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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.

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  1. Alex Livesy

    Aside from the fact that it has not been proven that a missile was used to down MH17 all the hypothesis of it being a Russian owned BUK rests on one VERY poor photograph published in Paris Match magazine.
    Due to the fact that the photo was supposedly taken on the morning of the 17th, the day of the incident and yet was not published till the 29th, who’s to say that the photo wasn’t doctored to make it look like it bore the markings of a known Russian BUK?

  2. Alex Livesy

    Here is something to ponder.

    Using Google reverse image search, one of the sightings of the suspect BUK being transported on the stolen transporter (White Volvo with blue markings) reported by Ukrainian intelligence, states

    “Dmytro Tymczuk announced on Facebook that approx. 13.30 Sniżnego in the area reported the presence of the rebel column. “It consisted of three tanks, two BTR, truck with militants and truck with a machine gun high caliber. And also – Car Snow Equipment, and which was carried Buk system. Column followed towards Dmitrowki” (Google translated),2/tymczuk-kolumna-rebeliantow-pod-sniznem-samochod-z-laweta-a-na-niej-system-buk,450914.html

    This in fact appears to be possibly the first sighting of said truck reportedly seen, according to the article at 13:30 on the 17th, presumably Ukraine time (UTC + 2 hr), just over 2 hours after MH17’s last recorded flight data at 13:20 UTC.

    Bearing in mind that apart from packing the missile system ready to move, it would probably take at least an hour to load and secure on the trailer, whoever took the photo was sure lucky to catch that sighting so quickly and was probably close enough to see them fire the missile.

    Something else I found odd is the fact that Dmytro Tymczuk of “Information Resistance” (Informacyjny Opór in the article) seems to figure mostly in Polish results on Google although he appears to be a Russian speaker on his facebook page, indeed the linked TVN24 news site is Polish, quite a scoop to be able to publish that picture at 19:51 Polish time (UTC + 1hr), less than six hours after the attack.


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