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The Russian Defence Ministry Presents Evidence They Faked Their Previous MH17 Evidence

September 26, 2016

By Eliot Higgins

Translations: Русский

On July 21st 2014 the Russian Defence Ministry presented their evidence relating to the downing of Flight MH17 on July 17th 2014. Bellingcat has previously examined the claims made in this press conference in great detail, demonstrating how all the major claims made in the press conference were false, from claims about satellite imagery to claims about the movements of Buk missile launchers.

Today, the Russian Defence Ministry produced fresh radar data, supposedly previously misplaced, that showed the situation above Ukraine on July 17th 2014. In this presentation MH17 was identified and tracked from 13:04 onwards:

On July 21st 2014 the Russian Defence Ministry produced the following graphic, claiming the following: “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.”


They would also go on to claim that shortly after MH17 began to break up an object appeared on radar that they identified as an aircraft close to MH17.

In today’s press conference the story had changed completely. No longer was the Russian Defence Ministry talking about SU-25s, but now there was in fact no other aircraft, or any other object close to MH17. Now we have the Russian Defence Ministry themselves confirming Bellingcat’s earlier work that demonstrated they had produced false evidence at their July 21st 2014 MH17 press conference.

In addition to this, during today’s press conference the radar data showed the flight path of MH17 in the time before it was shot down:


This flight path clearly contradicts the Russian Defence Ministry’s July 21st 2014 claims, debunked by Bellingcat and others, that MH17 had made a significant course change shortly before being shot down:


It’s now clear that on July 21st 2014, only a few days after 298 were killed in Ukraine, the Russian Defence Ministry presented to the world a series of clearly fabricated evidence and claims, and even the Russian Defence Ministry’s own evidence proves that is the case.


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. CFL68

    You admit Russian forces are in Ukraine.

    “Pullout of all foreign armed formations, military equipment, and also mercenaries from the territory of Ukraine under OSCE supervision. Disarmament of all illegal groups.”

    Keep on with your disingenuous misdirections and lies. You just expose shallow and cynical Russian policy for all to see.

    Keep in mind that an extensive database is being established of all Russians identified fighting in Ukraine. Its a new age of technology and the world is much smaller than you imagine.

    Just because you deny facts does not mean you will not be held accountable. Russia should think hard about this.

      • CFL68

        Meh. Preach to us when Russia pulls out and pays reparations. Russia signed the document in bad faith, and launched preplanned attacks before the signatures had dried. You lied and said the attacks were just rebels. Russia lied and said it wasn’t involved. We know that is untrue. Russia deliberately violated the entire core meaning of the agreement even as they were signing it.

        Russia turned the document into soiled toilet paper by signing it in bad faith with no intention of abiding by its terms. We all saw what they did.

        So if you really want to take the points in sequential order, Russia and rebels never complied with point 1. Let us know when Russia and rebels comply with pulling back to Minsk 1 contact line, etc.

        Bottom line this won’t end until Russia pulls out, comes clean, and pays reparations. You can keep babbling if you want. Ukraine is the victim of Russian aggression. Russia has lied from the beginning and is under sanctions. Russia could definitely win by destabilizing Ukraine, and it has been a mistake of Europe and its allies not to put much tougher sanctions in place. That may yet happen as more facts of Russian involvement and lies come out.

        • stranger

          You are trying to switch the responsibility to Russia. Ukraine may sustain the constant faint fire for years by firing on rebels positions and getting the response. And rebels may provoke with fire on Ukrainian positions from time to time. That is beneficial to only Ukraine to secure the international attention and avoid implementation of political part of Minsk. Exactly how you are calling us to do. You ideally express the position of official Ukrainian government here. Do they pay you for informational support?

          In general the cease fire is observed, there are no offensive operations now, the sides are not trying to capture cities. Debaltsevo was a special case, it is a large railway hub between Lugansk and Donetsk in the middle of rebel’s held territory. The fighting for Debaltsevo started before the agreements were signed. That is definitely a violation of cease fire, 2 years ago. But there is no active movements of the sides now. Particular incidents should not stop from the political regulation, because otherwise the incidents will never stop.

