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Identifying the Separatists Linked to the Downing of MH17

June 19, 2019

By Bellingcat Investigation Team

Translations: Русский

The full report can be viewed here (mirror)

The Bellingcat Investigation Team has previously published a number of reports demonstrating that the deployment of the Buk missile launcher used to shoot down Malaysian Airlines Flight 17 (MH17) over Ukraine on 17 July 2014 involved senior officers of the Russian Ministry of Defense and its military intelligence agency, the GRU. However, questions still linger over the involvement in the downing of other previously unidentified individuals. Who were the people heard on the intercepted phone calls published by the Dutch-led Joint Investigation Team (JIT) and the Ukrainian Security Service (SBU) in the aftermath of the downing? What role did infamous separatist leaders such as Igor Bezler, Aleksandr Khodakovsky, and Igor Strelkov play in the operation?

Today’s new report from Bellingcat seeks to resolve these questions and to determine the identity of most of the individuals, hitherto unknown to the public, who were heard and/or referred to on the SBU intercepts. With this, the report provides further context around the intercepted phone conversations and reveals new potential suspects in the downing of MH17.

The first batch of phone intercepts allegedly linked to the downing of MH17 were released by the SBU on their YouTube channel in an attempt to convince the international community that the airliner was shot down from separatist- held territory. The published calls were just a small selection of the total inventory of intercepts captured in the period surrounding incident, and the JIT is known to have received from Ukrainian authorities data on about 150,000 intercepted phone conversations. An unknown portion of these calls contain evidence relevant to the MH17 case, and some were later published by the JIT both on their YouTube channel and during their press conferences as part of a call for witnesses, and as further evidence supporting their assertions regarding the events that led to and followed the tragedy.

Images of several recorded intercepted phone calls that were published by the SBU.

Intercepted phone conversations published by a government intelligence service, in this case the SBU, should not be trusted without verification, but there has already been a plethora of evidence from open sources corroborating the authenticity of the published calls. Several of these calls are intercepted phone conversations between separatists and Sergey “KhmuryDubinsky, the (ex-)GRU officer and former head of the intelligence of the so-called Donetsk People’s Republic (“DNR”) who oversaw the transport of the Buk-M1 missile launcher that downed MH17 over Ukraine. The transport route of the Buk-M1 discussed in these recorded conversations exactly matches the route along which the missile launcher was filmed and photographed in in eastern Ukraine on 17 July 2014. Furthermore, separatist leaders Igor Bezler and Nikolay Kozitsyn have admitted that it was indeed their voices that are heard on the intercepts, and voice comparisons carried out by forensic analysts in two research institutions have confirmed the identity of Russian officers Nikolai “Delfin” Tkachev and Oleg  “Orion” Ivannikov, as described in previous Bellingcat publications.

The report released today provides further evidence that the publicly released phone intercepts are unlikely to have been tampered with, as critics have continued to allege.

Screenshots of videos of SBU recorded intercepted phone calls, released by the JIT.

In this publication, Bellingcat releases the actual names of several militants who featured on the SBU intercepts along with a preliminary assessment on their respective level of involvement in the Buk transport and/or the downing of MH17. Some of these identities have not been published before by Bellingcat or other media organizations. Below, an organizational chart shows most of the individuals heard or mentioned on the intercepted conversations within the hierarchical structure of the DNR in July 2014 (click here to see the image in full resolution)

The following overview shows the key individuals, who had a role in organizing or facilitating the transport of the Buk missile launcher that downed MH17 on 17 July 2014 is eastern Ukraine.

The Ministry of Defense of the DNR

Igor Girkin/Strelkov, call sign “Strelok”

Date of birth: 17 December 1970
Place of birth: Moscow, Moscow oblast, Soviet Russia
Nationality: Russian
Function in the summer of 2014: Minister of Defense of the DNR.

Link to MH17: We have identified former FSB colonel Igor Strelkov on one of the intercepts with Sergey Dubinsky from the morning of 18 July related to the removal of the Buk missile launcher from separatist-held territory in Ukraine to Russia. Since most of the separatists who can be linked to the downing of MH17 were his subordinates, it is likely that he was also fully aware of the procurement and import of the Buk from Russia. The full report describes his close cooperation in mid-July 2014 with Pulatov and Kharchenko, both of whom are believed to have provided security to the Buk near the launch site.

