Ukrainian planes, Buk, missiles: How Russian versions of downing MH17 changed

Author : News Agency

Source : 112 Ukraine

The Russian Federation believes that Ukraine is to blame for the MH17 disaster
15:00, 3 March 2020


In June 2020, Fred Westerbeke, the head of the Joint Investigative Group, said that the trial of suspects in the tragedy of MH17 flight would begin on March 9, 2020, in a court in The Hague.

The disaster occurred on July 17, 2014. Versions of its causes and culprits have changed repeatedly. Ukraine claims that everything that happened was a terrorist attack and "MH17 was shot down by militants," the militants, as well as the Russian Federation, insist on the versions regarding the catastrophe repeatedly changed. An approximate chronology of Russian versions of the one who shot down the MH17: Ukrainian Su-25 attack aircraft; Ukrainian anti-aircraft missile division; the plane was shot down with the Ukrainian Buk M-1; air-to-air missile; Ukrainian Buk again.

Related: MH17 case: Four Ukrainian prosecutors join investigation team

July 17, 2014

Former "Donetsk People’s Republic Defense Minister" Igor Girkin reported that militants shot downed the AN 26 military transport aircraft.

Open source

Russian media immediately picked up this information. Here, for example, the plot of the propaganda channel LifeNews (the plot was subsequently deleted, but managed to scatter over the Internet).

But when it turned out that a passenger airliner was shot down in the sky over Donbas, the rhetoric of the militants changed dramatically.

“If this is really a passenger airliner, then we didn’t do it,” RIA Novosti quoted then “Prime Minister” of the “DPR” Alexander Borodai.

He assured that the militants "did not have a weapon with which it was possible to shoot down the MH17," hinting at the altitude at which the Boeing flew (10 km). Subsequently, the militants adhered to this version and repeated the Russian version of who shot down the MH17 and how.

Head of the Federal Air Transport Agency Alexander Neradko said that the Ukrainian side was responsible for the crash of Boeing since at the time of the disaster the liner was in the zone of responsibility of the Dnipropetrovsk dispatch center.

Russian President Vladimir Putin also blamed Ukraine for the disaster.

Related: Dutch Justice Ministry rejects Russia’s request on transfer of right to judge suspects in MH17 case

“Of course, the state over whose territory this happened is responsible for this terrible tragedy,” Putin said.

Andrei Kartapolov, Chief of the Main Operations Directorate of the General Staff of the Russian Armed Forces, said that Russia had fixed a Ukrainian Su-25 plane, which was flying towards Boeing.

“The Su-25 in its characteristics is capable of reaching a height of 10 km. R-60 air-to-air missiles are on its armament, which can hit targets at a distance of up to 12 km and guaranteed to 5 km,” Kartapolov reported.

Open source

It was also reported that the Russian Federation has space images with the location of air defense of the Ukrainian army, which allegedly confirms that one of the Buk missiles was moved to the territory controlled by the militants.

December 22, 2014

On December 22, 2014, Russian Komsomolskaya Pravda outlet reported that it had found a witness who allegedly saw Boeing shot down by a Ukrainian Su-25 military aircraft.

A little later, Vladimir Markin, the official representative of the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation, noted that the investigation received evidence of the involvement of the Ukrainian military aircraft in the crash of the Malaysian Boeing 777. As reported, the combat mission was carried out from the airfield, which was deployed in the region of Dnipropetrovsk (Ukraine).

July 4, 2015

In an interview with American director Oliver Stone, Putin said that the Spanish air traffic controller allegedly watched the crash of flight MH-17 in Ukraine and saw a combat vehicle next to the Boeing.

“There could be no other combat vehicle besides a Ukrainian one... I am not saying that this aircraft shot down a civilian aircraft, but still, the question remains: what did he do there, in the corridor of a civilian vessel?" Putin noted.

Later, the "Spanish dispatcher Carlos" admitted that he received money from Russia.

Related: Dutch Prosecutor’s Office files charges to four persons of interests in MH17 case

July 15, 2015

Vladimir Markin, the spokesman for the Russian Federation’s official, said investigators believed that a Malaysian Boeing was shot down by a non-Russian-made air-to-air missile.

October 13, 2015

The Russian Almaz-Antey air defense group conducted a study, according to the results of which it was reported that the Malaysian Boeing was allegedly shot down by a 9M38 missile from the Buk complex.

