Talk:Crash of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17/Zaroshchenskoye

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Three questions?

These three questions need to be answered. (Discuss each issue in a separate section below.)

  1. Where there BUK launchers in Zaroshchenskoye in mid July 2014? What proof is there of their existence?
  2. Were there Ukrainian soldiers in Zaroshchenskoye in mid July? Who were they loyal to? Or were they somehow trying to remain neutral?
  3. When and how did NAF take over Zaroshchenskoye?

-- Petri Krohn (talk) 03:14, 27 July 2015 (UTC)

Partial Answers

I don't think we know for sure (and I do not see Zaroshenskoe as the only possibility, despite Almaz-Antei report; matching fragment damage to missile orientation being the tricky part)

1. Russian MoD gave us satellite photos. Bellingcat tried to disprove it, with an early attempt debunked. Than they purchased satellite images from a commercial provider and claimed that MoD were faked.
I do not have a strong view, could be inaccurately presented by MoD, or commercial photos are not accurately timed, or we see those images at different angles and image qualities, which appears as a mismatch. Since 'investigative' methods at bc are propaganda-driven, conclusion cannot be reached just on the basis of their presentation; there is no independent info available to me.
Zaroshesnkoe photos Zaroshenskoe 17 July, 11:32 "A= two Buk M1 self-propelled missile launchers, B= one armored vehicle" Zaroshenskoe 18 July, 11:39 (A, B gone)
Also Donetsk, Lugansk photos
I understand, Bellingcat disputes those from Donetsk
2. It was not a base really, some launchers parked there is all, can move easily. Loyalties -we do not know
3 I do not know (was not following really, as never had strong belief in Zaroshenskoe location. Maps can be found and may give some answers). Almaz-Antey was telling us, Buk was from Zaroshenskoe, and we do not know who was there at the time. Without more research, that would be state of play here. --Resup (talk) 03:38, 27 July 2015 (UTC)
Another bc on Zaroshenskoe-has a collection of maps at least and usual twisty stuff leading to the predetermined conclusion. I have not gone through all that and unsure whether will have time in the near future. But all this long winding stuff can be probably summarized as we do not really know. And no reason really to focus heavily on Torez and ignore anything else.

MOD presentation-Zaroshenkoe at about 10:00 mark

Novaia Gazeta, Grabovo, Zaroshenskoe and Snezhnoe interviews. None anywhere mentioned Buk contrail or seeing Buk; conflicting account on planes. About half reluctant to talk on camera or afraid.

Anatolii, Grabovo. He says at the moment he looked up (he was swimming) he saw a fireball, which quickly disappeared into clouds. That was followed by the crash. His description does not match Buk contrail, could be a flare
Zaroshenskoe. Several interviews, mostly audio. Confused account seemingly agreeing that Zaroshenskoe was not controlled by either side; that nobody saw Buk itself or tracks, although some tried to find tracks; one woman said that there was another planes on that day (first interview), the other woman said she did not see herself so cannot tell; than the first one said she did not see it either but her husband saw it and told her
Pevomaika, Snezhnoe. Woman says there was another SU
Another interview, woman says it was a drone; and that she saw multiple white trails going up. She was afraid it is phosphor bomb, later thought it could be flares ;- but in another interview similar multiple white trails were attributed to opolchenie trying to shoot a plane--creating cloud of fragments in the sky (unsure here, - have not heard such description before; likely just an anti-aircraft gun? (like here) or is this some sort of cluster type munition? )
Diadia Serezha (uncle Serezha)-said that military planes were often hiding under civilian ones, and thought it could happen on the day; thought that Boeing could be shot with an anti-aircraft gun
Nikolai Ivanovich. Have not seen much apart from the crash itself. Confused/afraid account. (There was some sound but he did not see another plane, and did not claim there was one) --Resup (talk) 07:43, 27 July 2015 (UTC)