 

The GRU DNR

The “GRU DNR” (not to be confused with Russia’s military intelligence agency — the GRU) was the military intelligence agency of the Donetsk People’s Republic in 2014. It was headed by Sergey “Khmury” Dubinsky. The group coordinated the transport of the Buk through separatist-held territory on 17 and 18 July, and also provided security to the Buk at the launch site south of Snizhne.  This group may have also been involved in the decision to shoot down MH17. Although the GRU DNR was formally independent from Russia, allegations have lingered that it was actually controlled in whole or in part by the Russian GRU. Given Bellingcat’s previous reporting on the role of GRU’s Oleg Ivannikov in coordinating the delivery of the Buk to separatist-held territory, there is little doubt that the GRU and the GRU DNR closely coordinated at least some of their efforts in the summer of 2014.

 

Sergey Nikolaevich Dubinsky, call sign “Khmury”

Date of birth: 9 August 1962
Place of birth: Neskuchnoe, Donetsk oblast, Soviet Ukraine
Hometown: Rostov-on-Don, Russia
Nationality: Russian
Function in the summer of 2014: Head of the GRU DNR, subordinate to Strelkov. According to Ukraine’s official position, allegedly also a member of Russia’s GRU.

Link to MH17: Several intercepted phone calls indicate that it was Dubinsky who requested the delivery of a battle-ready Buk missile launcher to aid his forces at the frontline south of Snizhne, and that he personally coordinated the transport of the arriving Buk missile launcher to the launch site on 17 July. He was also involved in the removal of the Buk back to Russia after the downing of MH17. Furthermore, the full report demonstrates that Dubinsky also ordered some of his subordinates to secure the Buk near the launch site south of Snizhne, and that it was his group that may have played a key role in the decision to shoot down MH17 under the presumption that it was an enemy aircraft.

 

Oleg Yuldashevich Pulatov, call signs “Gyurza” and “Khalif”

Date of birth: 24 July 1966
Hometown: Ulyanovsk, Russia
Nationality: Russian
Function in the summer of 2014: Head of the 2nd Department of the GRU DNR, subordinate to Sergey Dubinsky.

Link to MH17: Oleg Pulatov is a (former) Lieutenant colonel in the Russian Armed Forces who has previously been identified as the man behind the call sign “Gyurza” who is mentioned on one of the intercepts. In the full report we provide new evidence confirming that Pulatov is indeed the man behind the call sign “Gyurza” and that he was likely involved in securing the Buk missile launcher at the launch site south of Snizhne.

 

Leonid Vladimirovich Kharchenko, call sign “Krot”

Date of birth: 10 January 1972
Place of birth: Kostyantynivka, Soviet Ukraine
Nationality: Ukrainian
Function in the summer of 2014: Head of the Krot Reconnaissance Battalion of the 2nd Department of the GRU DNR since 6 July. Before then, he was the garrison commander in his hometown Kostyantynivka.

Link to MH17: Kharchenko is found to be involved in the securing of the Buk missile launcher near the launch site south of Snizhne. He may have also coordinated the transport of the Buk from Donetsk to the launch site, and the subsequent removal of the Buk from the launch site to Russia.

 

Eduard Mashutovich Gilazov, call sign “Ryazan”

Date of birth: 27 March 1984 (missing and presumed dead since 27 July 2015)
Place of birth: Yekaterinburg, Sverdlovsk oblast, Soviet Russia
Hometown: Ryazan, Russia
Nationality: Russian
Function in the summer of 2014: Commander of the 1st Reconnaissance Company of the Krot Reconnaissance Battalion, subordinate to Kharchenko.

Link to MH17: Gilazov has been identified as the separatist commander who, in the aftermath of the downing, brought a member of the Buk crew who had lost the rest of the crew to his commander Leonid Kharchenko in Snizhne. He may also have been involved in securing the Buk near the launch site south of Snizhne.

Oleg Anatolevich Sharpov, call sign “Zmey”

Oleg "Zmey" Sharpov

Date of birth: 30 May 1972 (died on 3 November 2014)
Hometown: Kostyantynivka, Ukraine
Nationality: Ukrainian
Function in the summer of 2014: Platoon commander within a Reconnaissance Company

Link to MH17: Sharpov has been identified as the separatist named Oleg in an intercepted phone call with Leonid “Krot” Karchenko from 17 July 2014 at 1:09 pm. In this conversation, Sharpov asks Kharchenko about directions to the location south of Snizhne from which the Buk system launched the missile that downed MH17. As this conversation took place more than two hours before the downing, Sharpov was very likely present at the launch site.

