Bellingcat named suspects in the attack on MH-17 in the skies over Ukraine

Four levels of performers

International expert and journalist group Bellingcat, which deals with the retrieval of data from open sources (satellite images, geolocation, social networking), February 24, will deliver a report on “MH17 — potential suspects and witnesses of the 53 anti-aircraft missile division”. The authors of investigations have tried to outline the range of possible suspects in the crash of MH17. In the new investigation named about two dozen soldiers, who, as suggested by the authors, participated in the transportation of self-propelled missile launcher anti-aircraft missile complex “Buk-M1” on the territory of Ukraine.

To control loading, two soldiers, Sergeant and Lieutenant, the report notes. “To start operator-private, Deputy head of calculation — a Sergeant and the chief, Lieutenant and above. And the driver, of course, also soldiers,” — said military expert Michael Khodarenok.

So Bellingcat focusing on finding participants four levels: privates and sergeants serving defence systems, Junior officers, which could launch, the senior officers who could give them orders, and took the decision about the operation of the representatives of the high command.

In previous reports, the Bellingcat found that “Buk”, which could be released from the rocket, arrived at the Russian-Ukrainian border from the village of Marshal Zhukov (Kursk region). There is a base of the 53rd anti-aircraft missile brigades, to one of the divisions which, according to Bellingcat, was attributed to “Buk”.

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The fact that the operation involved the fighters of the second division, indicate the individual number recorded by eyewitnesses technology. All of them, except one, begin with two, which indicates belonging to a particular connection. The only launcher with a different number (3×2, the second digit is erased), replaced a car with room 222, according to Bellingcat. It is Buk-M1 labeled 3×2 said witnesses in the area of Snow July 17, 2014 before the crash.

Based on the list of military second division of the 53rd anti-aircraft missile brigade (it was posted on social networks by military personnel), Bellingcat was able to find personal pages of most of them. After analyzing them, the team, as she believes, were able to determine who participated in the transfer of SAM to the South-East.

They were mostly soldiers, who took on the service in the late 2013 — early 2014. On their pages, the researchers found many photographs, which depict the movement of convoys of equipment to the Russian-Ukrainian border, the military and the benchmarks by which Bellingcat was able to establish the whereabouts of the column. In addition, the photographs reflect the various combat vehicles that participated in the convoy. Individual numbers and signs (paint on the body, the contour of the armor plates) are identical to those filmed by eyewitnesses.

According to Hadareni, now in the army there is no order restraining the activity of soldiers on social networks. “This often leads to a leak, in a situation close to combat, can turn into a problem, because the soldier himself literally sends information about its location”, — complains expert.

The names of participating, according to Bellingcat, operations soldiers and Junior officers in the report changed. However, in the full version of the report, transmitted to the pivot group of investigators (JIT Joint Investigation Team) in the Netherlands, the names are fully specified. The list includes several dozen people, some of them (a half dozen soldiers), may have been involved in the operation, the researchers said.


According to the team, to lead the convoy was commander of the second division Lieutenant Colonel Dmitry So that he was the battalion commander indicates the number of photos to his social networks. According to the authors of the report, it is highly likely that the Colonel knew of the specific team members of the same “Beech”. “Even if the team Beech-M1 did not include Russian soldiers and officers, Dimitri T. responsible for the transport of Beech 3×2 to the border of Ukraine”, — stated in the report.

Bellingcat with high probability is called the commander of 53 air defence brigade Sergey Muchkaev responsible for replacement 222 “Beech” in the convoy. However, according to the investigators, the Muchkaev has not taken the decision to launch the missiles. “This decision almost certainly was taken at a higher level,” believes Bellingcat.

Among the responsible authors of the report called the command of the 20th army, the rulers of the Western military district.

In addition, the Bellingcat believes that the decision on the transfer of technology was accepted by defense Minister Sergei Shoigu and his first Deputy Valery Gerasimov and Arkady Bahini. Bellingcat indicates that Vladimir Putin, “exercising command of all Russian troops”, also responsible for the fall of MH17, if “was used Buk 3×2”.


According to the representative of the Dutch Prosecutor’s office VIN de Bruin, JIT is going to seriously study this investigation and understand how it can be used in a criminal case.

The defense Ministry was unable to immediately comment on the report presented information. Previous reports Bellingcat defense Ministry did not comment.

After the crash Boeing in July 2014 of the Deputy chief of the General staff of the Russian armed forces Andrei Kartapolov announced a version of the Russian side, which ever since has not been revised. According to him, all evidence indicates that MH-17 was shot down by Ukrainian armed forces. The active participation of Russian servicemen in the war in the Donbas, official Moscow has always denied.

In October 2015, the military specialists of the concern “Almaz-Antey” presented a report on the results of own investigation of circumstances of accident, which implies that Boeing was shot down by a missile that is no longer used by the Russian military, and from the territory, which at that time was not controlled by any of the parties to the conflict in the Donbass.