Russian agent in Ukraine takes credit for shooting down Malaysian air flight, killing 295

UPDATE: Russian media reported two weeks ago the Russian-backed rebels had taken control of the very anti-aircraft missiles many suspect shot down the passenger plane, killing all 295 on board.

Even worse, the rebel “Defense Minister,” a known Russian agent, claimed credit for the shootdown earlier today.

ukraine-plane-shot-down

God bless the Wayback machine, here’s the Russian operative’s original post on Putin-all-controlled social media site VK.com:

russia-shot-down-malaysia-air

Screen Shot 2014-07-17 at 4.12.13 PMScreen Shot 2014-07-17 at 4.29.57 PM

 

Screen Shot 2014-07-17 at 4.57.09 PM

UPDATE: The Ukrainians have released alleged recordings of Russian operatives admitting to having shot down the plane.

Ouch.

Screen Shot 2014-07-17 at 4.57.25 PM

UPDATE: CNN is reporting that the US government has concluded that the Malaysia Airlines flight was in fact shot down.

UPDATE: Video shows debris falling from the ski.

___________

Some in the Ukrainian government are saying that a Malaysia Airlines passenger jet, that crashed along the Russian-Ukrainian border, killing all 295 passengers and crew, was shot down.

The Ukrainians are not saying by who.

UPDATE: Russian-backed separatists are reportedly blocking the Ukrainian government from reaching the crash site in order to retrieve the black box. If the Russians get their hands on the black box, kiss the evidence good bye. At that point, there will be “evidence” that the US shot it down with an ICBM.

Further update: The Ukrainians are now saying, at least some Ukrainian officials, that it was a Russian missile that shot down the plane. But we still don’t know whether that would mean the Russians themselves shot it down, or Russian-armed separatists.

The passenger jet, a Boeing 777, went down in eastern Ukraine, the portion of the country where the Russians have silently invaded with special forces in an attempt to foment a civil war.

Malaysian Airlines 777-200ER. (Credit Montague Smith.)

Malaysian Airlines 777-200ER. (Credit Montague Smith.)

NBC has more:

The Ukrainian ministry adviser said that the jet, a Boeing 777, had been shot down over a town in the east of the country, The Associated Press reported. Pro-Russian separatists have been fighting Ukrainian security forces in that region.

The adviser, Anton Gerashenko, said on his Facebook page that the plane was flying at 33,000 feet when it was hit by a missile fired from a launcher known as a Buk. A similar launcher was seen by Associated Press journalists near the eastern Ukrainian town of Snizhne earlier Thursday.

A Ukrainian cargo plane crashed near the border on Monday, and CNN reported that the evidence is now pointing to that earlier plane being shot down. Which lends credence to concerns that the plane could have been shot down.

This would be a bad turn of events for the Russians. The fact that the plane was a Malaysia Airlines jet — the same company that lost a plane in Asia just a few months ago — only makes the story more bizarre.  It also raises the question of whether someone is targeting Malaysia Airlines. It’s a possibility that has to be considered.

A CNN consultant just said you’d need a truck-based missile launcher to have taken down a jet.  Not a shoulder-launched one.  And the Russians, of course, have such technology. And their infantry has such equipment with them.

Stay tuned.


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  • Dorel

    Finally wake up the international community, and I hope that Russia through its leaders to pay for this act of international terrorism without precedent whose moral and material is responsible. When I saw Putin’s statement I was amazed at how despicable can be this man.
    Vladimir Putin = terrorist and war criminal

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  • ComradeRutherford

    Putin: evil, racist, homophobe!

    Perfect as candidate for U.S. President in 2016 for the GOP.

  • ComradeRutherford

    GOP to America: Putin for President!!!

  • ComradeRutherford

    Because the gas and coal that the EU and everyone else us more important than several airlines full of people…

    War is a racket, General Butler, USMC

  • Dorel

    What I do not understand why the international community failed to take immediate action to condemn and isolate Russia that if the plane crash site MH 17 performed to an exporting country of terrorism by providing both necessary weaponry and experts needed to operate. Must convene an emergency meeting of the G7 and Russia had to be subjected to international sanctions at least magnitude to those to which it was subjected to Libya in the Lockerbie bombing case from.