Just realised something that might compromise the primary Bellingcat witness - the one that supplied trail photo. The only photo till now. Here is his statement: "And at 16:20 we heard an explosion. The first explosion was not very heavy. 15 seconds later, something like that, there was a second explosion, which was louder and it made the windows shake.” Of course 15 seconds is impossible if Snezhnoe is the launch site, particularly location claimed by Bellingcat. Will not go into it right now as it can be argued that his 15 seconds is a perceived number and should not be taken literally (although why so accurate, could be just 20 sec). More importantly is a description of two explosions. First small and second very loud. Now, the first explosion is attributed to rocket launch. Second is rocket explosion. From first glance it is logical that second will be louder. But the second explosion happened 20 km ground distance from his location and 10 km in altitude, according to Bellingcat fairytale. At 10km air pressure is only 100 mbar. 10 times less than on the ground. It is low vacuum and sound will be strongly attenuated. He could probably hear it better if he was just under the hit point. At oblique angles the warmer air in lower parts of the atmosphere will make refractive index to change creating reflection interfaces that will further increase sound dissipation. His description, particularly with claimed time interval is just impossible. So, either it is a total fake or the missile hit the target at much lower altitude and very close to his location. From leaks in the media, his photo and testimony are also going to be center point of Dutch report. If true, shame on them. Let me know if my analysis has a flaw.--Antidyatel (talk) 09:21, 30 July 2015 (UTC)

Interesting thought. Two things, whether it helps and physics. I am skeptical on the first (missile launch wooshing sound vs a blast at a distance, both played by an ear and reported with a long delay--not very usable. Other witnesses described it in different ways but some were saying it was a blast or like something dropping of.

Physics-wise, at this distance, it is no longer a shock wave and will propagate as sound. Therefore, pressure and velocity drop as 1/L , and intensity which is sort of P v dies as 1/L^2 . It is doable, though not immediate, to have an estimate of what those will be say with 70 kg TNT going off. This is without attenuation. Actually I do not know quickly how that will attenuate. Engineers will tell that attenuation is frequencey dependent, and this is low frequency which pretty much just 1/L^2 . --Resup (talk) 11:04, 30 July 2015 (UTC)

First of all he was not talking about whooshing sound but about explosion. But let's skip this point for now as it is relying on his 15 sec claim, which is easily brushed away. In terms of physics. The explosion at 10 km will be happening in low pressure environment. Intensity is defined as I=(ξω)^2cρ, where we have particle displacement, sound frequency, speed of sound and density. For the same blast we can assume displacement and frequency the same. Pressure is 10 times smaller so density is also 10 times smaller. Due to low temperature the speed of sound is also smaller,roughly 20%. So we get more than 10 times smaller initial intensity. Then we have a refraction index difference between upper and lower levels of atmosphere. That gives two effects: 1) sound is reflected from the boundary and thus lost to propagation towards the guy; 2) sound is refracted towards the Earth making the wave, actually reaching him, travel longer distance and thus, be more attenuated. Your formula only takes into account geometrical attenuation of spherical wave. We should also look at attenuation by moisture in the air. It was cloudy, so that part of attenuation will be quite high. Of course the actual value should be calculated but I'm quite confident that this will not get the overwhelming explosion that he describes. And it will definitely not shake the windows. Not sure about that paper but they claim that 100dB is equivalent to 99.8 kg of TNT detonated at 12.5m distance [1]. At 20 km it will attenuate to 42 dB just by geometric attenuation (which is a background noise in large conference room [2]). For 150 dB the result will be 80 dB at 20 km by geometric attenuation - noise of the vacuum cleaner. Still not able to shake the window. If we add other attenuation factors we can practically forget about second explosion. --Antidyatel (talk) 13:07, 30 July 2015 (UTC)

Thanks for the paper. Earlier comment I was about to put:
what you call (ξω)^2 really should be internal energy per unit mass; there is no frequency here; there is also velocity and pressure, and gas dynamics equations relating all. It is interesting and doable with some effort, and will depend on density although not in such simple way-- but I am skeptical it is helpful to refute MH17 claims. Can't really compare outcome of this computation with a witness statement - other people did hear it and said it was 'loud', he could hear it as well, and his account is imprecise in any case.
It seems to me official investigation will not use the photo, they will perhaps say about direction--that's what I thought after reading CNN and/or Parry ---somewhere from the front because it hit the cabin--and they did not use Antey stuff so far. In front, there was Russian separatists--bingo, case closed. --Resup (talk) 15:26, 30 July 2015 (UTC)
What's going on in this paper--100 kilograms at 12.5 meters distance???? No way this is 100db. I think they put this is high-bar test reactor and took care to have it as quiet as possible ...

