Friday, July 18, 2014

Malaysia Flight 17 Update July 18 2014 - ( how ironic we see Malaysia Airlines in the midst of another air tragedy ) - Denials and accusations fly but it's much too early to truly understand who is responsible for this tragedy ......

Long missive - Vineyard of the Saker ( highlights below , full piece at the  link ..... )

FRIDAY, JULY 18, 2014

Memories, recollections, guesses and speculations about MH17

Intro and caveat 

I think that any analysis of the events surrounding the downing of MH17 should begin with the following admission: no matter what, the AngloZionists will blame Russia.  Just like 9/11, there is no way, no amount of evidence, which would affect the unanimous chorus of Imperial doubleplusgoodthinkersin their conclusion that obviously it could only have been "the Russians". So don't expect to come across The Proof which will prove that the Empire is lying because if 9/11 proved anything it is that even hard, undeniable truth can be easily ignored by the elites and their media.

Second, I have to begin my "kind of analysis" with the following disclaimer: my information on air defense issues is about 25-30 years old which means that not only could my memory fail me, but things might have changed a great deal since I last was exposed to them.  Finally, the place from which I observed air defense happening was a rather peculiar one: from a underground army command center's air defense room which included a live fused (civilian+military) image of all the air traffic over an entire continent.  I never got anywhere near a SAM site in my life, and I sure have never seen one being operated.  Still, there are a few things which I know which might be relevant to this case.  


The task of military air defenses is dramatically different from the civilians ATC: the military expects to deal with aircraft who will do their utmost to remain undetected and once detected, the military air defense network has to figure out a way to hopefully shoot-down the enemy aircraft.  As a result, the kind of technology used by the military is very different.

The first "layer" of a military air defense network will be long range detection radars.  Their task is to try to detect an airborne target as far as possible. Although one type of radar can do this alone, typically data from different radars (including airborne ones) is fused to create a single picture.  Already at this point the air defense command post will be patched in into the civilians ATC and it will have all the flight plans, airline names, aircraft types and expected flight routes.  The air defense command post's first task is to separate civilians (considered neutral) from possible hostiles.  These 99% of flights are routine and regular, the folks in charge have a very good idea of what a normal sky looks like, they see the scheduled civilians aircraft doing their thing and they easily track them.  Some military radars even have the capability to detect the kind of aircraft they are seeing on their radar simply by analyzing the radar signal bounced back (typically by the aircraft's engine).  If a target is ambiguous, the military can use a very different type of radar to track that target: this target acquisition radar will operate on a different frequency, it will have a much narrower beam, and it will provide the operator with much more info about the aircraft even if the aircraft does not have a working transponder (which would be most unusual for a civilian airliner).  Again, modern armed forces have the means to fuse the data from any different radar types (including airborne radars) to calculate a solution to identify and track a target.  The next step is the send a special signal, like a password, to check if aircraft might not be one of your own.  Civilian aircraft are not capable of this kind if "electronic handshake". Finally, if the military air defense command post believes that the target his hostile, it selects the best radar and missile combination to engage the target.  Typically, this is done yet again by a highly specialized radar which sends a burst of energy to the target which is reflected by the airborne target and which is then caught either by a ground-based radar or even by the missile itself (that is called TVM track-via-missile) which then can guide itself to the target without emitting any signal (alternatively, the missile can his his own active guidance system which sends and receives radar signals).  Advanced air defense networks, such as Russia's, can automatically chose the best radar for each task, the missile most likely to hit, the number of missiles needed for the task, the most threatening target, the mode of engagement, etc.  These systems are highly integrated and highly automated, which also means that they are much safer than more primitive systems (more about that later).  They are also highly redundant which in practical terms means that if, say, in an ideal environment a missile system like the Buk M1 is just one part of a much bigger network of systems, it can also operate almost autonomously if needed (again, more about that later).  Now we need to look at the "who had what" on the day of the tragedy.  First, let's look at 

The Russikies and their capabilities.

