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Fact Checking the Russian Ministry of Defence’s July 21st MH17 Press Briefing with Checkdesk

January 12, 2015

By Eliot Higgins

During Bellingcat’s investigations into the downing of MH17 it’s become clear that a number of statements made in the Russian Ministry of Defence’s July 21st Press Briefing on the downing of MH17 were simply untrue. They made claims about the flight path of MH17 and it’s diversion to another heading that were shown to be untrue by data presented by the Dutch Safety Board and from the aircraft tracking website, and their claims about the video showing the Buk missile launcher linked to the downing of MH17 being actually filmed in government controlled Krasnoarmeisk were also shown to be untrue.

As those claims have already been shown to be false Bellingcat is creating a Checkdesk story and inviting readers to contribute to the fact checking of other claims made in the press briefing.

Readers can visit Checkdesk here and contribute information about claims made by the Russian Ministry of Defence to establish whether or not those claims are accurate. Currently two claims are open for investigation; whether Buks were deployed around the crash site as the Russian Ministry of Defence claims, and the claimed detection of an SU-25 near MH17.


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. Steve

    Why are you already setting status to ‘false’ without waiting for input? Are you interested in true citizen participation or only directed support?
    This method will not increase your credibility…..

      • Steve

        The Status of the Flight Path and the BUK video is set to ‘false’ already…it is no fact checking, if the result is predefined…

    • ireneusz50

      the Russian inquiry group has proofs and satellite pictures that Ukrainian nationalists shooting down executed notice from the western world he conceals all documents and the lectures of black cases. After the flight of this airplane was altered for this, she was not this his standard road of the flight the Polish supervisory tower, he was directed on the place of shooting down through Ukrainian supervisory towers, began the change of the rout of the flight.

  2. EAS

    Russian version is still looking closer to the truth. You can’t fool all of the people all of the time with your biased reporting. People are more intelligent than you have assumed if you think they will believe what billingcat is reporting about MH17. Ukrain and the investigation team should answer the questions put by the Russians !!!! We all wait for the answers.

    • AnonymousDefender

      Sorry but which one russian version is closer to the truth?
      Su-25 which spotted in russian military brains on radar after MH17 kill?
      BUK from Zaroschenskoe which magically hit MH17 in left side instead of right side?
      Non-fresh bodies and MH370?
      Holland paratroopers-spies?
      MLRS shells?
      Mig-29/Su-27 via Leontiev?
      Pilot named Yakacud/Yakacuc?
      Pilot named Voloshin?
      Too much lie.

  3. Steve

    How come the DSB is speaking about a deviation to north, but is not showing this in their graph?

    • AnonymousDefender

      Ah! Again this so selective vision!
      Flight plan was: Take-off 1031 EET 680 minutes ETA 2151
      SUVOX 1047 FL253 , MOBSA 1053 FL310 , POVEL 1104 SUI 1120 BAREP 1125 KELOD 1126 OBOLA 1128 CZE 1130 BADUP 1134 MASIV 1136 INDIG 1136 UTOLU 1141 SUBAX FL325 1142 DERAM FL330 1142 LDZ 1144 SOMOX 1158 TOLPA 1203 OKROT 1221 CH 1228 SLV 1233 BEMBI 1235 EDIMI 1244 PEKIT 1254 TAGAN 1308 GANRA 1312 (TAMAK 1324)
      Now we looking for DSB picture:
      GANRA-TAMAK (green route) and real flight route (red) on north from it.
      New eye-ilness – kreyemlin!

      • Ukrainian Terrorist

        So, maybe will tell us why dispatcher conversation with MH17 crew is still not published? What there to hide? Change in course?

      • Steve

        Thanks for the flight-plan.
        Page 5 of the DSB report states, that at 13.00 the crew diverted 20NM to the left due to weather. I guess this timeframe is not captured by the DSB picture, right ?

        So they did divert 20NM to the left and afterwards gradually flew towards the L980 path again ? Does this happen without additional clearance ?
        Sounds weird if they ask for permission to deviate but not for permission to deviate back.

        Maybe you can help on this.

  4. Mikhail

    Documentary about MH17 from Australia. This woman asks all the right questions and goes to the source. Makes you wonder.

  5. Mikhail

    So it is Victor, you’re right, but did you watch it?
    All this evidence gets very confusing, don’t you think?

    • AnonymousDefender

      No evidence except The Courier Mail man. All others is liars which paid from Russia.
      Can you shot any of evidence?

  6. Tony

    Great articles you have. I am just wondering that the weight of the warhed of a buk missile is about 150 pounds, that is about 70 kilograms and it should have more than 4000 fragments!!!

    Where are all those fragments? I’ve never seen so many small holes on the malesian plane! Have you?

  7. Jeroen

    Radar images provided by Russia and shown to four international radar and/or ATC specialists/experts, Italian professor ing. Gaspare Galati (Roma Uni Tor Vergata), Dutch emeritus professor Piet Van Genderen (TU Delft), ATC Bob Bevelander and one preferred to stay anonymous report “no fighter plane visible”
    Radar images most likely show falling debris and (large) parts of Boeing.


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