Got an idea for an estimate. Up to some numerical constants of order 1, shock wave will turn into sound at a radius r0 such that c^2 rho r0^3 = E= released energy. I think this r0 for 70 kg TNT is about 8 meters (which seems low but this is what I am getting). At his point, our intensity I, which we take as energy per volume times c, is I=c^3 rho (this does not depend on E, but size of this ball does). Than at a distance R, our intensity is c^3 rho (r0/R)^2 . With R = | {20 km , 10 km} | , getting 6 watts per square meter--what on hell that would be in loudness? Looking it up, reference intensity is 10^(-12) watt/m^2 --getting 127 decibel which is loud ...--Resup (talk) 17:38, 30 July 2015 (UTC)

127dB at 20 or even 10 km mark from the explosion of 70kg TNT is unlikely correct. It could have been at 10 meter distance but not at 10 km. Here is the video of BUK LAUNCH. It doesn’t seem that rockets go far but I can hear any of the explosions. [3]. --Antidyatel (talk) 00:52, 31 July 2015 (UTC)

Sorry, I know that I'm lazy to do my own calculations but allow me just to reference. You can Google paper titled "Use of Noise Attenuation Modeling in Missile Motor Detonation Activities". They actually give formula for estimating peak intensity. Didn’t use it but just noticed that "the detonations missile motors characterized by a propellant charge ranging from 50,000 to 120,000 lb (TNT equivalent) should not exceed the UTTR operational noise threshold of 134 dB at a 30-km distance from the detonation site." 50,000 lb is more than 20,000 kg. I really think that the 70kg that we are discussing is not measurable for our purposes. Especially when explosion takes place at 10 km altitude and sound has to propagate the ground distance of 10/20km at shallow angles to cold-hot air interface and through the clouds (excessive moisture) --Antidyatel (talk) 01:27, 31 July 2015 (UTC)

127dB at 20 or even 10 km mark from the explosion of 70kg TNT is unlikely correct. It could have been at 10 meter distance but not at 10 km. Here is the video of BUK LAUNCH. It doesn’t seem that rockets go far but I can hear any of the explosions. [4]. --Antidyatel (talk) 00:52, 31 July 2015 (UTC)

Missile will not use all of that at once --the sound will last longer so what arrives will have less intensity than going of instantly

At 10 meters there will be still shock wave felt. At threshold of the two, decibel level is about 194 decibel--engineers call this "Loudest sound possible" meaning pressure difference is over 1 atmosphere. An estimate gives 194 decibels at 8 meters or so. 10 meters will be close to 194 level (70 kg is like artillery shell- seems a sensible distance scale) . Other witnesses-talking about planes, tell about one loud, or 2-3 separate bahs; unsure what is that exactly--there is also crashing sounds later, whether their accounts clearly separate explosion and crash? (crash is later of course and not by 15 secs --the freefall without air resistance takes 45 secs) --Resup (talk) 01:52, 31 July 2015 (UTC)

This is short in duration and low frequency (8 meters wavelength is 40 hz); --and both mean that subjectively it will sound as less loud than actual power suggests...Also this is order-of magnitude computation meaning can be less by some 10-20 db . So it appears plausible... basically its high wattage because it is short ...--Resup (talk) 02:45, 31 July 2015 (UTC)

So if I understand correctly, 127 dB at 20 km mark will happen if we assume that all energy will go into one particular frequency, explosions happens at atmospheric pressure and normal temperature (20C) and sound propagates in air with uniform density and temperature and with normal humidity.

