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Possible new sighting of MH17 Buk convoy on July 17th 2014 in Ukraine

May 12, 2016

By Bellingcat Investigation Team

Translations: Русский

On May 3rd 2016, a new video of what appears to be the July 17th 2014 Buk convoy was uploaded to YouTube, and was on May 11th discovered by Twitter users @amishjihadi and @loondale. In the video, there are several details visible which seem to indicate this is the same Buk TELAR that has been recorded moving towards the suspected Buk missile launch site, thus associating it with the downing of MH17.

At this time, it’s not known what the origin of this video is and why it was uploaded only now, but the video seems to be dashcam footage, which based on the watermark visible has been cropped with a video editing program called CropiPic.

In the video at 0:47, the same white truck from earlier Buk transport videos can be seen. The truck has the Buk TELAR loaded on the back, and there appear to be four missiles mounted, with a camouflage netting covering them.

Buk_4_missiles

At 0:48, the side of the unit can be seen, which shows the same white marks that have been seen on the previous close-up pictures of the TELAR.

Comparison of features of Buk 332 in Makiivka (top left), Alexeyevka (top right),and Donetsk (bottom)

Comparison of features of Buk 332 in Makiivka (top left), Alexeyevka (top right), and Donetsk (bottom)

An interesting detail that provides further validity to the link to the previous videos are the escort vehicles that can be seen before and after the truck. Bellingcat has previously reported about the vehicles, and we can direct matches: there is a Toyota RAV4 in front of the truck, with a UAZ-469AZ and VW Transporter following it.

Comparison of videos from July 15 (top) and July 17 (bottom) in eastern Ukraine

Comparison of videos from July 15 (top) and July 17 (bottom) in eastern Ukraine

The description in the video claims the location to be Makiivka, east of Donetsk. There are details visible in the video which make geolocation of this video possible. The clearest landmarks are the gas station visible from 0:50 onwards, and the traffic circle towards the end of the video. The Parallel (Параллель) chain signs are clearly visible. In Makiivka, through Google Maps we can find one location which is located near a traffic circle, giving a good reference point for further validation.

Google Map screenshot of Makiivka

Google Maps screenshot of Makiivka

View from video, in which the fuel station, roundabout, and lines of trees are all visible

View from video, in which the fuel station, roundabout, and lines of trees are all visible

More detailed geolocations have been completed by other open source researchers, including Anton Pavlushko and @DajeyPetros (also known as Putin@War/Ukraine@War). The geolocations reveal that the convoy is headed eastward in southern Makiivka.

Local map of the convoy's location and direction eastward, and larger route in eastern Ukraine (bottom)

Local map of the convoy’s location and direction eastward, and larger route in eastern Ukraine (bottom)

Additionally, as found by InformNapalm’s Anton Pavlushko, the roundabout and billboard visible at the end of the video matches that of the roundabout just west of Kapitalnaya Park.

makiivka_roundabout_vid
Webpage advertising the billboard at roundabout

Webpage advertising the billboard at roundabout

The time of the video can be confirmed to be in mid-July 2014 as well. As pointed out by Twitter user @WowihaY, the fuel prices in the video match that of a page archived on July 18, 2014 on the webpage of the fuel station in the video.

gas-prices-top-row-visible5dae537533f813448c852cb9ee726c24

 

Fuel prices, archived on July 18, 2014 on fuel station's website

Fuel prices, archived on July 18, 2014 on fuel station’s website

The visible shadows indicate that the video was taken in the late morning, which is in line with the anticipated time frame of the transport. The exact time of the video has yet to be determined.

The importance of this sighting is that it provides further insight to the actual route taken by the Buk convoy. A railway bridge on the H21 road at 48.033594 37.950988 makes the direct route through Makiivka difficult due to the height of the Buk transport, so it seems the convoy diverted slightly from the main road in Makiivka to work around this problem via a southern route through Avtotransportna St. This is the same route taken by a heavy transport convoy on July 15th, where the same escort vehicles were present.

