the home of online investigations

Video Comparison Confirms the Buk Linked to the Downing of MH17 Came From Russia

September 24, 2014

By Eliot Higgins

Earlier this week we examined photographs and videos of a Buk missile launcher recorded in Russia in June 2014 that appeared to match the Buk photographed and filmed on July 17th in Ukraine travelling through rebel held territory that has been linked to the down of MH17. One photograph from Paris Match showed markings and damage on the side of the Buk missile launcher in Ukraine that appeared to match the markings on damage to the Buk missile launcher recorded in Russia.

So a huge thanks to Timmi Allen who has created the following video that compares the Paris Match photograph to images of the Buk missile launcher filmed in Russia, that shows that damage and the markings (those that haven’t been painted over) are a perfect match.

Based on this it would seem undeniable the two missile launchers are the same vehicle, confirming Russia supplied the the Buk linked to the downing of MH17, and as our previous work has shown, that it was likely supplied by the the 53rd Zrbr “Buk” brigade which is based in Kursk.

Eliot Higgins

Eliot Higgins is the founder of Bellingcat and the Brown Moses Blog. Eliot focuses on the weapons used in the conflict in Syria, and open source investigation tools and techniques.

Join the Bellingcat Mailing List:

Enter your email address to receive a weekly digest of Bellingcat posts, links to open source research articles, and more.

Support Bellingcat

You can support the work of Bellingcat by donating through the below link:

29 Comments

  1. Asdef Ghjk

    Great job, but the video is definitely too short. The viewer needs to replay it several times over. Either do more loops or do a two-image comparison on some website where the user can move the slider left and right.

    Reply
  2. Mark Brown

    since I found this damage, I have overlaid a grid to examine the damaged side skirt. I have posted these on my twitter. this video just confirms what I originally found, this is a perfect match on both “BUKs” iv gone over this square by square on my gridded photos, and taking into account the first photo from the convoy seen in Russia is taken from a direct view of the side, and the 2nd photo a still from the Paris Match video is taken at an angle around 27 to 34 degrees. Some theories to debunk the damage as been said it could have been made to look like the BUK in pic 1 ‘by using a hammer to damage the track side skirt’ would be extremely difficult to copy. The fact now as to be accepted that the numbers and unit marking all line up and match in both photos. with the added photos of the damage to the track side skirt that then match up, not only in both photos but also match up with the numbers and unit markings.; The extra video showing the 2 matching now adds further proof to this fact.

    Reply
    • Shingo

      ” Some theories to debunk the damage as been said it could have been made to look like the BUK in pic 1 ‘by using a hammer to damage the track side skirt’ would be extremely difficult to copy. ”

      Not when you consider how low res and degraded the images you are comparing. What’s more, if a BUK had been moved in and out of rebel territory from Russia, the Americans would have it on satellite imagery. They clearly have zip.

      Reply
  3. Angela

    “Buk linked to the downing of mh17…” Linked by whom, for Gods sake?
    Pls provide a proof for the link, if you want to be taken seriously.
    At the best, you claim to proof, that there was a buk driving around on june 17, which might come from a russian unit.
    I am saying this, because on an other article you say that photos claim to show civilians killed by us attack, although there are several pieces of us weapons around.
    The title should be “us cruise missile linked to the death of civilians”.

    Reply
    • Shingo

      “Linked by whom, for Gods sake?”

      Bingo. They still have no proof that a BUK was even involved in the downing of MH17, so how on earth can they claim to know which BUK launcher did it?

      “Pls provide a proof for the link, if you want to be taken seriously.”

      Who needs proof when you are preaching to an echo chamber who have already made up their mind?

      “At the best, you claim to proof, that there was a buk driving around on june 17, which might come from a russian unit.”

      Amazing isn’t it, considering that the Ukrainian military had at least a dozen which were also driving around.

      Reply
  4. Savely

    Simple Q: Why Western investigators keep results of investigation at secret? Why Russia repeatedly rise a question about need to disclose info about shooting down plane at UN?

    Answear is simple: it was U.S. intelligence provocation against Russia. That’s why all western outlets start blame Russia without any (to this day by the way) evidence. Blatant baseless propaganda.

    Reply
    • bellingcatadmin

      Shame their entire argument falls apart when you point out the holes in the cabin floor show whatever entered it was coming from above, not below as they suggest in their wacky theories.

      Reply
      • Shingo

        bellingcatadmin,

        What evidence shows the holes came from above?

        What theory claims the attack came from below?

        How do you explain the fact that the OSCE observers on the scene said there was entry holes from high calibre bullets, but no sign of missile damage?

        Reply
        • bellingcatadmin

          As this picture from the Dutch investigators report shows the floor of the flight deck had downward facing holes, and all of different shapes and sizes.

