you have an opportunity to see specifically what the pylons of the aircraft where fitted with? Could you confuse "air-to-air" and "air-to-ground" missiles? - No, I couldn't confuse it. They vary in size, plumage, coloration. With a guidance head. Very easy to recognize. Anyway, after a short time, only one airplane returned, two were shot down. Somewhere in the East of Ukraine, I was told. The airplane that came back, was the one with those suspended missiles.
--CE (talk) 12:25, 21 March 2015 (UTC)
OK, it needs to be explained what happened with those two other planes, there is no official record of two planes shot on 17 July. Planes could be on same or different missions; SU 25 can be shot with MANPAD; not impossible they were shot, but no confirmation of that. Confusion of some sort I guess still possible. --Resup (talk) 12:38, 21 March 2015 (UTC)
I went back to that aviation safety page and tried to find out which times they are using. One would suspect a site of that nature would use UTC, but I didn't find information. FWIW, the server is in Los Angeles, so at the time the first entry for the SU-25 listed as downed on July 16 was made, July 17 6:39 AM, it was already afternoon in the Ukraine if that's LA time. But they give a source at Kyiv Post that says the article is from July 16, 11:14 pm (supposedly Kyiv time). And, thankfully, the web archive has a snapshot from July 17 of the article with the same date and time, so we can pretty much rule out that Kyiv Post meddled with the dates. The other SU-25 downing of the 16th is also sourced with articles pointing to the 16th (MS posted some already as well).
I take from that that the whistleblowers claim that Ukraine lied about the date is untrue, and we are talking about two additional SU-25s downed on the 17th, apparently unnoticed by everyone. Nah. --CE (talk) 12:53, 21 March 2015 (UTC)

Perhaps not totally dead, even if not very convincing. Maybe planes did not return back to the airport but were not shot down over rebel territory (landing or crash landing on Ukrainian side); or reported shot later on, e.g. July 23, while in fact it happened earlier. --Resup (talk) 13:23, 21 March 2015 (UTC)

I had no strong opinion about this before MS came up with the catch, but I start to suspect this "whistleblower" is one fed by the SBU or someone else to the Russians as FUD. If Voloshin really shot down MH17, accidently or not,I don't think the SBU would allow him anywhere near the camera of a German TV team. Likely he would be dead. But there he is, behaving plausibly like someone who lost two comrades in a traumatizing event. And seems to admit to have spoken a sentence the Germans made up. More confusion? Is the SBU creative enough to use the events of the 23rd to spin a story about MH17 to later debunk it? Not judged from the BUK story "evidence" they came up with. --CE (talk) 14:07, 21 March 2015 (UTC)

The pilot did not 'admit to have spoken a sentence the Germans made up', but sentence(s) reported in Russian media. That confirms, that the witness had inside knowledge from this airbase. Yes, perhaps a mechanic, perhaps attaching weapons, as he speaks a lot about all kind of weapons in detail.

The second issue is that these sentences do no fit well or at all with the events a week later and impair the pilot's story.

The third issue is that German TV invented a different sentence. Perhaps, the interviewer was surprised by the pilot's admission and realized that this does not match with his narrative.

These 3 points remain irrespective of the issue with the 2 additional airplanes.

The whistleblower may have confused dates of the departure and shoot down of the other 2 airplanes. They may have been shoot down over Kiev held territory, but not reported to match the narrative of 'no airplanes in the air'. They may have been ordered to another airbase after the shoot down and kept there to separate witnesses.--MS (talk) 21:59, 21 March 2015 (UTC)