In summary, the new video provides interesting new details about the July 17th 2014 Buk convoy composition and route. Further investigation and validation into the sighting and its implications is warranted.

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247 Comments

      • stranger

        Is it possible please to share via any resource which doesn’t require authorization, as google drive does? for the privacy… : )

        Reply
          • stranger

            …from young and inspired open source investigators… : )

          • stranger

            it requires me to sign into google account when I try to access…

          • Andrea

            thanks 4 the suggestions but i simply added one of the last locations of that convoy…cause all the travel from Kursk was not so interesting 😉

            PS: i did that map just because i was pretty confused on which pics of the buk where from July 17 … just recollecting Bellingcat’s already amazing work. And for sure not with the intent of making anyone change his ideas … just to summarize what we already know. Enjoy the weekend 😉

          • stranger

            What is interesting to note. If we assume the Buk came from Russia, or might be was captured from Ukrainian base, in any case, provided that all those open source evidences are true.

            So far we have only one part of the Buk’s path which is covered tightly – from Donetsk to Snizhne, and also at RF territory from Kursk to the Ukrainian border. At the same we have huge gaps in between, as if the Buk was teleported directly to Donetsk and then appeared only once in Luhansk and then just disappeared. We have no any other points which would trace how Buk arrived to Donetsk and how it disappeared after. Why is that?

            We should not forget also that Ukrainian ambassador in UN, Yuri Serge’ev claimed that Ukraine had evidences that rebels had two Buks.

            Let’s think as mathematicians. Obviously the Buk’s path was coherent, Buks cannot teleport from one point to another. We know about Buk’s movement because it is randomly spotted at different points at the path by people and some of the evidences are published to the Internet, some are found and some are yet to be, also randomly. Based on the found points we can interpolate the full path.

            In an ideal case the probability to spot the Buk on it’s way from (presumably) Russia to Donetsk and the probability to spot the Buk on it’s path from Donetsk to Snezhne as well as the probability on the path from Snizhne to (presumably) Russia is exactly the same, should other conditions be equal. The found evidences show that the probability is strictly different.

            If you studied the method Monte Carlo at a school or a college you know that randomly selected entry conditions may help to reveal the general trend which is not random. Why do we have a very specific probability distribution of the points where the buk was spotted?

            There might be several explanations:
            1. the Buk was hidden when moving from (presumably) Russia to Donetsk and moved through less populated areas, disguised at night, while it was openly moved from Donetsk to Snezhne later. Why was that?
            2. the points reported are preselected to prove some predefined conclusion, with evidences which are not aligned with the conclusion are ignored and omitted. That is also known as a Selection Bias.
            3. ?

            Which way would you explain the strict difference in the probability distribution of the found points?

          • Andrea

            Its last sighting is in Luhansk (if i’m correct): it’s filmed without a covering net (probably transported in a hurry) and looking at the video it’s probably filmed a little after dawn (sunrise in Luhansk 18th July 2014: 4:40am). So it’s not a big surprise there were not many dashcams/cameras ready that day to film his way out toward Russia.
            Consider also that (from what we see in the video) there are no escorting vehicles before/after the truck thus making it a considerably less showy.
            Would you run to the window with a camera in your pajama at 5am just because you hear a truck?

            Luhansk is just 30/50km from the border and probably, once they realized they downed MH17, they were careful not to drive around crowded roads. That buk may still be in a warehouse nearby from what we know…nobody ever saw it again.
            Its disappearance since July 18th is quite strange as well … i mean … they are not shy of showing their military gear down there … if they might have had interests in hiding until they used it (even even though intelligence services suspected they had one) … i can’t understand why they want to hide it later…

            Why was that driven under sunlight the 17th?…Well the reason is also the one that led to MH17 tragedy: they wanted to down an ukrainian plane they were told would have flown over their heads … BUT …

