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How the Dutch Safety Board Proved Russia Faked MH17 Evidence

October 15, 2015

By Eliot Higgins

With the release of the Dutch Safety Board report into the downing of Flight MH17 it is now possible to compare the evidence gathered by the Dutch Safety Board with claims made by the Russian Ministry of Defence in their July 21st 2014 press conference on the downing of Flight MH17. In Bellingcat’s “Russia’s Colin Powell Moment – How the Russian Government’s MH17 Lies Were Exposed” four claims made by the Russian Ministry of Defence during the press conference were examined and shown to either be lies, fabrications, or both. While the Dutch Safety Board report does not cover all aspects of the Russian Ministry of Defence’s July 21st press conference it was still possible to compare the Dutch Safety Board’s conclusions to some of the claims made by the Russian Ministry of Defence.

MH17’s Flight Path

One of the Russian Ministry of Defence’s key claims was that MH17 had been redirected out of its flight corridor, making a significant turn clearly visible on the image they presented of MH17’s flight path, shown below:


Data from the preliminary Dutch Safety Board report published on September 9th 2014 showed that this claimed flight path was a fabrication, with the following comparison created by Bellingcat clearly showing the difference between the Russian Ministry of Defence claim and the Dutch Safety Board’s findings in their preliminary report:

The below map is from the final Dutch Safety Board report showing the route of Flight MH17, which confirms the route published in the preliminary Dutch Safety Board report:

MH17 Route

This is final confirmation that the Russian Ministry of Defence presented a fake map of Flight MH17’s flight path in their July 21st 2014 press conference, and lied about the flight path during the press conference.

The Ukrainian SU-25 and Radar Data

The Russian Ministry of Defence presented the following image, which they claimed represented aircraft in the area at the time:


The Russian Ministry of Defence then stated the following:

At that time there were 3 civilian aircrafts:

Flight from Copenhagen to Singapore at 17.17;

Flight from Paris to Taipei at 17.24

Flight from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur. Besides it, Russian system of air control detected the Ukrainian Air Force aircraft, purposed Su-25, moving upwards toward to the Malaysian Boeing-777. The distance between aircrafts was 3-5 kilometers.

The Russian Ministry of Defence also presented a video of what it claimed was radar data showing aircraft in the sky at the time:

They then stated the following:

At 17.20 P.M. at the distance of 51 kilometers from the Russian Federation state boundary and the azimuth of 300 degrees the aircraft started to lose its speed obstructively which is quite distinctively to be seen on the table of the aircraft characteristics. At 17.21 35 seconds P.M. with the aircraft speed of 200 km/h at the point of the Boeing crash there is a new mark of the aircraft to be seen. The aircraft was steadily monitored by radar stations of Ust-Donetsk and Butirinskoe during 4 minutes period. Air control officer having enquired the characteristics of newly appeared aircraft couldn’t possibly get them because it is in all likelihood that the aircraft had no secondary deduction system amounted on it, which is put typically for military aircraft. The early detection of this aircraft appeared to be quite impossible because the air situation control is usually performed by radars working in a standby mode which detection possibilities at the given distance are over 5000 m altitude.

As part of the Dutch Safety Board investigation radar data was requested from Ukraine and Russia, with the results of the requests detailed in section 2.9.5 of the report:

Radar Data table

Russia was unable to provide any of their raw or process data, only providing a video of the radar screen showing what they claimed was processed primary and secondary data. The Dutch Safety Board states in section

Radar russia

Russia claims its data retention policies resulted in the data not being stored, and this is examined in detail in section of the report. Regardless of regulations, and whether or not Russian followed them, it seems extremely odd that a few days after the downing of Flight MH17 Russian would use this data as part of its MH17 press conference, but not save a copy of the data for the Dutch Safety Board investigation, or the criminal investigation.

However, based on the information presented by Ukraine and Russia the Dutch Safety Board was able to come to a conclusion about other aircraft in the air at the time MH17 was shot down. In section 3.4.2 it referenced the second object that appeared on the radar, identified as an aircraft by the Russian Ministry of Defence:


The Dutch Safety Board made the following conclusions on the presence of other aeroplanes near Flight MH17 in section 10.2:

DSB Conclusion

In conclusion, it is clear to see that the claims of the Russian Ministry of Defence of an SU-25, or other military jet, close to MH17 were totally false, and they purposely misread radar data (also examined by other experts who came to the same conclusion as the Dutch Safety Board) to support their false claim a military jet was near to Flight MH17.