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  • http://www.americablog.com/ Naja pallida

    That is really a good question. Most European air control agencies have been already restricting the airspace over Ukraine to commercial traffic, and rerouting around it. Seems to me that it was most likely simply some bureaucratic idiocy. Some pencil pusher in some office somewhere decided that using the most direct route would help the airline save a buck, even if that meant flying over a war zone where multiple aircraft have already been shot down.

  • lynchie

    Don’t forget 1988 when American Navy shot down an Iranian passenger jet.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iran_Air_Flight_655

    I have a question to raise. Given the conflict in the Ukraine why would any airline fly over that zone?

  • FLL

    The only confirmed numbers I’ve seen are from ABC News, which lists the nationalities of 43 passengers as unknown:

    http://abcnews.go.com/International/malaysian-air-loses-contact-passenger-plane-ukraine/story?id=24599558

    I saw a comment on one of the various threads we’ve been reading that says “preliminary reports” indicate that there may be 20-25 Americans, but that information is not confirmed. I wonder why they haven’t made the number of American passengers public yet.

  • http://AMERICAblog.com/ John Aravosis

    I’m trying to confirm there, where did you see this?

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    Tin foil hats work if the wearers really, really, really want them to.

  • http://AMERICAblog.com/ John Aravosis

    Sounds like Russian disinfo. It’s what I’d posit if I were the Russians had shot it down, or my “rebels” had shot it down. I don’t believe it.

  • FLL

    And the day ends with the most depressing of news. The Russian-backed separatists have recovered the black box and sent it to Moscow for “investigation.” So to make matters worse, the folks in the Kremlin (and their adorable supporters in the West) will be driving up the price of aluminum foil at the supermarket by making bazillions of tin foil hats and coming up with all manner of conspiracy theories blaming the West for the airline disaster—in spite of solid documentation (Internet text, audio recordings and eyewitness observations) proving the guilt of the Russian-backed separatists and Russian agents. When will Putin and his cronies everywhere start using aluminum foil for its intended purpose, wrapping food? Don’t they know that those tin foil hats don’t work? (Nor do they fool anybody.)

  • http://wicca.com/celtic/wicca/wicca.htm Colin

    Great info FLL. That pretty much adds a whole new layer. An agent provocateur doing Russia’s dirt

  • FLL

    He’s very unsavory indeed. This is an excerpt from the article on Mashable.com (link here):

    Strelkov, a native Muscovite, is known for his brutality. As reported in Mashable, he led an illegal military tribunal and sentenced at least three Ukrainian citizens to death by firing squad under a 1941 Stalin-era law

    The original piece on Mashable.com (link here) documents the executions that Girkin ordered.

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    I saw that. Bosnia, too, and the Chechen wars.

    Seems like there’s nowhere he hasn’t caused trouble on Russia’s behalf and in their interests.

  • FLL

    He’s a Russian citizen from Moscow. He was involved in the Crimea crisis as well as fomenting Russian separatism in Moldova’s breakaway region of Transnistria. He fought on the Russian side in Chechnya. He has been involved in campaigns against pretty much any perceived enemies of Putin’s regime.

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    Interesting. The guy apparently has decades of experience in the Russian military, and allegedly was also involved in the Crimea secession.

  • http://AMERICAblog.com/ John Aravosis

    Stay away from umbrellas.

  • http://AMERICAblog.com/ John Aravosis

    Wow, thanks, just grabbed it and posted it, thanks!

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    …at which point we can be certain the Russians will exonerate themselves of any responsibility whatsoever.

  • FLL

    They will have to claim that Obama is both a secret Muslim and likes to shoot down passenger flights from the air carriers of Muslim countries like Malaysia. That will be tricky, even for Fox News, but they’ll manage it somehow.

  • http://wicca.com/celtic/wicca/wicca.htm Colin

    . I’ve seen an f111 shot down. You have to calculate the speed of the aircraft against the speed of the rocket that hits it. Oh to be sure I still think the best answer with what we know is that it was shot down.But I still have questions concerning the reports of where they say they lost contact and the debris field. Something does not jive.

