the home of online investigations

New Google Earth Satellite Update Confirms Presence of Buk in Eastern Ukraine

June 22, 2016

By Bellingcat Investigation Team

Translations: Русский

Today, Google Earth updated its historical satellite imagery to include Donetsk and Makiivka at 11:08am (local time) on July 17, 2014, the day of the downing of Flight MH17. Bellingcat has previously purchased portions of this image, with the Digital Globe catalog ID of 105041001104D000, to show that the Russian Ministry of Defense had doctored its MH17 evidence, and to search for the Buk on the H21 highway between Donetsk and Torez. Unfortunately, we did not purchase the segment of the image that showed the Buk and the Volvo truck hauling it, as the convoy took a south-bound detour through Makiivka before re-entering H21. With the new imagery update, we now have confirmation of the authenticity of a recent dash-cam video showing the Buk and its convoy in Makiivka.

A portion of this satellite image was previously published by the U.S.-based private intelligence company Stratfor, which focused on the Buk and the Volvo truck hauling it.

buk-air-defense-mh17

The updated Google Earth imagery provides this portion of the satellite image, along with other parts that allow us to further confirm the authenticity of the Makiivka dash-cam video. The Buk is located at 48.020433, 37.990787 on the image, just south and east of a car wash and tire shop. This location is the same place that the car turned left on in the beginning of the Makiivka dash-cam video. Behind the convoy, we find a UAZ-469 jeep, a Volkswagen van, and a white SUV. All three of these vehicles can be seen in the satellite image, though the jeep and van are harder to spot. The white SUV, lagging a bit behind the convoy, is the easiest to identify. In the image, the UAZ-469 and VW van are either overtaking the Volvo and Buk, or blocking the left lane in traffic, in line with behavior of these two vehicles in a convoy filmed two days before the MH17 downing along the same road.

DG_17-7-2014_Makiivka1

It is difficult to discern the details on the Volvo and Buk, but the shadow cast by the Buk is a match to the Makiivka dash-cam video, especially compared to the much smaller UAZ-469 jeep:

DG_17-7-2014_Makiivka3

After driving past the Buk and its convoy, the Makiivka dash-cam driver passes a gas station, where a few cars are parked. These cars are visible in the satellite image, and easily identifiable by their diagonal parking angle.

DG_17-7-2014_Makiivka4c

With the updated satellite imagery, there is yet more confirmation that separatist forces transported a Buk from Donetsk to Snizhne in eastern Ukraine on the day of the downing of Flight MH17.

Bellingcat Investigation Team

The Bellingcat Investigation Team is an award winning group of volunteers and full time investigators who make up the core of the Bellingcat's investigative efforts.

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.

537 Comments

    • Andrea

      #1 who the hell is the “detective” in the video?
      #2 he fails to understand that the video was edited with a simple software whose name is visible in a big watermark at the center of the screen…
      #3 pick the video from july 15th shot in the same location… quality is also bad…
      #3 pick this july 15th video… it’s shot from distance… but you can see that bush… and even if saturation and ambient light are totally different… some brighter areas are visible in the bush…
      #4 It’s actually totally possible that the same flower grows in different ways on different areas and that its blossoming period is different from year to year…
      #5 if makeevka video is indeed from an older date… as i asked many times… how’s the chance that so many details perfectly fits on july 17th and a month earlier? (gas prices, truck, time of the day, escorting vehicles…)

      Reply
      • denis cashcov

        The commentator is former diplomat and British citizen Bruce grant.
        He knows the video has been edited and mentions this.
        Do you have full list of what prices were up on what dates?

        Reply
        • denis cashcov

          Gas prices are apparently from July 11-17. I am unable to post the link though. Not sure why.

          Reply
          • denis cashcov

            Weather apparently fits July 11 or July 14. No tank tracks indicate July 15 or earlier. Which means these strands of evidence converge on July 14 or July 11 for the Maviivka video

    • Mice

      Liars was given a lilac Bush, one of the varieties which bloom before the end of July, for the elder Bush. The elder no cone-shaped flowers, as in the video.

      Reply
  1. denis cashcov

    Makiivka video shot in late May or early June. Not on July 17.
    Google and Stratfor now show themselves complicit in the MH17 deception. Thta’s big!!

    Reply
      • Greg Rabinovich

        The burden of proof is on those who try to introduce this crude forgery into evidence.

        “The party proposing video surveillance footage in court must ascertain how the video was recorded, what influence the recording process had on the documented video, whether the transporting of the video deposition compromised the reliability of the footage and if all important video has been acquired of the episode in question. Consequently, video evidence must be above-board in order to gain credibility in court.”

        Can you prove that the video was a) filmed on July 17, 2014 and b) not modified thereafter? No? Next!

        Reply
        • denis cashcov

          Does that apply to the videos Bellingcat uses too…or only that one.
          Bellingcat is supposed to be “open source”, nearly everything is uses is unverified.
          But that is what we are left with when America refuses to release it’s evidence.

          Reply
          • KimmoKannala

            To me it seems US has released all it has. Not possible to do more.
            No need for US evidence, only propaganda dudes nag about it.

            Hard facts prove missile was launched from rebel territory.
            We know for sure a rebel controlled low-loader moved BUK launcher around ATO zone in July.

            What is needed to know is who launched the missile and why against MH17.
            The rest is just waste of resources and it’s helping the murderer.

            https://twitter.com/KimmoKannala/status/653612941598662656

          • Dissident voice

            KimmoKannala:

            Just reiterating crap is not making a case. The questions stated are valid. The evidence you are mentioning are only strong on a propaganda level. Forensically they are worthless.

            The hard facts from your image – Buk with proximity fuse cannot detonate on the left of the plane when fired form a certain azimuth? – cannot be corroborated. Even the DSB expands the area, which says enough.