 

The Bezler Group

The Bezler Group is named after “Igor Bezler“ (nickname “Bes”), a former officer in the Russian Armed Forces who, according to the SBU, was in service of the GRU during the conflict in eastern Ukraine. The Bezler Group controlled the area around Horlivka in the summer of 2014. Two telephone intercepts featuring Bezler have linked the Bezler Group to the downing of MH17.

 

Igor Nikolaevich Bezler, call sign “Bes”

Date of birth: 30 December 1965
Place of birth: Simferopol, Crimean oblast, Soviet Ukraine
Nationality: Russian
Function in the summer of 2014: Commander of the Bezler Group, alleged by Ukraine to be a member of GRU.

Link to MH17: Bezler is heard on the phone intercept with his subordinate Stelmakh who informs him that a “birdie” is flying towards him. Bezler instructs his subordinate to report this message “upwards”, and as such may have facilitated the spotting of MH17 as an enemy aircraft. Bezler is also heard on an intercept in which he reports the shootdown of an airplane to a person whom the SBU identified as a GRU agent named Vasily Geranin. Bezler has claimed that this recording was actually from 16 July 2014 — one day before the downing of MH17 — but in the full report it is explained that it is more likely that the message was recorded on 17 July concerning the downing MH17.

 

Sergey Sergeyevich Povalyaev, call sign “Botsman”

Sergey "Botsman" Povalyaev

Date of birth: 10 November 1976 (died of pneumonia in Russia on 6 January 2016)
Place of birth: Kaliningrad, Soviet Russia
Nationality: Russian
Function in the summer of 2014: Deputy commander of the Bezler Group, possibly a Russian GRU Spetsnaz officer

Link to MH17: In an intercepted phone call between Sergey Dubinsky and “Botsman” that took place shortly after MH17 was downed, Dubinsky tells “Botsman” that he received a Buk-M in the morning and that they just shot down a ‘Sushka’ (a Sukhoi aircraft). Aside from how “Botsman” was Bezler’s deputy, there is no direct link between “Botsman” and the downing of MH17.

 

Valery Aleksandrovich Stelmakh, call signs “Naemnik” (“Naimanets” in Ukrainian) and “Batya”

Date of birth: 1 August 1955
Place of birth: Dzerzhynsk, Donetsk oblast, Soviet Ukraine
Function in July 2014: Militia commandant of Dzerzhynsk until 21 July 2014, subordinate to Bezler.

Link to MH17: Stelmakh has been identified as the person with the call sign “Naemnik” (“Naimanets” in Ukrainian) who reported the spotting of MH17 as an enemy aircraft to Bezler a few minutes before the downing. Bezler also instructed him to report this message to “higher up”, which might indicate that Stelmakh relayed this message to the GRU DNR or another authority that was in contact with the Buk crew. The full report features a reconstruction showing that it is indeed possible that it was this message that had reached the Buk crew shortly before the downing of MH17.

 

Igor Ivanovich Ukrainets, call sign “Minyor”

Date of birth: 24 December 1971
Place of birth: Verbky, Dnipropetrovsk oblast, Soviet Ukraine
Nationality: Ukrainian
Function in the summer of 2014: Subordinate of Bezler and commander of an infantry unit known as the “Minyor Unit”.

Link to MH17: Ukrainets has been identified as the commander of the Minyor Unit, which was mentioned by Bezler in one of the intercepts in relation to the downing of MH17. Although it has been possible to confirm that Ukrainets was at the time a subordinate to Bezler, we found no evidence that suggests Ukrainets was involved in the downing of MH17. In the full report we discuss the possible explanations why Bezler had mentioned him in relation to the shootdown of the aircraft.

 

The Vostok Battalion

The Vostok Battalion was one of the largest separatist groups in the summer of 2014 and was based in Donetsk. It was headed by Aleksandr Khodakovsky, a defector from the SBU’s Alpha special forces unit. The phone intercepts indicate that the Vostok Battalion helped facilitate the transport of the arriving Buk missile launcher in Donetsk. Additional evidence suggests that its leadership also knew about the arrival of the Buk from Russia in advance.