          Right now the next Minsk group is held with the ministers of the sides. There are no any progress so far. The sides treat the agreements differently. Donbas and Rebels were not defeated in a war, that’s why the demand concessions – to grand them autonomy and more freedom inside Ukrainian state. Ukraine is not in situation to dictate own conditions. Ukraine signed a draw agreement assumed mutual concessions. But during the negotiations Ukraine basically tell, lets think we have won and you should accept our conditions.

          Again the cease fire is mostly observed, that should not prevent from the solving the conflict in the diplomatic and political way at the basis of finding a mutual compromize. While you are talking about constant escalation, about unconditional capitulation of rebels and supporting them Russia and implementation of all requirements of Ukraine. Hey, get back to reality, rebels were not defeated in a war, they are not going to capitulate and give up to be sent to Ukrainian jails. They demand concessions, the political freedom first of all for their region, amnesty and the exchange of captivities all-by-all. Any forceful way you propose repeating Ukrainian government is unrealistic.

          • CFL68

            “That is beneficial to only Ukraine to secure the international attention and avoid implementation”

            LOL yes this is all an elaborate scheme for Ukraine to get attention. Jesus effing christ you are a moron.

            Let Russia and rebels pull back to Minsk 1 line. Right? Isn’t that one of the first points of Minsk 2? That is what was agreed to. It was supposed to be a good faith peace agreement based on incrementally growing trust – yet Russia immediately attacked Debaltsevo followed by Marynka and 100 other places…

            Once there is good faith established, then political reforms. I’ll remind you these were offered BEFORE the conflict started.

            Use your half-brain to figure this out. The war was started by Russians. They don’t give a rats ass about stupid rebels. They want a simmering conflict to destabilize Ukraine. Like you have said many times, Putin knows Russians can suffer a lot of hardship, so he thinks he can wait Ukraine out. He is certainly not suffering. It is strategically important for him, in his own mind, that Ukraine remain a vassal state.

            So building on what Yats offered from April 2014: decentralization, local elections, amnesty, etc., what else do the rebels want that every other Ukrainian already has? What made the Kremlin send in paramilitaries and order them to attack even after Yats clearly offered to work with Donbass? 3 years into this surely you can tell me right? Or is this whole conflict just a smokescreen for Russia to destabilize Ukraine?

            Look at what Russia has done – and just as importantly ‘how’ it has done it (through violence and lies) and stop being such a moron.

            Or if you want to continue being pedantic about Minsk agreement, that’s fine. Get the rebels to comply with terms and reaffirm their good faith intentions.

          • stranger

            Moron, that is not pedantic about Minsk, you are pedantic claiming that Debaltsevo stricken out everything on the political part. I’m telling you about the essence of Minsk – to find a compromise both sides can accept. You diver to insignificant details and ignore the core. You instead insist on a full and unconditional capitulation which is unrealistic to demand in the current situation. You have to defeat all rebels first but they have shown they can fight. That is not my idea to implement Minsk in a certain order – that is clearly written in the agreement, what after which.

            No, rebels were not supposed to pull back to Minsk I, you are lying again – the heavy weapon, heavy missiles and artillery should be pulled back by both Ukraine and Rebels at the safe distance, for rebels if they pulled back at the same distance that would be outside their positions, so only to the line of the Minsk I.

            You are talking about good faith – you are kidding! The sides deeply untrust each and every word of each others. You don’t believe Russia, Russia doesn’t believe Ukraine and hypocritical US, Ukraine doesn’t believe Russia. Rebels believe NOBODY. There are no agreements there based on faith, only on thorough monitoring of the sides. That is why rebels don’t believe any word of Ukraine demanding to revoke Russian support now and the elections and autonomy may be sometime later. Ukraine will definitely deceive. Probably nobody believed your Yats – rabbit also, he would not be able to keep any promises and Poroshenko is not able to keep any his promises now.