Then it was reported that two full-scale experiments conducted by the Almaz-Antey air defense concern led to the conclusion that the Boeing was shot down by a rocket that was withdrawn from service in Russia, and that the launch was allegedly made from territory controlled by Kyiv.

October 22, 2015

Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said Russia considers the main reason for the Boeing disaster over Ukraine that Kyiv did not close airspace in Donbas.


February 26, 2016

The Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation responded to the report of the Bellingcat expert journalistic group that the Buk, from which the MH17 was shot down, was most likely led by servicemen of the 2nd battalion of the 53rd anti-aircraft missile brigade of the Russian army.

Then deputy head of the press service and information department of the Russian Ministry of Defense Aleksey Komarov said that “conspiracy theories” of a journalistic group were repeatedly denied by bloggers and experts. "Therefore, (Bellingcat evidence, - Ed.) is not subject to serious commentary."

Related: ECHR refuses to consider complaint of MH17 main suspect Tsemakh

At the same time, Komarov noted that the position of the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation regarding the tragedy has not changed.

"The Russian Ministry of Defense has repeatedly publicly and reasonably proved its position regarding the causes of the disaster and the likely involvement of servicemen of the Armed Forces of Ukraine," Komarov said.

September 26, 2016

Russia stated that there were no objects other than two civilian airliners near the downed Boeing. At the same time, the Russian Ministry of Defense underlined that “the Ukrainian side is concealing information that would allow us to establish the full picture.”

112 Agency

September 28, 2016

JIT (Joint Investigation Team), which includes prosecutors and representatives of other law enforcement agencies of Ukraine, the Netherlands, Belgium, Australia, and Malaysia, as well as representatives of Eurojust, concluded that the airliner of flight MH17 was shot down by a 9M38 series missile launched from the BUK-TELAR self-propelled firing system from an agricultural field in the area of ​​the village of Pervomaiske. This area at that time was under the control of pro-Russian separatists. And MEP Rebecca Harms emphasized that "since there are no private Buks, the Russian Federation is responsible for the downing of MH17."

At the same time, Russia said that the international investigation into the MH17 disaster was biased and politically motivated.

"Everything on which the so-called ‘evidence base’ of the Dutch prosecutor’s office is based was provided by the law enforcement agencies of Ukraine, which are undoubtedly an interested party," said Maria Zakharova.

Related: Russia’s MFA responds to claims on involvement of its Armed Forces in MH17 catastrophe

May 24, 2018

The Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation again stated that it was the Ukrainian calculations of the Buk air defense system that were involved in the Boeing crash of flight MH17. On May 25, 2018, the Russian defense department announced that the Buk engine belonged to the Ukrainian military.

Open source

Buk-M1 (SA-11 Gadfly)

September 17, 2018

The Ministry of Defense of Russia said that the missile, which was hit by a Boeing of flight MH17 in Donbas in 2014, belonged to Ukraine.

The ministry said the rocket was fired at the Dolgoprudnensky factory in 1986 and delivered to the military unit of the Ukrainian SSR, where it was before the tragedy.

According to them, the data presented was classified as “secret”, but “because of the importance of what is happening” they decided to declassify them. Also, the power department announced the availability of audio recordings of the Ukrainian military, which allegedly prove Ukraine's involvement in the crash of flight MH-17.

Related: MH17: Ukrainian prosecutors to continue their work in joint investigation team

June 19, 2019

The suspects in the crash of MH 17 became known. There are four of them: Igor Girkin (Strelkov), Sergey Dubinsky (Khmury), Oleg Pulatov (Gyurza), and Leonid Kharchenko (Krot). The first three are citizens of Russia, the fourth is a citizen of Ukraine.

"Why are these four? Girkin - because at that time he held the most important military post in the self-proclaimed “DPR,” Dubinsky was his deputy, Pulatov – Dubinsky’s deputy, and Kharchenko - because he was subordinate to Dubinsky," DW writes.

The EU called on the Russian Federation to take responsibility for the disaster MH17 and cooperate with the investigation. At the same time, the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs said that the international investigation team brought “absolutely unfounded accusations” against the Russians in the disaster MH17.

Final result

In the summer of 2018, the Dutch government withdrew from Ukraine the responsibility for the disaster MH17.

The Netherlands and Australia officially blamed Russia for the crash of the MH17 flight. The Russian Federation stated that they were ready for negotiations with the Netherlands on this issue. At the same time, Russia stated that Ukraine should be held accountable "for not closing its skies."

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