In addition to the above claims made by the Russian Ministry of Defence in their July 21st press conference it has been previously possible to prove the Russian Ministry of Defence lied about three other key claims, detailed here. It is now clearer than ever that the Russian Ministry of Defence’s reaction to the downing of Flight MH17 was to create lies and fabrications and present them to the world, only days after Flight MH17 was shot down, killing 298 people.


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. Randy Dread

    as stated earlier, go there, drive something under the bridge the height of the truck, Buk and missiles, and then take photos of your stuck vehicle and put them online before the police arrest you.

    then we’ll know for sure if its wise to drive something higher than 4.5 metres under that bridge.

    • Andrea

      I don’t have to do that cause i don’t belive that bridge blocked BUK’s transit, you are the one that thinks so….

      And even if you think so you have no way to prove it !

    • Andrea

      I’ll be arrested?
      because i’m doing something illegal?
      Or because i should be on my way to debunk their stories?

      You think this would happen if they have nothing to hide ?

      • Randy Dread

        yes you will be doing something illegal if you drive something too big for the bridge underneath it.

        what dont you understand about that?

        not to worry. if you get sent to Siberia you can say hello to lots of your Italian fascists you love so much who attacked the Soviet Union.

        you’ll have to dig them up first of course.

        • Andrea

          Where in the world a man gets arrested for something like this?
          And maybe be life sentenced…LOL

          But who said it’s too big? your friend in the video…a man without any signature and thus zero credibility….

    • boggled

      If you look up Max on Twitter, he just recently did a stint on NovorossiyaTV that shows his acting ability.
      About a 15 minute clip of him trying to portray himself as a guy just trying to find the truth.
      Interesting but not a lot there.
      In my book he has about as much credibility as the Russian MoD.

      Fare thee well

  2. T

    We never saw those reports or experiments. For what I know, they could have not even happened or could have been completely fabricated. NONE of us knows. But I know this. On the day M17 was hit, the “rebels” were posting all over the Facebook joyous reports about gunning down a large military Ukrainian aircraft right in the area where MH17 fell right around that time. Just like they had done in the preceding few days. The Russian TV happily reported the news about yet another “victory” of the “rebels.” Then about an hour later, those Facebook posts disappeared and the story on TV changed all of a sudden. We may argue about whether the BUK crue were active or retired military, whether it was a direct order from Kremlin or improvisation on the site, intentional or an error. But please stop bringing up the SU-25 or other non-sense.

    • Randy Dread

      common myth.

      the rebels posted nothing officially.

      some people posted on the internet after hearing about the shootdown. it means nothing.

      • boggled

        not nothing Randy as you well know.
        Social media posts are admissible evidence in court.
        Much of the evidence needs to be tested first by the prosecutor to decide to bring it up and then by the judge in court.
        AS any court case, the judge makes the decision, not you Randy.

        Although much of this would be considered supporting evidence, it usually falls under the case of circumstantial evidence.
        Some of it can actually be considered with more weight then that if the hudge or jury so declares.

        The terrorists are not an official recognized group at that time, so the only thing to gather from them are unofficial posts by random terrorists.

        There is enough to cook all their eggs in one basket Randy and you know it.

        Fare thee well

  3. Humpty

    The problem of the Internet is, there are too many ppl like you that base their facts on all the baloney posted by mainstream media, and have a one track mind. You should be blogging about how your younger brother or sister through down your Lego castle!! In Spanish we clearly say: No eres mas que un fantasma!!!

    • Andrea

      Exactly, Randy keeps criticizing everything written on this site (where they put sources) but can’t show anyone some sources supporting his claims…

      Is called Trolling 😉

      And it seems to be a pretty good job down in St Petersburg 😉

  4. Greg Zabrisky

    don’t worry Eliot, we know then you are the best 😉
    sincerely yours
    Greg Zabrisky

  5. stranger

    Wait… How do they know ‘there were no any other aircrafts’? They have the radar data provide by Ukranian and Russian sides.

