The Insider and Bellingcat conducted a joint investigation on establishing the key figure sought for the downing the Malaysian Boeing MH17, “Delfin”. Bellingcat published the full report of their investigation here.
Although Delfin’s exact role in the downing is unclear, the Dutch-led Joint Investigation Team (JIT) is specifically looking for him, which testifies him being a key figure in the tragedy. The Insider and Bellingcat established that it must have been Colonel General Nikolai Fedorovich Tkachev, currently serving as the Chief Inspector of the Central Military District of the Russian Federation.
On Sep. 28, 2016, the JIT published the intercepted phone conversation between two main unidentified suspects, “Delfin” and “Orion,” with the first name and patronymics of (respectively) Nikolai Fedorovich and Andrei Ivanovich.
As there have been reasons to believe that Nikolai Tkachev is indeed “Delfin”, Bellingcat and the Insider obtained samples of his voice to analyze by making up a cover story of interviewing him on the Yekaterinburg Suvorov Military School, where Tkachev serves as chairman of the newly established Board of Trustees for the school.
Two organizations performed forensic voice analysis: the National Center for Media Forensics at the University of Colorado at Denver (UC Denver) and the Forensic Science Centre of Lithuania (FSCL). Both of them identified the voice to be highly likely the one of “Delfin”.
Before publishing the report, The Insider spoke to Tkachev. He denied having been in Ukraine in 2014 or even travelling outside Yekaterinburg since 2012 after returning from Syria.
Boeing 777 of Malaysian Airlines, flight number MH17, was destroyed while performing a regular flight from the Netherlands to Malaysia in July 2014. The tragedy took place in the sky over the militant-held section of Donetsk region. All 298 people aboard deceased; most of the victims,196, were Dutch, but there were citizens of other nine countries as well.
The international investigation group found out that the civilian aircraft was downed by the surface-to-air missile; it was fired from Buk, the anti-aircraft missile launcher, which belonged to a unit of the regular Russian army and was operated by servicemen of Russia’s armed forces. The group decided that the perpetrators of the tragedy will be judged in the Netherlands, namely in the ICCT.