            Finally: one of the last and, on my opinion, more relevant clue on Buk 3X2 has been published only after almost two years since that day … and the only reasonable cause i can find to justify this delay is fear … fear of speaking their mind (in this case release a picture/video). I recently read a piece that i’l link perfectly describing what’s happening down there (i know many would label it as propaganda…) but it’s not the single one with that kind of story…

            http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/world/the-patriot-and-the-correspondent-acts-of-friendship-in-a-landin-between/article30019709/

          • stranger

            It is still unclear why the Buk had never been spotted BEFORE 17th? All the evidences are related to only the 17th. If the buk allegedly arrived in the night to 15th it should have been there for at least two more days. Taking into account that the Ukrainian ambassador in UN, Segreev claimed the separatists possessed 2 buks, the probability to spot only one of them and only on the 17th, but so many times, is close to zero unless there is another objective reason.
            Either it was transported secretly to Donetsk and never used before or there is something wrong with the evidences we have. The two points of the path where all found evidences are projected are not random. The starting point is the Paris Match photo, the ending point is the announced launch site. So all those evidences are just confirming the version announced from the very beginning.
            Russian state TV announced that the separatists were going to use Buks allegedly captured at an Ukrainian base on the 29th of June. Why would the rebels have hidden it before the 17th, but openly transported on the 17th and 18th is still unclear.

          • boggled

            stranger
            Yuriy statements were to AP reporter outside UN meeting
            He said – in a statement from other article –

            Yuriy Sergeyev told the emergency meeting of the Security Council that communications and intercepts, photos and videos indicate that the rebels have at least two SA-11 missile systems.
            He added that detained rebels have told Ukraine they also have a Buk missile system from Russia.
            Mr Sergeyev said that immediately after the crash, a rebel military leader boasted on social media of shooting down what he thought was a Ukrainian jet.

            http://www.timesofmalta.com/articles/view/20140718/world/updated-missile-fired-from-rebel-area-us.528253

            Because of analysis of communication intercepts that were conflicting, it was hard to be sure, but he felt it indicated 2 BUKs, not that there definately were two BUKs
            This was July 18 2014 evening statement

            BUK regiment has many parts to it
            Command Center, Fuel Truck, launcher, launcher/loader, radar antenna, etc.

            When he said BUKs, my opinion is one was command center that was still in Luhansk getting repaired and maybe a launcher/loader that needs command center to work.

            The BUK of the videos is a standalone unit that they deployed separately by itself.
            It was close enough to link up with a BUK command center in Russia just across the border, if the location of missile launch was around Snizhne.
            It may have, it may not have.
            IF it did, they definitely easily could have identified MH17
            If it did not (some suggest SIGINT satellite’s may have gotten signal if there was one) link up with center, there is more chance of it being an accident by a poorly trained crew.

            AS far as reason for daylight transfer, you will have to ask GRU.
            My guess is GRU knew what Ukraine and rest satellite imagery capabilities were so they felt they could get the BUK through with no problem with a few stops.
            Obviously someone used a preplanned route and location the BUK was supposed to be stationed at.
            The reasons for that location are anyone’s guess.
            To protect rebel Snizhne base from a second attack from the South?
            Unlikely because the BUK fired NW and the radar has a specific area it can cover.
            I doubt the rebels were sitting in the tank spinning the turret to get a radar acquisition and radar lock.
            The exception to this case would be linked to command center and full BUK radar unit in Russia.
            Then the BUK could be pointing any direction and still protect the skies.

            If standalone, it would point its radar at the direction it thought a threat was coming.
            If linked, it could face any direction and shoot any threat for a 360 degree direction.

            As far as statistics and probability goes, they are not perfect.
            That is why people play lottery and gamble in casinos, they know odds are against them, but there is a chance they will win.

            So far, we just have social media evidence with BC’s great OSINT team and the few people that recorded the BUK in transit and posted them.
            We have no clue what other recordings there is.
            Not everything is on social media.
            Someone may have informed authorities direct by email with images or video.
            Then chose to keep silent because they did not want to leave Donbas.
            Who knows?