    Did you notice Ukraine didn’t provide the Primary radar data, but only Secondary radar one (sec 2.9.5) which is not a radar at all – it is a receiver of plane transmitted data. Because Ukrainian primary civil radar as well as their military primary one were ‘not operational at the moment of crush due to scheduled maintenance’ (sec Do you believe it? Ok let’s assume. But the secondary ‘radar’ cannot show any planes which have no transmitter turned on, all military planes don’t. Secondary radar can see only commercial airplanes and actually displays the position and altitude data they transmit (or am i wrong here?).

    Russian radars according to the Ministry of defense were located too far away and since civil radars are above horizon, could not seen objects located lower than several km altitude. That sounds reasonable. Ministry of Defense called visible debris as ‘supposedly su 25 which increased altitude after the crush’ intentionally? may be, may be they saw the planning down fuselage. They asked Ukranian side to open their radar data which has never been done.

    • boggled

      Yup your slightly wrong in your statement =
      ➡ ‘But the secondary ‘radar’ cannot show any planes which have no transmitter turned on, all military planes don’t. Secondary radar can see only commercial airplanes and actually displays the position and altitude data they transmit (or am i wrong here?).’

      A basic tutorial of secondary radar can be found here –

      in which it states – ‘Additional SSR (edit me – Secondary Surveillance Radar) Modes are used by military aircraft.’

      Military aircraft can be identified through squawk codes that they can broadcast for use inside their nation to prevent accidents.

      Yes, military can turn those off so no type of radar other then Primary can pick them up.
      However many times they are turned on when flying around airports.
      Mariupol would have been in that region watching, and they did not report anything on PSR or SSR military contacts on July 17.

      No evidence, no military craft.
      If you or the Kremlin have evidence your welcome to provide it, however until there is, there were no other planes within 30 km of MH17, military or civilian.
      Just a ASSumption by the previously caught lying and fabricating Russian MoD.

      You state –
      ➡ ‘Ukranian side to open their radar data which has never been done’
      Didn’t you read above or the report?

      ➡ Ukraine produced 4 types of radar data for the DSB.

      Russia only produce one, a video clip from a MoD presentation on their Kremlin sponsored media.
      There are a lot more technical articles about ATC monitoring, I suggest you read a few.

      Fare thee well

  6. Mad Dog

    Man, Randy really tries to run silly things like this into the ground. The side road looks perfectly passable and I don’t understand this silliness about trees growing in the road. No indication of that at all, but there are indications of heavy traffic at times, including over the rail tracks. So, why all this other silliness about not being able to cross the tracks. The road on both sides shows use up to and over the tracks. Maybe Randy lost his bifocals, but this is really silly (three times I used the term…LOL)

  7. Susan O'Neill

    According to the official Ukrainian data, June 17, 2014, at the mentioned time two regular international flights were operating over the territory of Ukraine following the filed requests for aircraft clearance – MAS17 plane of the Malaysia Airlines and AFL-2074 one of Aeroflot.
    The routes of the mentioned international flights were approaching the sky over Donetsk. At 16:09 in the area of Novomykolaivka town the routes of the mentioned flights crossed. It is worth noting that the flight specifications of the aircrafts were almost identical – the Malaysian aircraft flew at a height of 10,100 m at a speed 909 km/h, while the Russian one – at a height of 10,600 m at a speed 768 km/h.
    At 16:20 from the area of ‘Pervomaiske’ village, north-east from Donetsk, near the town of Torez, terrorists shot down the Malaysian jet, which then crashed near Grabove, Donetsk region. From the West Ukraine “Security Services” 07 Aug. 2014

  8. Maksym Ponomarenko

    the damage to the aircraft shows the missile came from the side not head on. This can’t be changed. The Ukrainians shot down the plane

  9. Maksym Ponomarenko

    I’m not sure what Bellingcat think they are proving.
    Almaz Antey have already demonstrated that the missile came from Zaroshchenskoye.
    The damage on the plane is there for anyone to see despite the coverup from NATO

    • boggled

      Are you and A-A looking at another plane’s damage?
      Sorry, but the damage is consistent with a near head on collision.
      Not a SU25.
      You are right Maksym, everyone can see it.
      And when they do, it exposes you (and your other Kremlin defenders, as a flat out fiction story authors.

      Fare thee well


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