 

Aleksandr Sergeyevich Khodakovsky, call sign “Skif”

Date of birth: 18 December 1972
Place of birth: Donetsk, Donetsk oblast, Soviet Ukraine
Nationality: Ukrainian
Function: Head of the Vostok Battalion and until 16 July 2014 the Minister of State Security of the DNR.

Link to MH17: As the head of the Vostok Battalion, it is likely that Khodakovsky helped facilitate the arrival of the Buk system in Donetsk, since the intercepts indicate that his deputy Aleksandr Semyonov helped coordinate the transport of the Buk in Donetsk. After the shootdown of MH17, he admitted in an interview with Reuters that he knew beforehand that pro-Russian separatists were going to receive a Buk missile launcher that would be transported from Luhansk to Snizhne, but he later retracted these statements saying that they were taken out of context by Reuters. The SBU intercepts also reveal that he had briefly attempted to hide MH17’s black boxes from the OSCE and other parties on behalf of Moscow, which he later also denied. In the full report we will provide further information that suggests Khodakovsy’s statements to Reuters were not taken out of context, and that he was indeed willing to hide the black boxes, most likely on behalf of officials in Moscow.

 

Alexander Aleksandrovich Semyonov, nickname “(San) Sanych”

Date of birth: 21 December 1967
Place of birth: Yenakieve, Soviet Ukraine
Function: Deputy commander of the Vostok Battalion and the DNR’s Deputy Prime Minister of Economy, subordinate to Khodakovsky.

Link to MH17: The phone intercepts indicate that Semyonov helped facilitate the arrival of the Buk in Donetsk in coordination with Sergey Dubinsky. One day before the downing, Semyonov was also informed by Dubinsky that the latter wished to receive a missile launcher for operations at the Marynivka front.

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90 Comments

  1. Dmitrii

    It doesn’t take 5 years of investigation to simply name the well known top commanders, does it?

    Reply
      • Wladimir k

        I never heard such a bullshit. No Russian will give up. And you should know. I was reading some comments and was thinking no one of you sissies would take a rifle into his hands and go to fight. Russia is much stronger than you think. But it is ok. Western societies are even not able to fight against Arab invaders like in Germany. I don’t like Putin but I love my country. And believe me when he is gone you get more trouble than you think. Russia will open his borders and all Muslims can immigrate to EU

        Reply
        • Tomas Hirs

          If a Russian takes a rifle and shoots somebody, violence wins. If the author of this article happens to shoot somebody, violence wins. Is it that hard to understand?

          Bellingcat does a great job in helping people to tell apart the likely truth, and the outright propaganda and lies. We should thank them they keep their high standards, not advice them to plague this world with more violence.

          Reply
        • Edward Mercer

          Russia betrayed Ukraine. Russia betrayed its own people. And now, no nation respects or trusts Russia. Sissy? LOL A drunk BUK crew killing 200 innocent people is no act of courage. Russia is still the Village Drunk. If you loved your country you wouldn’t have allowed a bunch of bandits to piss away Russia’s future. When the Federation collapses, and your muslim nations become independent, don’t expect the same amount of good will from Europe as RF received when USSR collapsed.

          Reply
        • Edward Mercer

          Russia is much stronger than we think? LOL Is that why Putin must constantly tell the world how strong its weapons are? Or, that yes, Russia is under sanctions, but China and US are almost in a trade war! That’s similar? LOL Strong nations don’t mislead its own people. Russia has plenty of bombs but can’t manage to build a car, computer, television, heck a bicycle, that anyone wants to buy? That’s strength? LOL Enjoy your sanctions!

          Reply
        • Glenski

          What does being a sissy have to do with investigating mass murder? What does holding a gun have to do with state sponsored murder?
          Everything you’ve chosen to say simply highlights the fact that you are a thug with gunpowder for brains…

          Reply
        • CHRIS ROBINSON

          This is the type of idiot that inhabits the world of racism and bullyism. As always they think guns are what makes a man. “Duh, me got big gun!” What a waste of space. I was genuinely surprised he could even spell and use the occasional big word. Apes are usually not that adept. Even Russian ones.

          Reply
        • robert

          Russians Trolls like to repeat How Powerful Is Russia!! Well, let’s look at some facts !!!