          Reply
          • Shingo

            “As this picture from the Dutch investigators report shows the floor of the flight deck had downward facing holes”

            Sorry, you are going to have to provide those links.

          • Chris1

            Not that Shingo or his Team G handlers care, but for the sake of anyone who isn’t a useful idiot/paid troll, from the Dutch Safety Board’s report:
            http://www.onderzoeksraad.nl/uploads/phase-docs/701/b3923acad0ceprem-rapport-mh-17-en-interactief.pdf

            Page 24: “Around 1.7km north of the position where the cockpit window was found, was a section of the cockpit roof showing holes indicating penetration from outside. (figure 9)”

            Page 25: “Puncture holes identified in images of the cockpit floor suggested that small objects entered from above the level of the cockpit floor (figure 10).”

            Small objects =/= 30mm rounds.

          • Shingo

            “who isn’t a useful idiot/paid troll, from the Dutch Safety Board’s report”

            I already read it. The report does not state that MH17 was hit by a missile, but by high energy projectiles, which could mean both shrapnel or machine gun fire.

            “Page 24: “Around 1.7km north of the position where the cockpit window was found, was a section of the cockpit roof showing holes indicating penetration from outside. (figure 9)”
            Which is exactly what one would expect from 30mm canon shells fired from an Su25. Where else would a machine gun attack emanate from but from the outside?
            “Page 25: “Puncture holes identified in images of the cockpit floor suggested that small objects entered from above the level of the cockpit floor (figure 10).”

            Which is exactly what one would expect from 30mm canon shells fired from an Su25.

            Small objects does indeed = 30mm rounds. Had it been shrapnel from a missile detonated adjacent to the plane, the holes would have been spread over a much larger area of the plane than just the cockpit and been far less uniform.

  5. Shingo

    There is no video evidence of any BUK launcher in rebel held territory. The video claimed to have been taken in rebel held territory was actually taken from Ukrainian territory. The footage and stills of the BUK launcher being launcher turns out to have actually been taken in a Ukrainian held town of Krasnoarmeisk, West of rebel held territory.

    In fact, the billboard is supposedly visible in the video footage is an advertisement for a a Krasnoarmeisk car dealership.

    The town is 120 kilometers from the Russian border and 80 kilometers from where the Malaysian 777 went down and had been under Kiev’s control since May.

    Reply
    • bellingcatadmin

      Yeah, we debunked that already, Russia was lying when they claimed it was in Krasnoarmeisk,we explain it here.

      Reply
      • Shingo

        Sorry but you might have debunked it in your own mind. It wasn’t Russia who claimed it was Krasnoarmeisk, it was Ukranianians living in Ukraine and the US, who recognized the billboard.

        Nice try though.

        Reply
  6. Angela

    Bellingcatadmin,
    Pls share with us the information, on the basis of which facts you are writing again and again ” buk linked to mh17″.

    As far as I know, there is no proof (yet?) that mh17 was shot down by buk.

    Reply
    • Shingo

      “Pls share with us the information, on the basis of which facts you are writing again and again ” buk linked to mh17”

      +1

      Amazing isn’t it, how this entire hypothesis is based on one unproven assumption based on another umproven assumption? That is a missile launched from a BUK that allegedly brought down MH17, when there has been no proof that a missile brought down the plane, much less one fired from that a BUK launcher that was allegedly identified. No one has even identified who identified it and on what basis..

      I would also like to know how the penetration holes in the floor of the cockpit prove they were cause by a missile and not machine gun fire. After all this would have to exclude the initial hypothesis of an alleged ground to air missile, that would have come from below, and fits better with that of machine gun fire from a plane firing small projectiles mainly from above and to the left of the plane.

      The regions of the penetration holes pretty much destroys the theory that this was caused by a missile.
      https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/-I1n3OIHhoK0/U9hV0FnsDLI/AAAAAAAAYbw/6P_N6OtZ-ZM/w613-h617-no/MH17_Cockpit.jpg

      1. The holes are largely concentrated around the left below window of the cockpit and they are all small. This adds weight to the thesis that the pilot and crew were targeted.

      2. There is no way shrapnel from a fuse detonated missile adjacent to the plane could have created such a pattern. The damage would have been spread over a large area, and certainly the entire front of the plane would have been riddled with holes.

      3. While there are indeed shaped charges, as far as I am aware, there is no such thing a warhead that explodes i in one specific direction.

      Lastly, the variation in the size of the holes does not refute the machine gun hypothesis either. It is widely known that the machine guns on the Su25 are loaded with a mixture of armor penetrating rounds (that maintain their shape) and dum-dum shells that shatter on impact. One thing is certain. There is no way that shrapnel from a missile would have created such round a uniform holes like these.
      http://www.les-crises.fr/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/mitraillage-2.jpg

      Reply

Leave a Reply

  • (will not be published)