  • FLL

    Here is a screenshot of Girkin’s post on VK.com at 17:30 Ukrainian time, 5 minutes after the plane was shot down (17:15 Ukrainian time):

  • FLL

    Smoking Gun

    It’s plastered all over the Internet like wallpaper. Here is the cached locations of Igor Girkin’s post. Girkin is the self-proclaimed Defense Minister of the Donetsk People’s Republic, the Russian-backed separatist entity:

    https://web.archive.org/web/20140717155906/http://vk.com/strelkov_info?w=wall-57424472_7256

    Here is a screenshot of Girkin’s post on VK.com at 17:30 Ukrainian time, 5 minutes after the plane was shot down (17:15 Ukrainian time):

  • Lawerence Collins

    Thanks Putin. Anyone with a brain knew you were evil, racist, homophobe! Now even the idiots in the GOP are catching on.
    I just wonder how they’ll blame this on the black man in the White House.

  • Thom Allen

    Transcript of a phone call intercepted and released by Ukranian security forces.

    “Malaysia Airlines Boeing
    777-200 flying from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur was allegedly shot down by
    a group of Russian-backed Cossack militants near the village of
    Chornukhine, Luhansk Oblast, some 80 kilometers north-west of Donetsk,
    according to recordings of intercepted phone calls between Russian
    military intelligence officers and members of terrorist groups, released
    by the country’s security agency (SBU).

    One phone call apparently was made at 4:40 p.m. Kyiv
    time, or 20 minutes after the plane crash, by Igor Bezler, who the SBU
    says is a Russian military intelligence officer and leading commander of
    the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic. He reports to a person
    identified by Ukraine’s SBU as a colonel in the main intelligence
    department of the general headquarters of the armed forces of the
    Russian Federation Vasili Geranin regarding the shot down plane, which
    is about to be examined by the militants.

    The second intercepted conversation released by the
    Security Service of Ukraine was apparently between militants nicknamed
    “Major” and “Greek” immediately upon inspection of the crash site.”
    http://pastebin.com/d4quutU6

  • FLL

    Thank you for showing us the last piece of the puzzle. The self-proclaimed defense minister of the Donetsk People’s Republic, Igor Girkin, actually boasted about downing the Malaysia Airlines plane on his webpage at VK.com (Russia’s Facebook), then removing the page after he realized that it was a passenger flight, not a military transport plane.

  • http://40yrs.blogspot.com Matthew Saroff

    I will make a note: It appears that Putin’s plane and the Malaysian Air flight came very close to each other over Poland, and his flight path from Brazil would have taken him over southern Belarus near the Ukranian border.

    The Russian military would have been aware of this, and stood down.

    The rebels or Kiev? Not so much,

  • Thom Allen

    Mashable says that one of the separatists admitted that they shot down the plane (thinking that it was a Ukranian jet). He posted that info on his VK account. When he realized that it was not, and was a passenger plane, he deleted the post.
    http://mashable.com/2014/07/17/malaysia-airlines-ukraine-russia-rebel/

  • nicho

    Or the Western Ukrainians could have pulled a false-flag operation to lay the blame on the Russians. All sorts of possibilities.

  • nicho

    The plane was traveling at 500+ mph. Once it was shot down, it doesn’t fall straight down. The pieces, people inside, everything were still traveling at 500 mph. So, the plane was shot down considerably west of where it landed.

  • nicho

    Or he may have been playing a game on the phone or listening to music, since phone use is allowed above 3K meters.

  • Thom Allen

    Hmmm, how often does the President run out to the local McDonald’s for lunch? And if he stayed in and ate lunch, the poster would said that he was “cowering in fear after the attack.” If he prayed, the poster would say that he was “asking Allah for guidance.” No matter what Obama does (or doesn’t do, or that they imagine that he does or doesn’t do), their slant is the same – it’s wrong.

  • http://wicca.com/celtic/wicca/wicca.htm Colin

    Exactly Sis. I just heard on NBC that at least one of the black boxes has been found and will be turned over to the Russians.

  • UncleBucky

    I don’t want to dwell on gruesome, but this text really got to me…

    “A young man in blue shorts, wearing red Nike sneakers, lay with his arms and legs splayed outward, clutching his iPhone.”

    We all know that we can’t make phone calls generally in planes. The tragedy started at 10k meters…. HE knew what had happened, and had the time at least to try to call someone.

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    True enough. I recall how a few months back, a number of those ‘ethnic Russian’ Crimean agitators were reported to be members of Russian’ special forces units.

