The list of highly-ranked persons involved in the MH17 disaster has apparently expanded. Bellingcat, the independent investigation bureau managed to identify the officer of Russia's FSB who was responsible for supervision of "the movement of weapons from Russia to Ukraine, and thus would have had to authorize the transfer of the Russian Buk missile launcher that shot the Malaysian airliner after crossing the border", as they put it.
"We can now announce that our investigation team, in cooperation with our Russian colleagues from The Insider, and with additional reporting from Kevin Hall from McClatchy Newspapers (DC), has been able to identify the person of “Vladimir Ivanovich” as one of the top officials within Russia’s FSB security service: Colonel General Andrey Ivanovich Burlaka. This FSB general is the highest-ranking Russian official identified as a person of interest in the criminal investigation into the downing of MH17", reads the story on Belingcat's website.
Traces go back to November 2019, when the Joint Investigation Team that looks into the tragedy over Donetsk region in July 2014, made a statement, saying they acquired some proof of Russia's control over affairs in the self-proclaimed DNR (Donetsk People's Republic). "The indications of close ties between leaders of the DNR and Russian government officials, it said, raised questions about the latter’s involvement in the deployment of the Buk missile launcher from the 53rd Anti-Aircraft Missile Brigade in Kursk to the launch location in Ukraine near the town of Snizhne", says the article.
The bureau analyzed interceptions of phone conversatiosn between DNR leaders and Burlaka whom they called by the alias of "Vladimir Ivanovich". They concluded that the official "played a critical role in the chain of command between ostensibly local militants and the Russian government. At the end of June 2014, the Kremlin had began consolidating the disparate military formations fighting with Russian backing in Eastern Ukraine, and had streamlined the flow of weapons across the border. While previously both GRU and FSB had run their own proxy military groups in the Donbas and had furnished them with weapons independently — sometimes leading to infighting between the two groups — by early July, this process had been centralized under the FSB’s control. Vladimir Ivanovich had clearly been the FSB official to whom the curation of the flow of weapons across the border had been delegated".