While, obviously, they don't share with me the details of their moves, it is a pretty safe guess to say that, especially considering the war going on right across the border, the Russians literally had it all on that day: civilians radars, of course, but also long range radars (ground based and airborne), lots of advanced advanced surveillance (long range detection) radars, lots of tracking and fire control radars numerous radio and signal interception stations.  Since all the data from this integrated network of systems could be fused at the higher level command posts we can safely assume that the Russian side had something like "20/20 radar vision": just about as good as it can get.  There is no way the Russian shot down this aircraft by mistake.

What about the Ukrainians?

Here the reality is dramatically different: almost all of the Ukrainian air defense equipment is hopelessly outdated, far in excess of its normal shelf life.  The Ukie air defense systems have not trained with live firing for dacades.  Unlike the Russian who use contracted professionals on all crucial levels, the Ukies are known to be using conscripts simply due to a lack of funds.  To illustrate the bloodly mess the Ukie air defenses are, it is enough to recall here how gross incompetence, mismanagement and outdated equipment resulted in the downing of the Siberian Airlines civilian aircraft in 2001.  Since then, things in the Ukie air defenses have only gotten much worse.  Still, the Ukies did have an ATC which at the very least should have reported that a civilian airline had a flight plan which would follow the points XYZ.  I just cannot imagine a Ukie officer giving the order to shoot at an aircraft without checking for the available flight plans.  Also, as far as I know, nobody ever reported that the transponder on the aircraft did not work and, if so, then that means that the Ukie air defense crew should have been receiving a clear signal identifying the aircraft.  Let me add here that you can purchase special receivers and antennas which can receive transponder signals on the market and that they are comparatively cheap (1000 bucks range I think).  Lastly, but still an option, a Ukie air defense operator could have simply lifted the phone, called the ATC and asked who such as such aircraft was.  And even without that: when you see an aircraft flying right around 550 knots at 10'000m in a straight line in a civilian air traffic corridor, you can kinda guess that this is not a military aircraft on a bombing run.  So regardless of the state of disrepair of the Ukie air defense forces, there is just no way that they could have mistaken this airliner for a Russian military jet flying on a combat mission.  Oh, and did I mention MH17 was flying on  west to east course, not from Russia, but towards Russia?  Bottom line here for me is this: there is no way the Ukies could have shot down this aircraft by mistake.

The Novorussians now

Well, here again we truly have a dramatically different picture emerging.  First, the Novorussians have no ATC.  Second, 99% of their air defense systems are either MANPADs (man portable) or heavy machine guns.  I did see footage of some kind of air defense radar and command post, but I suspect that this was simply one surveillance radar left by the Ukies.  No data fusion here, no integrated air defense network, no long range missiles.  Except for the few Buk M-1s which they did get as a trophy when they took control a Ukie base a month or so ago.  The fact is that I am still unsurewhether they really got anything operable systems at all (the Ukies claim that their soldiers had disabled them, but that might not be true).  But we probably have to assume that they got their hands on a least one operational vehicle with its own surveillance radar, engagement radar and missiles.  As I mentioned earlier, modern states would integrate the Buk into a full air defense network, but since in war time this might not be possible, it is possible for the Buk to detect, acquire and engage a target all by itself.  Frankly, I find it very unlikely that the systems the Novorussians got their hands on would have been operational.  I find it even more unlikely that they would also have the people to operate them.  Still, just to cover our bases, we have to assume that with Russian aid these systems could have been more or less fixed, and that a crew could also have been sent from Russia.  Unlikely? Far fetched?  Yes.  But, alas, not impossible.

Still, there is the flight profile issue.  The real threat for Novorussians comes from close air support (low level) and from reconnaissance (medium level) aircraft.  Not those flying at 10'000 meters.  Also, a Boeing 777 is much larger than an An-26, Su-25, Su-24 or even Su-27.  Also, ask yourself, IF you had such a capable and advanced air defense system as the Buk, would you waste it on a poorly identified target?  Probably not.  Still, I think that at least in theory the Nororussians could have shot down this aircraft.  Now let's look at the famous

Cui bono?