          Russia needs to do 2 things,,

          1. To win an invasion of Ukraine and control it they need to do it very very fast in super speed

          2. They need to have so many military forces in the region that it will make THE WEST think twice before helping Ukraine !!

          Russia simply does not have that right now .. !!!

          The reason they will NOT attack right now or tomorrow or even the next year believe is this…. see under

          (When it happens (and it will one day ) it will only be after the upcoming elections in Ukraine and only if Russia does not get what they will see as a pro-Russian government in power in Ukraine)

          The Kremlin likes to repeat the Russian propaganda about how Russia could have tanks in Kyiv in two weeks, take a second to reflect on the numbers.

          (Russia does this type of scaremongering tactics and shouts things like “we will have our tanks in Kyiv in 2 weeks” thing to scare Ukrainians into submission a type of typical Soviet psychological warfare tactic )

          As of 2018, Russia has 230K troops in ground forces (there’s also a huge number of other people, but they are not authorized to use weapons), and Ukraine has 204K. Plus 40-50K Ukrainian National Guard.

          This is public information – easy to verify on Wikipedia. Russia would need some troops at the border with five NATO countries, some troops at the long border with China, some at bases in Armenia, Transnistria, Abkhazia, Ossetia, etc. Let’s say half can be sent to Ukraine – that’s 115K – less than half of Ukrainian army + National Guard.

          And that will still be nothing more than a Russian pipe dream as we in that scenario are not taking into account the fact that the Russian city and naval base Kaliningrad in the Baltic’s will need a massive bust in defense and troops sent by Russia… Russia will also need to reinforce its city’s like Saint Petersburg (157 km from NATO border Estonia and Moscow as they are only 600 km from Latvia NATO border ) and let us not forget that Putin will need most of his troops to cover his long western borders, all the way from Murmansk to down to Poland a border that is a whopping 2300 km long !!!!

          The Baltic states and Poland will be getting very Jumpy about any Russian full-scale invasion of Ukraine and anyone who has studied even a little history will tell you, there is no way that Poland will just stand still and let Russian troops stand inside Ukraine knocking on the Polish back-door… Warsaw will never let themselves end up in any situation where they are showing weakness and feeling vulnerable when it comes to Moscow…

          And don’t forget nations like Romania, Moldova Hungary, Slovakia all NATO nations except for Moldova will most likely take part in a Polish move of defensive actions as well as they also will never accept Russian troops in their backyards as they also have a bad history with Moscow like everyone else…
          And last but not least the Scandinavia nations like Finland, Norway and Sweden will also be very jumpy especially Finland as they have not forgotten last time Russia invaded them and took over the Finnish Karelia …

          Any Russian full-scale invasion of Ukraine will be seen as a threat to Finland by Helsinki as they also border Russia this will drag Sweden, Norway, Island, and Denmark into a potential conflict as the NORDEFCO (Nordic Defence Cooperation) will be activated NORDEFCO is a collaboration among the Nordic countries in the area of defense. Its five members are Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden.

          While NATO says there are fifteen or more battalion battle-groups of Russian ground forces, 20,000 or so men in all, poised to invade, the true number may well be higher, given longstanding Kremlin acumen in denial and deception, what the Russians call maskirovka.

          The actual figure may be closer to 40,000 troops within a short distance of the Ukrainian frontier. Latest information indicates that these battle-groups are drawn from Russia’s best ground forces: the 4th Tank and 2nd Motorized Rifle Divisions, the 76th and 106th Airborne (VDV) Divisions and the 31st VDV Brigade, the 23rd Motor Rifle Brigade, plus unidentified units of Naval Infantry (i.e. Marines), and experienced GRU special forces (SPETSNAZ).

          Many of these units contributed to the Kremlin’s near-bloodless seizure of the Crimea should be considered the best that Russia has…

          As the Russian defense analyst Aleksandr Golts recently explained,

          “Even if the Kremlin has managed to mass approximately 40,000 servicemen on Ukraine’s borders, this is absolutely insufficient for occupation. Absolutely no fewer than 100,000 men and officers would be required for this.
          But we simply don’t have them.”

          Unless Vladimir Putin wants to embroil Russia in a protracted war for Ukraine that will bear no resemblance to the walkover Anschluss with Crimea, he would be well advised to reconsider invasion at this point (I think he will need another year or two to be ready for this type of invasion ) As this will no longer be Special War, but a real war — one which may not be possible to limit to Ukraine.

