Bellingcat: Russia used fake evidence to blame Kiev for downing of MH17

Expert journalists from Bellingcat Group, which is engaged in independent investigations based on open sources, accused Russia of lying about shooting down the Malaysian aircraft flight MH17 over eastern Ukraine on July 17, 2014. In a new report published on Friday, July 15, the Bellingcat “Study of open sources on MH17: two years later” says, “We believe that the Buk missile system, which shot down [flight] MH17, came from Russia, and the Russian authorities lied, falsified evidence and engaged in plagiarism from blogs, trying to shift the blame to the other side.”

The document, in particular, says that satellite pictures provided by the Russian Ministry of Defense on July 21, 2014 “were subjected to such a strong manipulation that they do not deserve any trust.” It was also noted that photos were of poor quality and therefore, according to the investigators, indicate an obvious attempt by Russian authorities to mislead the international community.

The new report by Bellingcat recreates this version of events: Between June 23 and June 25, 2014, the 53rd Artillery Brigade transported equipment through the territory of Russia at positions near the Ukrainian border. Among this equipment was Buk missile system number 322, later noticed in Ukraine on July 17 and 18, 2014.

In the morning of July 17, the Buk left Donetsk in a trailer, heading eastward through separatist-controlled territory and reached Snizhne city. After that, the Buk independently arrived at the field south of the Snizhne, where the rocket was launched, resulting in the crash of the MH17 plane.

The new report from Bellingcat is based in particular on a study that was conducted by the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies,Middlebury Institute of International Studies in Monterey. The center studied various photos using programs designed for forensic investigation of images.

  MH17, Bellingcat, Ukraine, Russia