: no, it's the same computation above, matching shock wave and sound regimes , there is no frequency involved , but knowing length scale , frequencies scale where signal lives may be roughly estimated (continuous spectrum of course, -but largest at such sort of frequency-low rumbling overall )

I have to disagree with you here. "Ideal" explosion is practically a delta function in time, which would be flat spectrum with unity probability for all frequencies. Then attenuation will filter out many frequencies depending on interaction with media (primarily high frequency waves). But as such the power will be dissipated in the whole spectrum. At least that would be my guess. --Antidyatel (talk) 07:14, 31 July 2015 (UTC)

All these assumptions are not valid, obviously. Let's accept your calculation of initial intensity (I'm still lazy to double check :)). But with all the assumptions reiterated, the final intensity will be much lower. And I'm quite confident that it will not be a large explosion shaking windows that guy is describing (we can't here them on the video that I linked above). So either the witness is lying or the target was at much lower altitude and much closer to him. Explosion from the falling plane has a problem due to 15 seconds. You can't misjudge few minutes for 15 seconds. We could think that both explosions were actually at the plane. But the first explosion convinced him to look to the opposite side from where the plane fell. So we will have to come out with some acoustic reflection effect to explain it. While it doesn’t require so many assumptions to just assume that he was lying.

Here is a good article for sound attenuation in clouds [5]. For 40 Hz the attention is somewhere around 0.005 dB/m. That will already give you 50 dB for 10 km. And the sound had to travel long at oblique angle in thick clouds on that day from hit location to his house. --Antidyatel (talk) 04:40, 31 July 2015 (UTC)

Sound Attenuation

That article does not load without subscription.... But the number is quite high...if it consistently this for a range of low audio frequencies, and stays about the same for lower temperatures and densities, this is dropping 111 db for {10, 15} km in {vertical, horizontal} direction. It starts at at most 194 db as long as it is sound;( maybe some 7 db lower at 10 km up); and geometric attenuation is 57 to 68 db for a reasonable distance where this becomes a sound wave (some 8 meters away and not more that 30 meters away from the blast). All of that together gives whisper levels. Also may be worthwhile to compare with other witnesses close to impact; pain starts at 125 db and none seems to say it was painful ... --Resup (talk) 07:26, 31 July 2015 (UTC)

The good thing is that we can see most if those explosions claiming posts summarised by Bellingcat. [6] Few examples: 1) "Vlad, I also didn’t immediately realize. I saw that something was flying. I was out in the country in a tree and picking pears. And then an explosion. There was an extremely strong sound…I would have captured it on my phone (((( but people did capture the end"

Now we can discredit it as obvious planted message.

2)"I saw how this rocket flew!!! I even saw where it came from and where it went!!! It was terrible as hell to see it!!!!"

Even easier to discredit, assuming the clouds in the area.

3)"I saw how a rocket flew from the direction of Saurovka…and then a minute-long lull and a loud explosion…a trail remained in the sky from the rocket…I didn’t see the explosion myself it was very loud….all of my family ran out into the street…..we were all very scared……….I don’t know who to believe but we didn’t hear the sound of an SU[-25]… was quiet just like with a normal passenger plane and then that’s all……" Now we can discredit this one as well. With all these explosion descriptions.

So it seems that all the messages are planted in with particular purpose at particular time. In any case somebody was lying, as there were witness accounts that didn't see rockets flying or heard such explosions. And now we have clear indication who was lying. SBU operative just made a seemingly logical but physically incorrect assumption that rocket explosion will be easily heard by everyone, like fireworks.

--Antidyatel (talk) 10:20, 31 July 2015 (UTC)

Witnesses describing planes also talk about explosions; often unclear how strong it appeared to them. They could be closer by. Need to be careful. Also paper may need close reading, is this modeling or experiment and how much water or ice or whatever else needed for all these to happen

What do you think of Max van den Werf work [7], and the witness he interviewed? --He also had a lot to say about photos, went there to check it out. Showed it could not be from the roof --Resup (talk) 11:25, 31 July 2015 (UTC)

