Crowdsourced Investigation - Was the MH17 Linked Buk Sighted in Ukraine and Russia Unique?

On September 8th Bellingcat revealed images and videos posted on social media sites that showed a Buk missile launcher inside Russia with markings that matched those markings seen on the Buk missile launcher linked to the downing of flight MH17 on July 17th.

Part of the investigation involved reviewing footage and photographs of Buk missile launchers sighted in both Ukraine and Russia looking for any other Buk missile launchers that may have had similar markings. During this research we were unable to find markings that matched the Buk seen in both Ukraine and Russia that was linked to the downing of MH17. It also showed that the inconsistent nature of markings on Russian Buks would suggest that the markings were likely to be unique to that Buk.

Paris Match Buk Comparison 1

On the left: the Buk in a column of Russian military vehicles seen on the evening on the 23rd of June on the motorway from Staryy Oskol to the OEMK steel works in the Belgorod area. [Source] On the Right: Image from Paris Match. [Source]

Left: Same Paris Match image as above. On the right: image from a video taken near the Magnit store in Alexeyevka on the 24th of June. [Source]

Left: Same Paris Match image as above. On the right: image from a video taken near the Magnit store in Alexeyevka on the 24th of June. [Source]

On the left: an image from a video widely spread in the wake of the MH17 tragedy. [Source]. On the right: another unpublicised video from around Staryy Oskol uploaded on the 23rd of June. [Source].

On the left: an image from a video widely spread in the wake of the MH17 tragedy. [Source]. On the right: another unpublicised video from around Staryy Oskol uploaded on the 23rd of June. [Source].

However, in the interest of thoroughness and openness, we are now creating a crowdsourced investigation of Russian and Ukrainian Buks using Meedan’s Checkdesk. Bellingcat readers are invited to help find images of Buks in Ukraine and Russia so we can have the best idea of what markings are visible on Buk missiles launchers used by both countries, and find other potential matches to the Buk linked to the downing of MH17.

Here’s a couple of examples of what we’re looking at

We invite Bellingcat readers to contribute to the investigation by visiting Bellingcat’s Checkdesk, and contributing links to images of Buk missile launchers in Ukraine and Russia, or to comment below.

This is a great opportunity to use crowdsourced investigation to verify claims made by Bellingcat that the Buk missile launcher that was used to down MH17 came from Russia, so we hope you all join us on this investigation.