“This is clear manipulation. The images were taken in the city of Krasnoarmeisk, which is borne out by the roadside billboard giving the address of a car dealer in the city,” Lieutenant-General Andrei Kartapolov, head of the Main Operations Department of the Russian Army General Staff, said at a news conference.
“Krasnoarmeisk has been under the Ukrainian army’s control since May 11,” he added.
“We have several questions to ask in this connection. What kind of a launching system is this? Where was it transported? Where is it now? Why was it loaded with an incomplete set of missiles and when was the last time it fired?” the general said.
“I want to stress that Russia did not hand over either Buk systems or other weapons and military hardware to militiamen,” Kartapolov said.
Kartapolov said that the three images were dated July 14. “The first image shows Buk air defense systems stationed 8 km north-west of Luhansk. It clearly shows a self-propelled system and two launching and loading machines,” he added.
Another image shows radar stations near Donetsk. Air defense systems near Donetsk appear on a third image, including a self-propelled firing unit and about 60 pieces of military and special hardware, Kartapolov said.
“The question is why the system happened to be near the area controlled by militiamen shortly before the tragedy? Images of the area taken on July 18 show that the system was no longer there,” Kartapolov said.
He also stressed that the intensity of Ukrainian Buk radar stations had increased before July 17.
The Malaysia Airlines Boeing-777 passenger plane en route from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur crashed in the eastern Donetsk region of Ukraine.