I agree that we should be careful. Plus that witness seem to be changing his story all the time, as noticed by Max van den Werk and Clear indication of lying. Particularly he can't make his mind if he took all the photos from roof or some of them were taken from a balcony. But I still didn't form my opinion on it. The cables in the photo story was attacked quite thoroughly and it seems those criticisms were not replied. However, for the purpose of our discussion I want to point you, that 70kg is not the TNT equivalent of the BUK missile explosive but the physical eight of the warhead including the fragments. Based on Almaz-Antey presentation they will have a cumulative weight of nearly 30 kG. Plus the weight of the casing. So The actual explosive is much lighter but I can't find the spec. So it get's really hard to believe the second explosion had any relation to the rocket explosion. Alternative explanation can be that the first explosion that he heard was explosion of engine or fuel tank on MH17 mid-air and second explosion was when MH17 crashed on the ground. Both would be on opposite side of the trail, and it is hard to imagine that he will be even trying to go to the window on opposite side of the building and more importantly, after he reaches the roof, he first still photographs the trail direction (in some interviews twice) and only then focuses his attention on the direction of main explosion. At such distances he should not have any confusion about the direction of the sound. Nature was kind to humans and equipped us with quite good capability in determining the direction of the sound. There is no escape for this witness in open court. In fair trial he would be torn apart as a liar and then arrested for providing false testimony. Hopefully he will eventually face trial, together with his mentor Eliot Higgins.--Antidyatel (talk) 09:28, 2 August 2015 (UTC)

Lev Bulatov We have main plane witnesses links collected in one place; there were also early videos right after crash, people giving immediate account; I remember one said 'krepko zhahnulo' or something like that; need to double-check
Early video at 0:40 'крепко жахнуло! (it was a strong bang!-approximate translation, zhahnut means to strike ' zhahnut--to emit strong low sound like when a shot is fired, krepko means strong. Exact location uncertain--may be closer. (I'd guess conclusion is that paper needs to be looked at in more detail, what are conditions/assumptions to have such attenuation. If this is closer by 10 km say, will give + 50 db to sound according to present attenuation estimate; will look but this may be not quick) --Resup (talk) 05:20, 1 August 2015 (UTC)
There is another version of this early video with different sound; крепко жахнуло is not there... looks like 'крепко жахнуло!' is fake ...--Resup (talk) 06:32, 1 August 2015 (UTC)

Yes, the first video is an obvious manipulation. Although in the second video in the background somebody is using a synonym "bahnulo". But exact content is unclear.

Lev Bulatov is the main not anonymous and not "social media" witness. He is also ready to testify. JIT would be better to organize his arrival to Netherlands, instead of issuing propaganda video asking for witnesses to come forward. --Antidyatel (talk) 09:38, 2 August 2015 (UTC)


There was a recent Russian study where they used a practical formula (M_БЧ =...) relating fragment weight and warhead weight. If accurate, this imply 28.8 fragments weight, 38.8 charge weight and 2.4 presumably detonator and hardware. There is no reference in that study to literature source. Presumably that's what they teach practitioners to use over there. They ended up with lighter warhead as the end result. For discussion above, charge weight by itself will not have big effect as logarithmic scale is used; attenuation details is what will have the most significant effect --Resup (talk) 15:26, 2 August 2015 (UTC)

Charge weight might not be important but the fact that charge exploded inside the metal can and was surrounded by thousands of metal objects is important. Most if energy was spent on rupturing the casing and accelerating those objects away. For shortwave and sound generation you will be left with a fraction of the energy. The are no BUK videos were you can hear rocket explosion. --Antidyatel (talk) 00:23, 3 August 2015 (UTC)

Unauthorized launch story

Unauthorized launch story appeared early on, also quoting unnamed sources; we had this somewhere, in fall of 2014. Nothing more definite came out, so this seems to recycle old story, not a new information coming out now. Debunk link--could not see much said in there on the issue. Novaia Gazeta published Almaz Antey and than two competing versions, the last one 'there were no planes at all and our unnamed sources tell that Russians did it' . It ends with Petrovskii delivering Buk audio transcript. But Petrovskii recently denied involvement, on social media forum. And those unnamed sources said it both ways --Resup (talk) 02:46, 27 July 2015 (UTC)

Official Facebook Reaction

MoD of Ukraine: no UAF flights in ATO area on 17 July, no UAF zenith anti-aircraft missile systems used, it is not true that UAF training accident caused MH17 crash.