  • FLL

    Yes, you’re right. They still needed the personnel with the required expertise. The separatists might not have had to capture them though. The Russians could have “loaned” the soldiers with that expertise (perhaps Russian army special forces, who have been operating covertly in eastern Ukraine for some time).

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    Well, like I keep saying (and I apologize for sounding like a broken clock), they must’ve also ‘captured’ the soldiers with the expertise to use the SAM launcher.

  • FLL

    An article in British newspaper, The Telegraph, puts some of the pieces of the puzzle into place (link here). Below are the details from the article in The Telegraph. Documented on Twitter?! Yikes!

    Suspicion for the apparent shooting down of a Malaysia Airlines flight immediately fell on pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine who two weeks ago boasted of capturing powerful surface-to-air missiles.

    Fighters from the Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) overran a Ukrainian army garrison on June 29 and claimed to have captured at least one such weapon.

    The DPR posted a Twitter picture of the missile system, which is mounted on the back of a vehicle and would easily be able to bring down a slow-moving commercial airliner flying in a straight line.

    A [DPR] spokesman told Voice of Russia radio at the time: “The forces of the Donetsk People’s Republic assumed control of A-1402 [regiment’s] military base” and boasted of capturing the Buk launcher.

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    Well… there is Iran Air Flight 655, which was shot down by the U.S.S. Vincennes in 1988. In Iranian airspace, and killing 290 people on board.

    Major powers are perfectly capable of amazing levels of incompetence and negligence.

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    It is possible it was another Lockerbie / Pan Am 103 case… Guess we may or may not find out, given where the MA aircraft went down.

  • http://musephotos.wordpress.com/ GarySFBCN

    That reporter will disappear, die in an accident or of Polonium 210 poisoning.

  • HereinDC

    Here’s a quote I jsut found on line : “True story – Obama went OUT TO EAT a burger after he heard of the crash. I didn’t make that up, go check it out. This guy is amazing.”

  • http://wicca.com/celtic/wicca/wicca.htm Colin

    Like I said below. There is still limited information. According to the reports , they lost contact with the plane in the Eastern portion of the Ukraine and it went down in pieces in the West. Debris scattered over miles. Could be a rocket , sure. Could be something else. Could be someone else.

  • http://www.americablog.com/ Naja pallida

    The Syrian rebels released a few videos where they captured mobile SAM units and were able to demonstrate using them effectively, despite having relatively poor training. At least against low altitude targets like helicopters. The operation of such a weapon system really only needs one person with a some modicum of a clue. Most types of SAM vehicles operate with a crew of four: a commander, driver, gunner and radar operator. The radar operator is really the only one who has to have any level of expertise, but really, operating those things is almost like playing a video game these days. Find a target, tell the system to track it, and push the fire button. If any of the separatists are former Ukrainian military, they probably have the requisite rudimentary knowledge. All the maintenance and other knowledge to keep such a system over the long term is probably not high on their priority list.

  • FLL

    Yes, I think that among the ranks of the separatists in Donetsk are former members of the Ukrainian military who have that kind of specialized training. What worries me is that the crash site is controlled by the separatists. The black box should be relatively easy to locate because the plane went down over land, not in the middle of the ocean. So where’s that black box?

  • http://www.americablog.com/ Naja pallida

    The state department’s recent analysis of photographs and reports from Ukraine (from just a couple days ago) didn’t mention the separatists having any significant anti-aircraft capability, plenty of transport, anti-tank and anti-personnel equipment, but no SAM launchers. Shoulder mounted launchers don’t have the range to take out an airliner at altitude. Russia itself on the other hand has plenty of options at their disposal.

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    I’ve done some quick research into the BUK launch systems and we’re not just talking “access to Ukrainian S2A missiles.” We’re also talking access to highly specialized training — not the kind of thing that can be taught in a couple of days.

    It would have to be, in my opinion, former members of the Ukrainian military. Or Russians.

  • FLL

    Or it was mutinous former members of the Ukrainian military…

    By mutinous, I’m guessing that you mean the members of the Ukrainian military that joined the separatist “Donetsk Republic.” I suppose they could have access to surface-to-air missiles if they confiscated them when they took control of Donetsk province. Or did I misunderstand your reply?

