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US security services have no direct evidence of Russia’s involvement in air crash

July 23, 2014, 21:49 UTC+3 MOSCOW
The United States has accused Russia of “creating conditions” for the crash
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© EPA/AHMAD YUSNI

MOSCOW, July 23. /ITAR-TASS/. US security services have finally briefed journalists on the ill-fated Malaysian Boeing 777 that crashed in Ukraine’s Donetsk region on July 17. The US briefing took place three days after the Russian Defense Ministry had held a similar briefing in Moscow.

Russian generals who took part in the Moscow briefing demonstrated space images of deployment of Ukraine’s anti-aircraft units, video recordings of the Rostov aviation hub with flight routes and corridors in the crash area; they analyzed a fake video showing the transportation of an unknown Buk missile complex that was circulated in social networks.

Russian military officials noted that a US satellite which was flying over Ukraine at the time of the crash could provide some information on the tragedy’s circumstances.

The US security officials did not say anything except that they did not have any direct evidence of Russia’s involvement in the air crash and claimed that Ukraine’s Armed Forces had got nothing to do with the tragedy either. The US security officials failed to provide any convincing proof that Ukraine did not have any missile systems stationed in the crash areas on July 17.

There are plenty of words but no evidence.

The United States has accused Russia of “creating conditions” for the crash; there were unconfirmed allegations that Moscow had handed over weapons to the armed militia in the Donetsk region; finally, there is a “dominate theory” that the self-defense forces controlling the crash area were to blame for the tragedy. But there is no technical information to prove these allegations. The US security services countered the Russian Defense Ministry documents with their assumptions. Facts were counter-posed with words, which only very engaged people could trust.

Meanwhile, Alexander Luzan, the former deputy chief of the air-defense forces of the Russian land troops, said that it was quite easy to determine who had fired at the Malaysian plane even without space images. The retired general said that operators of the P-14 Oborona radar and the NEBO SV survey radar which are in service with Russian air defense forces could have registered the launch of the Buk-M1 missile and determined its flight trajectory.

The range of target location of the P-14 Oborona radar is 400 kilometers. The NEBO SV survey radar has a target location range of 250 kilometers.

General Luzan is convinced that the militias could not shoot the plane down. Given that the airliner was flying at an altitude of 10,600 meters, it could have been shot down only with the help of the S-300 missile system or a Buk-M1 missile. The S-300 system takes some time to be deployed while the self-propelled Buk-M1 complex can operate autonomously. Both systems are in service with the Ukrainian army. In August 2008, during Georgia’s war in South Ossetia, Kiev supplied Buk-M1 complexes to the Georgian army which the latter used to shoot down a Tu-22M3 Russian bomber and three Su-25 assault planes.

Infographics Boeing 777 crash in Ukraine Boeing 777 crash in Ukraine
Malaysia Airlines’ Boeing 777 crashed in the Donetsk region of Ukraine. 280 passengers and 15 crewmembers have died. Infographics by ITAR-TASS
First, the self-defense forces in the Donetsk People’s Republic do not have Buk-M1 anti-aircraft missile systems at their disposal. Second, they do not need them at all. The militias shoot down planes, which bomb their cities and positions. Pointed bombing is possible only at an altitude of 2-3 kilometers. Portable anti-aircraft complexes like Strela 2 (Arrow) or Igla (Needle) are enough to fight against this kind of aviation.

The Russian expert also denied allegations that the self-defense fighters could have received a Buk-M1 missile system from Russia.

Russia has modernized its Buk-M1 missile systems into Buk-M1-2 and Buk-M2 which differ from their prototype both in appearance and the number of missiles. However, all photos coming from Ukraine show only Buk-M1 systems which the Ukrainian army has plenty. Therefore, there is a 90% probability that the Boeing was shot down by a surface-to-air missile fired by the Ukrainian military.

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