У день катастрофи літака Boing-777 авіація Повітряних Сил Збройних Сил України в районі проведення АТО польоти не виконувала, зенітні ракетні комплекси не застосовувалися

Інформація про те, що можливою причиною катастрофи літака Boing-777 (рейс MAS-17) авіакомпанії “Малазійські авіалінії” 17 липня 2014 року у небі над Донеччиною може бути нештатна ситуація під час проведення тренування підрозділів ППО Повітряних Сил Збройних Сил України не відповідає дійсності та може бути розцінена як спроба вплинути на результати незалежного розслідування трагічної події. Про це сьогодні, 25 липня, повідомили у Командуванні Повітряних Сил Збройних Сил України у відповідь на поширену деякими російськими засобами масової інформації заяву з посиланням на так зване “джерело в одному з силових відомств України”. У день катастрофи літака Boing-777 польоти авіації Повітряних Сил Збройних Сил України в районі проведення АТО не виконувалися. Зенітні ракетні комплекси Збройних Сил України не застосовувалися, жодного пуску зенітних керованих ракет не проводилося. Довідково. 17 липня цивільний літак Boing-777 (рейс MAS-17) авіакомпанії “Малазійські авіалінії” виконував рейсовий політ за маршрутом Амстердам (Голландія) — Куала Лумпур (Малайзія) на висоті 10100 метрів. О 16.45 літак впав в 3 кілометрах на північний захід від населеного пункту Грабове, Шахтарського району Донецької області. MoD of Ukraine facebook post (in Ukrainian) 25.7.15 (in Russian) 25.7.15 --Resup (talk) 13:25, 27 July 2015 (UTC)

Here is the video that is rarely discussed.[8]. It is from allegedly 16 July 2014 (posted on 17 July). On 20th minute they are discussing the SU that is in the sky but not sure if it can be seen on the video. There is no reason for them to pretend that there is SU flying around on that date. The whole video also doesn’t indicate staging of conversation. --Antidyatel (talk) 00:23, 3 August 2015 (UTC)

International Tribunal

  • Russia is set to vote against establishing international tribunal at the UN vote on July 29. Russian position is that this is an isolated criminal case and not a threat to world security requiring special UN tribunal structure; and that setting the tribunal now before the official investigation is completed as unnecessary and divisive; has filed an alternative proposal (involving special representative, and more transparency -as they are now excluded from investigation).

Commentary. It appears to me outcome of Yukos case tribunal may play a role here. Yukos matter is not as black and white as sides presented it; it was in legal grey area, with laws not sufficiently developed after collapse of the Soviet system; and there was unfairness at privatization and operation stages, as well as unfairness of selective prosecution of that. But all those subtleties were just thrown away on some 3 pages of the final judgement, and full market value of the company before the affair was awarded to claimants. This is a very long decision overall and I do not have command of all details and legal aspects, but from outside it appears as steamrolling the case really; replacing one injustice by another (the people are told to pay; but they have all but nothing to do with this and do not owe the awarded amount). Likewise here, once it is in legal rather than investigative field, all sort of legal steamrolling may show up. Tribunals are good only if they are fair, and seen as fair. (What are even the laws governing such tribunal, and who are lawyers practicing it? Where do they come from? ). It may be not by accident that Khodorkovskii stated in July 2015 TV rain interview that he "is not interested" in Yukos legal process (still supporting Leonid Nevzlin and others handling this)

Also, former Yugoslavia tribunal was widely unpopular in Russia at the time and this feeling in Russia has sharpened since
Russian officials stated that other civilian aircraft were shot down, and special tribunals were not used in those cases. --Resup (talk) 19:54, 27 July 2015 (UTC)
  • Russia vetoes UNSC MH17 tribunal resolution -TASS --Resup (talk) 00:57, 30 July 2015 (UTC)

Map symbols?

That is interesting. Do you know if BUK is always marked with this sign on Ukrainian military maps? --Antidyatel (talk) 06:02, 20 October 2015 (UTC)

Satellite tracking

Entries on the mainpage (2016). Not saying that Russian MoD is beyond doubt (those doing presentations are often not the same people as those who have technical expertise, and some secretarial staff likely putting things together, etc). Yet if there is MoD word against sattrack small amateur enterprise, chances are that MoD is right and them wrong, as it has more resources to watch over all that space junk around. Sattrack got a blog, and may be sincerely trying to help, but there is no convincing evidence they have enough sophistication for reliable tracking --Resup (talk) 11:58, 4 August 2016 (UTC)