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    Just my theories and conclusions, but given the level of sophistication needed to shoot down an aircraft at that altitude, it seems to me there are only two possibilities: Either the Russians did it. Or it was mutinous former members of the Ukrainian military — and not just one or two, but the entire crew necessary to operate that type of missile launcher.

    Even finding the black box might not explain exactly who shot the missiles. Just that that’s what they were.

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    The only weaponry capable of hitting and destroying an airliner at 33k feet (normal cruising altitude for a passenger aircraft) requires extensive training — not just the launcher operator, but also experts in solid fuel missile maintenance, as well as radar operation. In other words, it takes an entire crew of highly trained individuals to run a BUK launcher.

    The kind of training available only in professional armed forces organizations.

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    A BUK launching system is, despite being somewhat dated technology, nevertheless a highly sophisticated piece of missile weaponry. It would have to be, to be able to shoot down an aircraft at the reported 33k ft cruising altitude.

    This ain’t like some Stinger anti-aircraft missile that can just be pointed at an aircraft and a trigger pulled. Whoever was operating that launcher had boatloads of specific training on it, all of which suggests it’s not just “separatist rebels.”

    Now it is possible these rebels would include secession-minded former members of the Ukrainian armed forces — but that’s the only other explanation, besides “the Russians did it.” The BUK is not something you can just hand to someone and expect them to know how to use it, much less take down a jet flying that high.

  • HereinDC

    And already of the sites, the Righties hurriedly trying to change history on how the Righties were so Pro Putin ….and …… typing now how chummy Obama is with Putin. WTF!

  • iamlegion

    It also raises the question of whether someone is targeting Malaysia Airlines. It’s a possibility that has to be considered.

    No – no it’s not. That’s the kind groundless speculation that hypes CNN; this place is supposed to be better than that. MH370 vanished en route, almost certainly due to a mechanical issue. This flight was _shot_ down, and it’s just a matter of time before the guilty party becomes obvious. If it happens a third time, _then_ it’s responsible to speculate.

  • tamarz

    If it’s true it’s just another example of: if you consort with extremists you will find yourself pulled willy-nilly into their crazy, terminally messy and inexcusable actions.

  • FLL

    I may be wrong, but it seems that any armed forces of an actual country—either the Russian army or the Ukrainian army—would have sophisticated enough technology to avoid an absurd mistake like shooting down a passenger plane, especially an enormous Boeing 777. I’m not sure that the separatists in the Donetsk province of eastern Ukraine have the sophisticated technology that would normally prevent such a gross error, although they certainly have surface-to-air missiles.

  • jomicur

    CBS is reporting that an AP reporter claims to have seen Russian-provided anti-aircraft missile launchers in the area of the crash.

  • http://AMERICAblog.com/ John Aravosis

    Bingo.

  • http://AMERICAblog.com/ John Aravosis

    Further update: The Ukrainians are now saying, at least some Ukrainian officials, that it was a Russian missile that shot down the plane. But we still don’t know whether that would mean the Russians themselves shot it down, or Russian-armed separatists.

  • http://wicca.com/celtic/wicca/wicca.htm Colin

    From what I can gather so far I have a few questions.

    But first . my heart goes out to the families and friends of those lost in this tragedy.

    It has been reported that contact with the plane was lost in the western portion of Ukraine and the crash happened close to the Russian border in the East. I would like some official explanation of this curiosity.

    Also , if it was shot down by ‘separatists’ , how did they get the weapon system and who trained them to use it? Finally I wonder just who will get control of the crash site and the all important black boxes?
    There is still much we do not know.

  • zerosumgame0005

    Why is the world picking on Malaysia Airlines?

  • Elijah Shalis

    Lets not Russian to judgement. Whether is was a bomb or a missile or whom did it.

  • Indigo

    Not yet. Wait for the Archduke to be assassinated. (“Archduke” being the metaphor for whoever it is that gets assassinated that upsets so many interest groups that any semblance of peace dissolves.) Then we’ll have that knock-down-drag-out global shoot out the media are pumping.

  • http://heimaey.us/ heimaey

    Russia/Ukraine conflict. Bigger than usual Palestine/Israeli conflict (Israelis are being bigger dicks than usual). WW3 coming up?

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