            Russia is not looking for a destabilization of Ukraine, Russia is tired from sanctions, and even more from the constant flow of stinky sh1t and lies the western media is pouring all the time, but especially during Clinton’s campaign. There were Minsk agreements signed. Signed in the middle of the battle for Debaltsevo. Might be Ukraine meant to stop the attack by signing Minsk but anyway didn’t intent to implement own obligations. The trick didn’t work as it probably worked at Minsk I, the rebels took Debaltsevo. That was 2 years ago. That doesn’t mean Minsk should not be implemented in its political part. Russia insist on the implementation of Minsk.

            Ukraine depends on the western support and western money. Ukraine has become a vassal of the States now. Joe Baden was coming to Ukraine and taught them what to do. His son got a big-money position in the Ukrainian gas monopoly, which can be considered as a bribery to an American officer at a government positions, his farther. It is beneficial for Ukraine to play victim. Having torn away itself from Russia it depends too much on the new sponsors. That would not end well for Ukraine, IMF is not a charity.

            The ministers of all countries right now at this minute are discussing the road map in Minsk. No any progress as you know so far. What trust/good faith are talking about, there is no any trust for very very long time already.

          • CFL68

            Well I guess we can agree that every side in this should get what they deserve based on maximum transparency, common decency, established international norms, and the rule of law.

            Over time it will become more clear, and hopefully things will take their proper place with peace being established and the guilty appropriately punished.

            Deliberately provoking war with no casus belli is a very grave crime . Perhaps you are right and Nuland and her cookies are to blame. Or perhaps I am right and it will be proven that Putin and his chain of command provoked and sponsored the war and have lied all along. Following the trend line of facts and lies from the beginning, I have a pretty clear view of the trajectory of this thing. There will be no lasting peace until the truth is established one way or the other.

          • stranger

            Yes, you are right. I hope Ukraine will get accountable for going with a war against a whole own region, for thouthands of killed civilians, hundreds of unlawfully detained and tortured in secret SBU prisons, for million of refugees to Russia.
            I hope Nuland, Clinton and all their administration will get accountable for cookies and also 5bil dollars invested in propagandistic work at Ukraine for the plan to prevent the integration of Ukraine with Russia, for 3(!) new TV channels appeared right during Maydan and supporting the unrests, etc, etc.
            I hope Ukraine will finally find and prosecute those snipers who killed police and protesters in order to enrage people and clash them with each other, will finally prosecute the provocateurs who killed from a short distance at least 2 activists of Maydan to intentionally make them sacred victims.
            I believe everybody will answer for their crimes. Here we absolutely agree with you.

          • stranger

            It is just amazing, how you appealed to consience and played in your insulted moral principals, but when it came to the topic you are afraid of – Minsk peace agreement, you have started just direct blatant lie and distorting the facts. So that is the price of a manipulative propagandon like yourself.

          • CFL68

            Meh – feeling neglected?

            Minsk agreement called for immediate cease fire and rebel pull back to Minsk 1 lines. This was signed by Russia then it launched major attacks capturing strategic town, and many other failed attacks. Active duty Russian personnel were involved.

            Russia started the war and until it engages in good faith effort to restore peace and make reparations, everything else is just in holding pattern. Russia will say one thing then do the opposite.

            As it balances the demands of war and threats from Russia, Ukraine does move forward imperfectly towards reforms. Bigger threat to peace is Russia who started the war and continues to keep it burning and cannot even speak the truth about its involvement.

          • stranger

            Feeling disgust to paid propacondoms like you, who try to manipulate appealing to moral and decency, only in order to blatantly lie yourself.
            The rebels were NOT supposed to pull back to Minsk I lines! Did you read the Minsk II agreement? Don’t intentionally deceive the readers. You can only parrot – Russia this, Russia that.