            We shall find a lot more out during the Trial I imagine.
            So far, the evidence in social media is what we have, there is a whole other source of evidence the investigators have access too.

            It is what it is, and I think BC has linked the social media aspect all together very well.
            Add to that the Kremlin tightly supervised media crazy stories of all sorts, including the sat image the Russian Union of Engineers validated, it paints a pretty good picture of what happened.

            Fare thee well

  1. John Zenwirt

    Stranger: “…the Canadian institute he is working at.”

    Which one is that…? We usually don’t hire crackpots…

    Reply
    • stranger

      May be the problem is that you label crackpots everybody who disagree with your romantic but far from reality idealistic picture you want to believe and impose to the west so that you would be accepted as theirs? While the poor professor who is trying to analyze from a scientific approach is not guilty in Kremlin propaganda? That would explain everything. I will put a smile on case and would advice you the same : )

      Reply
  2. denis cashcov

    Doesn’t this destroy Bellingcats timeline?
    How do they account for the buk travelling in the wrong direction

    Reply
    • Marcel

      @Denis: I am very curious why you believe the Volvo transport carrying a BUK TELAR is driving in the wrong direction.
      Because it is driving in the correct direction. Northeasterly towards Zuhres. You should be aware of that.

      Reply
        • Marcel

          This could be a fruitless discussion adding noise without any value for other readers. Try to read something but I guess your role is only to confuse. Bye

          Reply
          • oui oui

            this is a very good answer , i suggest that it is copy-paste at every same occasion
            just to avoid a fruitless discussion adding noise without any value for other readers.

          • John Brennan

            Marcel, the truck is always heading the wrong way. The truck is always heading from the west to the East. there is no evidence of it coming from Russia into Ukraine.
            The problem is you think it came from Russia into Ukraine and then back to Russia.
            Start with the things you know for sure and let go of the things you think you know.
            The truck comes from the West to the East, and possibly fires the missile on the way.
            It comes from Ukraine, the west of Ukraine, not from Russia

    • Sammy

      Denis Troll,

      Have you ever studied war?

      The Trojan horse was not busted through a gate, but left as a gift/trick.

      Are you that naive that you ignore 1000s of years of military conflict?

      The troll farm is getting pathetic.

      Reply
      • John Brennan

        You are correct about the Trojan Horse, but there is no evidence that it came from East. It travels Eastward and comes from the west.
        That’s all we really know for sure

        Reply
  3. Greg Rabinovich

    Goof morning, Troll Land!

    I have a riddle for you, trollies, dupes and useful idiots. Per bellingcat’s conspiracy theories, an evil Russian Buk covertly crossed the Ukraine’s border at Izvarine and traveled ~200 miles to Snizhne by way of Donetsk. Why did it take such a circuitous route when the driving distance from Izvarine to Snizhne is only ~80 miles? Do you think the russkies a) cannot read maps, b) do not know how to use GPS/GLONASS, c) have a glutton for punishment or d) all of the above?

    If you are unable to answer my question and feel an irresistible urge to resort to ad hominem attacks, hold on a minute, I have an easier one for you. Imagine that you are an officer in charge of the Russian Buk. It is July 17, 2014 ~6pm local time, and your superiors just informed you that you shot down a commercial air liner with ~300 people on board. The whole world is up in arms and wants your scalp. To make things worse, one of your Buk’s missiles is conspicuously missing making the Buk easy to spot. Do you a) immediately drive to the nearest border crossing point Dolzhanskiy (~70 miles), b) wait until the sunset and, under cover of darkness, drive to Izvarine (~80 miles) or c) wait until the next midday and drive to Izvarine through densely populated areas by way of Luhansk (~95 miles)?