          With the type of brute-force war that Russia trains for, a successful attack needs a 3-10 x advantage in troops.

          So, Russia simply does not have enough troops. Holding the territory (even just to the left of Dnieper) would require an order of magnitude more troops. In the meantime, Ukraine is producing a number of new weapons and is getting a number of defensive systems from other countries. For example, Ukraine is now mass-producing portable anti-tank weapons with a 5km range, which makes traditional armor attacks Russia practices much more problematic.

          Not to mention a large number of Soviet-era tanks in Ukraine, and some new ones produced now. Another example, US-made anti-artillery systems have been used in combat and are going to be available in larger quantities.

          If Russia tries a full-scale invasion, this may indeed end in two weeks, but not in Russia’s favor.

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?annotation_id=annotation_2278250865&feature=iv&list=PLS0CO0PT_kELlH499yWSzBzW_rciIGkNZ&src_vid=_AdkT2QrJ8M&v=9vX-_hjx_go

          The only reason Russia has not attacked yet is they don’t have the muscle to do it…

          Reply
    • Rob

      The Pan Am Flight 103 bombing took 11 years before the trial even began.
      So the MH17 JIT is well ahead of schedule.

      Reply
    • Tony

      Without the collaboration or Russia and I would say doing all what they can to disrupt those it does not surprise it takes 5 years.
      Still some Russians think the world is like the wild Siberia and they behave like that.

      Reply
  2. Vivian

    Along with the grieving of the families involved with the deaths of their love ones goes the condemnation of those people behind the downing ofM17, did Putin rejoice? What’s the reason of such ” inhuman plans and acts?”

    Reply
  3. Rob

    Thank you Bellingcat, for yet another detailed report about MH17, this time focusing on the separatists involved.

    I just finished reading your full report, and again are impressed by the amount of detail and background you obtained from open sources regarding the men involved in the transport of the BUK from the 53rd brigade in Kurk all the way through Eastern Ukraine to the launch site in Snizhne.

    Hats off to you guys for again amazing detective work.

    Reply
  4. Tourist

    Wow… When the Bellingcat book about MH17 is comming, with all the facts…? But the book needs a good (hi)story end: All of them jailed.

    Reply
    • Interesring

      Amazing job by BellingCat!! IMHO, it’s Putin that needs to be jailed. Also crew who operated BUK has to face jail as well as they were the ones pulled the trigger without IDing the plane. But those involved regarding their fault should all should be named.
      Russia should start acting like a grown up and accept that they were solely responsible for this as a country and they should ask for forgiveness and pay up victims, like any decent country would do. Or else their own lies will catch up and will bite them in the ass.

      Reply
  5. Phil

    Well done Bellingcat. Show some of these ****’s they are not as invisible as they think.

    Reply
    • Jeroen

      A Ukrainian special operations unit last week arrested a former military commander of the pro-Russian separatists who served in the city of Snizhne, near the site where the Buk rocket was fired which shot down flight MH17. According to some sources, 58-year-old Vladimir Tsemach was commander of the air defense at the time and can therefore be an important witness for the investigation into the causes of the disaster.

      Members of the Ukrainian special unit picked up Tsemach, according to the Russian-speaking service of the BBC, on June 27 in his own apartment in Snizhne, during a daring operation deep in rebel territory. Then they managed to smuggle him through the checkpoints of the pro-Russian separatists to the Ukrainian side of the front line. Allegedly they would have pretended he was paralyzed.

      Tsemach has since been indicted for “forming a terrorist group or a terrorist organization.” There is a sentence of eight to fifteen years in prison. But probably the authorities are particularly interested in him because he may know more about who was responsible for the shooting of the Malaysian Boeing on July 17, 2014, killing all 298 occupants.

      Tsemach’s daughter, Maria, told the BBC that her father was apparently arrested in broad daylight. His wife discovered that he was gone when she returned from work on June 27 and found traces of a fight and blood in the apartment. The next day they were told by a lawyer from Kiyv that Tsemach should appear before the Ukrainian judge.