          • CFL68

            “Pull-out of all heavy weapons by both sides to equal distance with the aim of creation of a security zone on minimum 50 kilometres (31 mi) apart for artillery of 100mm calibre or more, and a security zone of 70 kilometres (43 mi) for multiple rocket launchers (MRLS) and 140 kilometres (87 mi) for MLRS Tornado-S, Uragan, Smerch, and Tochka U tactical missile systems:
            – for Ukrainian troops, from actual line of contact;
            – for armed formations of particular districts of Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts of Ukraine, from the contact line in accordance with the Minsk Memorandum as of 19 September 2014”


          • stranger

            Exactly, it was written as Ukraine and rebels to withdraw heavy weapon to a safe distance. Did Ukraine implement this requirement? OSCE observers reported that it didn’t.
            You have not misread them, you intentionally lied that rebels were supposed to retreat. As for Debaltsevo, we discussed that, it was deep inside rebels territory. But most importantly that doesn’t abolish the importance of the political package of Minsk.

          • CFL68

            “it was deep inside rebels territory”

            Insane bro. It is not inside ‘rebel’ territory. It is a sovereign country called Ukraine. Debaltsevo was under control of Ukraine when Minsk 2 was signed, and then Russia attacked.

            I did misread the point the other day and happy to concede that point. But how can you worry about that when Russia, a solemn signatory to peace treaty, immediately launched major attack?

            I don’t think any country, Russia included, would tolerate this aggression.

            This discussion is pointless. I don’t expect Ukraine to make concessions of its sovereignty, when Russia is engaged in active aggression against it, yet cannot even admit it. Duplicity. War. Murder. Lies.

            There is no political solution until Russia acts in good faith. Things will likely be frozen until then, and the bill will continue to increase for everyone – but root causes will be assessed and if Russia has been lying, and is involved in violence, then it will be held to account before any real normalization can occur.

          • stranger

            But again, I’m most disappointed by your double-faced attempts of manipulation, appealing to consience and violating all moral principles yourself. It is a very Ukrainish feature (the common stereotype, not all people are the same)

          • CFL68

            “double-faced attempts”

            Almost as bad as Russia making war in Ukraine and lying about it the whole time?!? Gosh, I am a terrible person for pointing this out. I have violated ALL moral principles! I guess Russians must be Ukrainian according to your logic? Perhaps the most Ukrainian of all?

            Again, until Russia can make the most basic good faith effort to speak the truth and stop its aggression, its unlikely that there can be any real political progress that is not in effect coercion and blackmail by Russia.

            As a suggestion, why not have the ‘rebels’ create a list of legislative demands under Ukrainian law? What is stopping them? It would provide a basis for discussion. You might ask yourself why this has not been done since it would form basis for constructive dialogue and pressure Ukraine to engage at that level.

            I asked you before for a list of explicit demands that these rebels have been fighting for for 3 years. Any ideas?

          • stranger

            You are playing a clown again by pretending you don’t understand what I was talking about yourself. Mainly because you try to manipulate referring to conscience and compassion and immediately lie yourself. In this respect I called your manners Ukrainish. Such things cannot be used for blatant manipulating people.

            The rebels don’t trust Ukraine for a reason, the sabotaged Minsk peace agreements is one of the reasons. What ‘basis for discussion’ are you talking about, if everything has been signed by BOTH sides and it needs just to be implemented? In any other dialog relying on Ukrainian good will or trust, Ukraine will deceive, as it has been doing all the time.

          • stranger

            Boris Filatov, an official in Dnepropetrovsk region of Ukraine said his famous phrase about Crimeans, but the same they mean about all south-east: “We need to give scums any promises, guarantees and agree on any consessions. And to hang… We will be hanging them later.”
            So, that is all internal politics of Ukraine including the Minsk agreements. How the rebels can trust them after that?

          • CFL68

            Well, they could start by NOT attacking right after they sign peace agreement.

            Words vs actions.

            I agree there is distrust. Russia – the elephant in the room – is itself incapable of telling the truth so it is what it is.

          • stranger

            Russia has never sunk to the statements, not to talk about actions, as stated by that Filatov: “we will promise them anything, and hanging them we will do later” what dialog is possible? All sides deeply untrust each other. Including the Russian relationships with the west, intentionally spoiled by the west. Obama is still cannot leave as a gentleman – rushing all over the world and trying to make as many troubles as it can for the new administration to cure the spoiled relationships with Russia. Troublemaker, epic failed his Nobel price for peace, given up front.