    Reply
    • Marcel

      The fact that the route choosen was not the shortest/logical one , does not make the route impossible! You can imagine many reasons for the detour. Maybe it was not a detour. Maybe something had to be picked up in Donetsk? Maybe the shortest route was blocked because of low bridges the BUK could not pass. Maybe the idea was the world to believe the BUK did not come from Russia but was captured in Donetsk. Maybe there was a change of plan/strategy. Maybe the BUK was initially needed near Donestk but was more needed in Snizhne.

      On the way back the BUK did not return on “midday” but in the early morning of July 18. There are some doubts about this Luhansk video. Was Luhansk area under control of Kiev forces at July 18? Maybe the closest border crossing was controlled by Kiev at July 18? Maybe the only suitable route for the BUK was via Luhansk and Izvarine which was under control of separatists.

      Reply
      • John Brennan

        Marcel I suspect from your writing that English is not your first language. You keep saying things happened for sure when you must mean they might have happened.

        1.You say the buk returned on the morning of the 18th but the truth is you don’t know that.
        2. You say the route was “chosen” but you don’t even know if that route really happened.

        You need to question the things you think you know that you don’t really know

        Reply
        • mx

          It’s very kind of you that you don’t question the fact that BUK launcher missing one missile was filmed in Lugansk )) . May I draw a conclusion that BellingCat failed to provide you with answers to your questions? So may we say good-bye to you and hope not to see you here again? ) .

          Reply
    • Hello

      Greg,

      if you want to hide a BUK Tellar Transport from covering by satellites as much as possible, which road do you take?

      1. a road over the open countryside where is not so much other traffic? where you can be hit by partisans ? Where you cant hide in halls? but where you have witnesses too? Where you have very bad roads?

      or

      2. you choose a way which is full of other traffic, where you can hide in halls etc., where it is much more safer for you beeing hit by partisans? Where the road is better and you can drive faster.

      I know the east ukrainian countryside. The roads away from the big roads are horrible and often you need more time to use the shorter way with bad roads, than the longer road with good quality.

      sorry for my bad english

      Regards

      Hello

      Reply
    • John Brennan

      The buk crossed the Ukraine border? Are you sure…what evidence is there of that?

      Reply
        • John Brennan

          Not really I just don’t believe unless there is actual evidence. I’ve seen the speculation, but that is all it is. It’s an hypothesis it’s not evidence

          Reply
    • Colinjames

      Speculation piled upon speculation based on presumption of guilt with absolutely nothing of substance to support it. Glad at least one person is here to challenge the nonsense.

      Reply
  4. John Zenwirt

    “sorry for my bad english”

    Your english is not bad. Thanks for your contribution.

    Reply
  5. Greg Rabinovich

    Manufacturing MH17 Evidence for Dummies

    MH17 lost contact ~50 km (31 mi) from the Ukraine-Russia border. The DSB report concluded that the air liner was downed by a Buk surface-to-air 9M38-series missile with 9N314M warhead. Ukraine has a number of these missiles stationed in the vicinity of the crash.. Furthermore, MH17 was flying eastward and could not be mistaken for invading Russian aircraft, indicating that the air liner was shot down in cold blood.

    You mission, should you choose to accept it, is to pin a Ukrainian war crime on Russia. Luckily for you, there was a Buk missile base in Donetsk prior to the uprising guaranteeing the existence of locally-filmed Buk photos and videos waiting to be discovered. Just dragging a 100 hryvnia bill through an impoverished Donbas village may yield a plethora of usable material. Once a Buk video is located, turning a Ukrainian Buk into a Russian one is a matter of changing the purported date the video was filmed on. It is that easy!

    The next step is to create a Google account under a Ukrainian-sounding name and upload a “Russian Buk” video to YouTube. Any last name ending with “enko”, as in “Poroshenko”, would do. About that first name…. “Ivan” may not sound authentic Ukrainian, but if you spend your days on a top floor of a foreign embassy looking down at restless natives carrying giant Down-syndrome ribbons – what kind of retards choose Down-syndrome colors for their national flag, anyway – and the only names that come to mind are “Ivan” and “Natasha”, I do not blame you. So, “Ivan Olifirenko” it is.

