MH17 crash: Bellingcat publishes new evidence of Buk origin

MH17 crash: Bellingcat publishes new evidence of Buk origin

June 5, the Bellingcat group of investigators has published on its website two reports, stating the Buk missile launcher, which was used to down Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 over Donbas, belonged to Russians, and providing data on the Russian military drivers who drove the trucks carrying Buk systems In June and July 2014 in the direction of the border with Ukraine.

The first report contains a photograph of a Buk missile launcher, which was made before the MH17 tragedy and shared by a Russian mechanic, who was in Kursk, presumably in the spring of 2013.

“Bellingcat was able to find the “missing link” photograph that shows these white transport markings on Buk 332 from before the June 2014 convoy. A photograph taken by a Russian mechanic, likely in the spring of 2013, shows Buk 332 with the same white transport markings that were on the Buk while in Ukraine shortly before and after the downing of MH17. This photograph is the last discovered image of Buk 332, showing its non-obscured unit designation and transport markings, before the June 2014 convoy, when the middle digit of its unit designation was painted over,” the investigators wrote.

The white digits, gravity mark, and transport marks in the photograph are in the same location as in photographs and videos of Buk 332 while it was in Russia in June 2014 and in Ukraine in July 2014.

“This Buk missile launcher was identified as Buk 332 from the 53rd Anti-Aircraft Missile Brigade (military unit 32406) due to these common features. The mechanic’s photograph was taken at a vehicle yard of this brigade, as we can determine with the help of another photograph from the same area, uploaded by a cadet in August 2014,” the report reads.

The second report by Bellingcat is entitled "MH17 – Drivers of the Russian June and July 2014 Buk Convoy Trucks". This report is about the involvement of the military drivers who could transport the Buk system to the Russian-Ukrainian border and then take it to eastern Ukraine, where the MH17 flight was shot down.

“The last part of that report describes the route and destination of the 23-25 June 2014 Buk convoy that transported Buk unit vehicles of the 2nd Battalion of the 53rd Anti-Aircraft Missile Brigade, as well as the route and destination of a 19-21 July 2014 Buk convoy that transported Buk unit vehicles of the 1stBattalion of the 53rd Anti-Aircraft Missile Brigade. The first convoy was last filmed when entering Millerovo and likely was on its way to a temporary military base in Millerovo, while Buk 332 was later transported to the Russia-Ukraine border near Donetsk, Russia and from there into Ukraine. The second convoy likely headed further to a military camp southwest of Kamensk-Shakhtinsky,” the report reads.

The report also focuses on the drivers of the June and July 2014 Buk convoy trucks and, in particular, the truck that transported Buk 332. This report also describes additional possible drivers of the truck(s) that could have transported Buk 332 from Millerovo to the Russia-Ukraine border. Bellingcat has discovered that trucks of the same military unit (11385) and an additional group of drivers were present in Millerovo around mid-July 2014. Apart from this finding, also previously undiscovered videos are detailed of the same truck and trailer that transported Buk 332, filmed at the end of July 2014, transporting a tank, which was later seen in the Luhansk Oblast in Ukraine.

As noted, an uncensored version of the report including full names and uncensored photographs has been shared with the MH17 Joint Investigation Team (JIT).


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