      Strelkov
      Maria Tsemach said he suspected that the Ukrainians kidnapped him because he was the air defense commander in Snizhne in 2014 and was therefore possibly involved in the downing of MH17. “They are trying to put him on Boeing’s neck.” But according to her, the Ukrainians are wrong: her father would not be appointed air defense commander of the Slavjansk brigade of the separatists until October. He was then commanded by Igor Strelkov aka Igor Girkin, one of the four men recently prosecuted by the Public Prosecution Service for their part in shooting MH17.
      According to Tsemach’s daughter, her father was not supposed to have played an important role at that time, but he was a regular soldier who kept watch at one of the checkpoints. But according to Aleksandr Kots, a Russian journalist who maintains good ties with the separatists, he would have been the air defense commander at that time and he was also in Snizhne. Moreover, his military identity card shows that he was already commander of the air defense unit when he was promoted to colonel by the defense ministry of the rebel republic of DNR on 23 October 2014.

      Witness
      There is no doubt that the JIT, the international team that is conducting criminal investigations into the MH17 disaster, will be very interested in Tsemach if he had an important position in air defense at the time the aircraft was shot down. If he was at that time as a commander in Snizhne, it is certain that he must have been aware of who was in command of the Buk installation that was parked in the middle of the town shortly before the rocket was fired. The JIT has previously stated that witnesses may be entitled to a reduction of their sentences or a new identity if they cooperate in the investigation.
      https://www.volkskrant.nl/nieuws-achtergrond/oekraiense-speciale-eenheid-pakt-commandant-separatisten-op-die-mogelijk-getuige-was-van-neerhalen-mh17~b1dcb32a/

      Reply
  6. Robert

    TAKING THE SIDE OF THE RUSSIAN SCUM AND BETRAYING ONE’S COUNTRY IS WHAT THOSE THAT ARE UKRAINIAN CITIZENS HAVE DONE!

    Let me quote George Washington (A nationalist !!)

    Citizens by birth or choice of a common country, that country has a right to concentrate your affections. The name of America which belongs to you, in your national capacity, must always exalt the just pride of Patriotism, more than any appellation derived from local discriminations.

    Now let me explain…and take the situation in Ukraine as an exs.

    In other words, if you have Ukrainian citizenship regardless if you got it from the birth of by chose, you are obligated to be loyal to Ukraine !!! Citizenship is a contract between you and the state of loyalty to a common union !!!

    If you violate the contract by showing loyalty to another country say exs. Russia, because you are ethnic Russian or for another reason, like the historical background, for reason of linguistic heritage or any reason that is a traitorous act of treason!

    If your personal action directly or indirectly in any way results in or is a danger to the territorial integrity of the nation-state, that is that disloyalty and a traitorous act of treason!

    Any actions that threaten the state or violates the contract of mutual loyalty and union between you and your country, is an act of betrayal of one’s country, it is disloyalty and nothing less than treason!

    And therefore you must accept that the state treats you like any other enemy, that wishes harm to the nation-state, as you have betrayed the contract of union loyalty between your country, your nation and yourself !!

    Freedom is worth fighting for!!!

    Why You Should Be a Nationalist

    Reply
  7. Rob

    ” Bezler also instructed him to report this message to “higher up”, which might indicate that Stelmakh relayed this message to the GRU DNR or another authority that was in contact with the Buk crew. ”

    For 5 years I’ve been wondering about this call from Naimanets.
    Was this call really evidence of the chain of command, or a fake ?

    The problem is, we have no evidence that Stelmakh ever contacted somebody “higher up”.

    And if he did, which channel did you use ? Obviously not the same phone, since if he did that would have been tapped as well.
    So he used a different channel that could not be tapped by the Ukrainians.
    But if he did, then why did he call Bezler in the first place ? And on an insecure line ?

    Also, why did Naimanets not spot any of the previous dozens of planes that flew over the area in the previous hours (when also the sky was less cloudy) ? And were there other spotters ? Which also did not see any of the dozens of planes flying over the same area ? Every day ?

    Also, Bezler was a bit of an outsider, not at good terms with other commanders in the DPR. So why

    You see, if you look at the details, it seems less likely that the true chain of command to fire a missile came from the Naimanets – Bezler line.

    This was a BUK from the 53rd Brigade from Kursk.
    Russian military.
    You would expect they would keep in control and guide the BUK TELAR directly from a command vehicle.

    Not rely on some spotter (Naimanets) who calls the wrong person (Bezler) first.

    Reply

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