    Next, Ukrainian trolls @ war swing into action and perform geolocation revealing that the Buk convoy was headed eastward. Never mind that, judging by the convoy shadows’ size and direction, a video titled “17 July 2014 Russian Buk is transported out of Ukraine” shows a Buk transported westward around midday, hours before MH17 was shot down. What is really important is that the roundabout and billboard visible at the end of the video are a match. Plus, if you watch long and hard enough, you can almost see Putin himself smirking in the background!

    Now it is bellingcat’s turn to inject the “Russian Buk” video into the Western media space. Bellingcat investigates the video and finds “an interesting detail that provides further validity to the link to the previous videos are the escort vehicles that can be seen before and after the truck. Bellingcat has previously reported about the vehicles, and we can direct matches: there is a Toyota RAV4 in front of the truck, with a UAZ-469AZ and VW Transporter following it”. If the “interesting detail” proves anything, it is that earlier “Russian Buk” videos promoted by bellingcat are every bit as phony as the new one, but you already figured this out, did you not?

    Finally, the British mainstream media picks up bellingcat’s “research” and brings it to masses. Garbage in, news out. Mission accomplished!

    Reply
    • Kimmo Kannala

      Do you have any information of any Ukraine BUK unit on the 320km2 suspected launch area (mainly inside Torez-SaurMogila-Snizhne triangle), around 17Jul2014?

      Missile has come from inside that area, no other options exist for possible launch area, when BUK missile damage the cockpit like we seen on MH17.

      Reply
  6. David Baird

    Why was the BUK transporter coming from the west going east if it came from Russia? Somewhat of a circuitous route to take. It’s alleged final positioning was almost directly in line with the flightpath of MH370? This would seem deliberate. Why has this dash-cam video come out now after two years? Who keeps bad quality dash-cam video around? That makes no sense at all.

    Reply
    • Rick

      Your statement.. Truly is amazing.. I assume you are referring to MH17.. Not the ill fated Mh370.. Why do Russian Trolls like yourself keep throwing up useless information and ignore all relevant data presented. Your intent is truly to deflect for the actual fact the Mr Putin murdered 298 people because he was mad at Ukraine for leaving his orbit.. You need to present facts in this forum.. This is a place to discus facts.. Not your useless Russian Propaganda….

      Reply
      • Greg Rabinovich

        Hey, Rick,. speaking of relevant data. Could you provide a _verifiable_ date and time of a mythical Russian BUK sighting? I do not think so. because all those BUK sightings were recorded on Ukraine-controlled territory before the war.

        Reply
        • Rick

          I go by evidence.. unlike you as a Russian Troll who goes by what you are told to say.. You thoughts and opinions are not your own. You are paid, like all Russian Trolls to spread your disinformation, Deflect and general lie your butt off.. We will wait for the enquiry to vilify Putin for the murder of those 298 lives. Wait patiently my Russian Troll friend…. You will be doing damage control soon enough..

          Reply
          • stranger

            A Russian troll with the name Rabinivich? C’mon that’s pretty funny

          • Greg Rabinovich

            I confess: my real name is Grigory Ivanov and I suffer a delusion of grandeur.

          • stranger

            From the article, something contemporary:
            “Unbelievable, but Rabinovich suddenly re-appeared—and he looks so sad this time!” says one Muscovite to another. “Well, it’s understandable,” the second Muscovite replies. “When he first heard about Yanukovych’s plans to develop closer ties with the European Union earlier last year, he spent an enormous amount of money to buy himself a Ukrainian passport—together with a summer cottage in Crimea. But after all that, this week he’s been given a Russian passport again with pomp and circumstance!”

            I still think you are fooling us

      • David Baird

        Hi Rick. Thank you for raising the question. I typed in MH17, I repeat MH17, not MH370.
        As for being a Russian Troll, I’m British thank you.

        Reply

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