Report: Missile launcher that downed MH17 belongs to the Russian army

Buk 3x2 [Bellingcat]

The missile that brought down Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 over eastern Ukraine on 17 July 2014, killing all 298 people onboard, was fired by a missile launcher belonging to Russia’s army,  a report revealed yesterday (3 May).

Bellingcat, an award-winning open source journalistic project, published a report, which allegedly proves proves that the Buk TELAR (missile launcher) that downed the MH17 was fired by Russia’s 53rd Anti-Aircraft Missile Brigade, based in Kursk.

In November 2014, Bellingcat published a report that identified the Buk TELAR that downed Malaysian Airlines Flight 17 as a “Buk 3×2,” fired by Russia’s 53rd Anti-Aircraft Missile Brigade of Kursk. The Buk was called 3×2 due to an obscured middle digit, which was not identifiable at the time of the report’s publication.

In a new report made public Tuesday night (3 May), Bellingcat positively identify the middle digit of this Buk by matching seven characteristic features on Buk 3×2, including a unique dent on a side panel, the white marks on the chassis, and the cable arrangement connected to the missile erector.

The middle digit is a three, thus identifying the number of the Buk that downed MH17 as “332” before the middle digit was obscured. In this new investigation, members of the Bellingcat investigation team collected and analysed dozens of photographs of Buk TELARs that have been posted online by members of the 53rd Anti-Aircraft Missile Brigade since 2010.

The full report gives details on the process of determining that these three TELARs were the only possible candidates for identification. After comparing the seven unique features, Buk 332 was the only TELAR that had even one of these features in common with Buk 3×2 from materials recorded in Russia in June 2014, and eastern Ukraine on 17 and 18 July, 2014.

The full report, downloadable here, provides a detailed analysis of each of these seven features.

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