          • CFL68

            Great story – except for the thousands of Russian fighters/tanks/buks, etc., who with no casus belli went to Ukraine and made war.

            LOL let’s blame Obama of course!

            Just stop already. Ukraine is imperfectly defending itself from Russian aggression. You blame the victim. I don’t.

          • stranger

            “Ukraine is imperfectly defending itself ”
            Aha, and you are just imperfectly washing them out. Now it’s clear.

          • stranger

            “Insane bro. It is not inside ‘rebel’ territory. It is a sovereign country called Ukraine. Debaltsevo was under control of Ukraine when Minsk 2 was signed, and then Russia attacked.”

            That is Donbas, dude. Right in the middle of Donetsk and Luhansk, captured by regular Ukrainian army in July 2014. The current anti-Russian Ukrainian government who came in the result of violence and pointless blood shed at Maydan supported by Obama and the administration is not welcome at Donbas.

            “I don’t expect Ukraine to make concessions of its sovereignty”

            Ukraine signed the peace agreement, all the sides expect her to implement, ’cause everybody agrees the alternative is a civil war and there is no any military solution. Really, nobody cares what you expect or don’t expect.

            You can stink as much as you can at the forums by scattering personal insults to everybody who disagree and trying to catch and manipulate the readers by the feeling of guilt or compassion and trying to suppress others by ridiculous aggression when you have no arguments to say and only so that they didn’t interfere you to lie and hide the facts yourself. But hardly anybody would ask for your opinion on how the situation in Ukraine will be normalized, of just a pathetic paid propacondom at the service of current Ukrainian anti-Russian government like you. Used condoms are thrown away, the same concerns their human variation.

          • pcx

            The rebels were about to be defeated, that is why Russia sent in troops and tanks. The leaders of the rebels were initially Russian agents, later replaced by locals so as not to expose what Russia, or more correctly Putin, is doing. The rail hub was only captured because of Russian tanks and troops, the “rebels” hadn’t a hope in hell, anymore than they did in taking Donetsk airport.

        • stranger

          Obama did a lot of small troubles as well as Clinton did and the rest of his administration, what concerns the ME and the post Soviet space. Don’t forget all those events started from a bloody coup in Ukraine. In contrast to you, I don’t think that Ukraine is a victim, even though they love to play this role. You’re just trying to wash them out and fingerpoint to only Russia. The whole picture is not so simple.

        • stranger

          And ‘Ukrainian sovereignty’ is an oxymoron. Ukraine is a direct vassal of the United States now. Depends on US for money, sanctions to Russia, military support, propacondostic support in world’s media and to point out whom they should appoint on key positions in the goverment. So they vote in UN always as they masters vote, and for example vetoed the Russian declarion on the prohibition of propaganda of na3ism as their senior master did. What’s changed?? So they were perturbed when Trump was elected.

      • Victor Zaharov

        This bellingcat is crooker, why they allowed ukraine to classify its radar data? It would be easier for ukraine to prove that Russia blaimed. They classified radar data because ukraine shot down MH17. They say Russia was lying, but why you show as evidence missile that belonged Ukraine from 1986 year?

  2. Dissident Voice

    Title of this Bcat piece is not right. Russia did not present fake evidence. There was nothing wrong with their evidence, i.e. radarscreen representation.

    Wrong was their interpretation of the evidence, as they saw the curved trail probably belonging to the trakectory of a debris from the Boeing for “presumably” a SU25.

    • CFL68

      Generals could not possibly make a mistake. A stationary radar blip appeared in exact spot of destroyed mh17, after it was destroyed, and hovered for 4 minutes.

      They did not just claim it was a radar blip and propose possibilities based on probability. They tried to ‘sell’ debris cloud as Ukrainian military jet. This is very significant. Russia had complete radar/sigint coverage and a hovering stealth su25 is the least likely possibility.

  3. Victor Zaharov

    If there was Buk, it must had been seen by radar. If radar had not seen Buk it means only there was no Buk. It’s easy anderstand because it’s truth…


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