            The Buk trail is an invention played out on assumption about a same date origin, which cannot be corroborated either. The Snizhne video can’t be dated with certainty, the Snizhne Karapetyan picture is made on a later time than this video anyway.

            The Bellingcat/Ukrain-at-war/Oliphant field has been debunked by hard science from Micha Kobs. No witness points in that direction either, the few who interpreted they saw something like a missile pointed to the south. Moreover, they said the missile flew over them, making a very weird backwards curveball via Red October towards the site of impact.

            Actually there is nothing to support your trolling. Last questions I sustain though. Maybe ask the ukrainians about the whereabouts of their 1st and 2nd battalion launchers would clarify something.

      • Dmitry

        Watch the first video on that channel and you will doubt that this website is reliable, as it’s likely those videos were older or probably faked on purpose.

        Reply
      • Dmitry

        Probably you remember that you wanted to convince me that video was the confirmation of that buk which shot MH17. It’s even more doubtful right now that the videos/photos/satellite images are up to date and they cannot be forged in any way or remastered by somebody.
        We cannot rely on any Internet resource because it’s completely unreliable and unverifiable. That first video on the channel MH17 Inquiry is more reliable than this entire article.

        Reply
      • Dmitry

        Watch also the video shot on the 17 June a little bit lower which was published by CH – July 10, 2016 with the phrase “No botanical opinion here, but check the bush center screen at…”
        The bushes are blossoming and they will not blossom on the 17 July but we cannot be sure that the video was shot even earlier that date, so it’s likely that the second video of MH17 Inquiry is right but it’s not completely right. The first video is more reliable I think and it’s enough to understand that Stratfor information can be the outright lie.

        Reply
      • oui oui

        yes , it shows that a kind of bushes are in flowers the 15 july , that the tanks don’t distroy the road and that there are crazy in Russia who can spread their delirium on a wide scale .
        Now , in the dashcam video , it can be the sun on leaves as the “flowers” change with the position of the camera , a kind of laurel

        Reply
      • Dmitry

        The video was published on the 17 june, not july ! So, it confirms that the blossoming must disappear later but we can’t be sure that the video was shot even earlier.

        Reply
  2. denis cashcov

    America won’t release the information that could solve this mystery.
    And so we have to rely on amateur internet people.
    https://consortiumnews.com/2016/01/15/mh-17s-unnecessary-mystery/
    “But the intelligence source who spoke to me several times after he received additional briefings about advances in the investigation said that as the U.S. analysts gained more insights into the MH-17 shoot-down from technical and other sources, they came to believe the attack was carried out by a rogue element of the Ukrainian military with ties to a hard-line Ukrainian oligarch. [See, for instance, Consortiumnews.com’s “Flight 17 Shoot-Down Scenario Shifts” and “The Danger of an MH-17 Cold Case.”]”

    Reply
    • John Zenwirt

      From St. Petersburg troll (laughable Soviet PR, owned by Russia media.) link above:

      “the (MH17) attack was willful provocation designed to be blamed on the Russians.”

      Dementia via mentally-unsound statements, psychological insecurity of Russians….

      More obfuscations & lying…

      Reply
      • Mad Dog

        you gotta be kidding. All this evidence pointing at Russia and still the Russians come up with this conspiracy theory. Prove it! Must have been the Templars behind all the doctored evidence with help from the hand of god.

        Reply
        • John Zenwirt

          MFA’s Peskov says Aliens from Planet Ork are fully responsible for such tragedy…

          Reply
        • stranger

          What evidences? You are shown some Buk, and numerous unimportant details. Where is the relation of this particular Buk to the Boeing? Where are the evidences on the Buk crew? There should be an official investigation, a court, and the conclusion confirmed by facts made publically available. But everybody already ‘knows’ and blame Russia for that, sanctions has already been applied, and nobody cares to prove.

          Reply
          • Mad Dog

            Where have you been stranger. I thought you were a bit more sophisticated in your approach, but all of these ‘unimportant’ (sic) details added up with the other important details really point the finger at Russia. You call for an official investigation, but there already has been one, you call for a court, but I am afraid folks like you would only be happy if the court was held in Russia (land of the free). The facts are publicly available and no matter how hard you try to divert the conversation from discussing what is presented here (why all these coincidences don’t point to a Buk being transported to the firing area). Blanket condemnation is not sophisticated. Even when it comes to Russia.

        • stranger

          And if you wish s tribunal, include Ukrainian army and neo na3i battalions as well for killing of the other 9700 victims in Donbas besides the Boeing.

          Reply
  3. John Zenwirt

    The Canadian mission to train Ukrainian troops, known as Operation Unifier, began last fall when 200 soldiers from the Royal Canadian Regiment arrived near the city of Lviv in the far west of Ukraine. The effort has been criticized as “deplorable” by the Russian Embassy in Ottawa, since Canadian-trained units have subsequently fought on the front lines of the war in Donetsk and Lugansk.

    Our “Special Operators” are there; the uber-Commandos, Joint Task Force II.

    No power on this earth can stop them, no one would even try….Our guys help out to kill lots of so-called “Separatists”….

    Reply
  4. Dmitry

    Are you serious??? At the same place there were a lot of cars or tracks which could be shot and they would be similar to the position.

    Reply
    • Babylon Slim

      Why does it appear that Russia is spoiling for a fight? Perhaps they really never stopped. In any case, as much as I deplore the idea, it seems that the world is itching for a grand dust up.
      These kind of wars are needed from time to time I guess to cleanse the bad blood. It breaks my heart to say, humanity has not evolved much emotionally since the 1500s. Sad really.

      Reply

Leave a Reply

  • (will not be published)