Well here at least the reply is unambiguous: only the junta in Kiev could have benefited from this tragedy.  For the Russians and the Novorussians, this is something between a real pain and a disaster.  Just when the Novorussians were winning without any overt help from Moscow and just when Moscow was gradually successful in denouncing the human costs of Poroshenko's murderous policies - suddenly the entire planet focuses just on one downed aircraft and the imperial corporate media blames it all on Russia.  As for Poroshenko, this disaster is God-sent: not only has everybody forgotten that much promised "surprise" turned out to be a disaster, he can now kill scores of Novorussians with no risks of that being reported in the corporate media.  Not only that, but that gives the Ukies a golden excuse to ask for ""protection" from their "aggressive and threatening neighbor".   Again, the only party who can benefit from this disaster is the junta.  So, in summary, we have this list of candidates:

1) A deliberate or mistaken Russian attack: superlatively unlikely
2) A mistaken Ukrainian attack: most unlikely
3) A deliberate Ukrainian attack: most likely
4) A mistaken Novorussian attack: possible
5) A deliberate Novorussian attack: most unlikely

I don't know about you, but to me #3 is the one blinking red.


I would say that at this point in time I am 90% in favor of the deliberate Ukie attack theory.  The remaining 10% I would give to the mistaken Novorussian attack version.  I am more than willing to change my mind if I get new facts.

Stuff we should look for

First, the black boxes.  Even when hit, most pilots have the time to say something and that something is usually recorded and radioed.  Depending on the frequency used, that "something" should have been heard by PLENTY of receivers, not only the Ukie ATC.  But at the very least, we should have the voice and data recorders from the last minutes of MH17.

Second, Russian radar tracks.  That is a problem.  The Russian military is one of the worst offenders in terms of secrecy and short of a direct order by Putin, they are likely to be most uncooperative.  Still, these guys probably have it all: ATC chatter, pilot messages, transporter signal, exact location of the missile(s) launched, point of impact, etc.  As I said, they most likely had a 20/20 vision of the air space over Donetsk.  The trick is to get them to share it, especially with the corporate media and the "independent" experts all already clamoring that the Russians are tampering with the flight recorders.  Still, things are changing in Russia, possibly after the PR disaster following the Soviet shooting down of KAL 007 (which most definitely was a US spy mission and deliberate provocation), they are more willing to share data.  A spokesman for the Russian Air Force has already disclosed that they had recorded the signals of a Ukie BukM1 battery surveillance radar at the moment of the tragedy.  He even identified the exact Ukie unit involved.  Hopefully, as this scandal snowballs, the Kremlin will order the Russian Air Force to make more data public.  Not to convince Uncle Sam and his EU minions, of course, but at least to convince the rest of the planet.

Speaking of Uncle Sam and his EU minions.  They also know.  The US and NATO maintains a 24/7 surveillance of Ukie and Russian air space at least to the Urals, possibly even on the other side (though I am not sure).  I bet you that Obama was told who done it within 2 hours of the tragedy happening.  That info was probably shared with the Echelon countries, but not with the rest of NATO, but even they probably know thanks to their own intelligence capability (Banderastan is chock-full of EU spies not a single one of which was ever caught by the Ukie SBU since independence!).  So here again we have a 9/11 kind of situation: everybody knows, but nobody will admit it.

The last question then

There is an obvious last question which we need to ask: if the Ukies did it, could they have done so without the US knowing about it?  The answer, in case anybody had any doubts about this, is absolutely categorically and emphatically not.  No way Jose, not this regime, not one which is 110% dependent of, and submitted to, Uncle Sam.  In other words, if this was a deliberate Ukie attack, then this really was a deliberate US attack.  Not quite a "false flag", but a sneaky dirty trick, a longtime US specialty.  The typical US way works like this: organized and planned by Uncle Sam, paid for by the Saudis, executed by the Israelis.  At least that is the historical record for US dirty tricks.  That is also most likely how 9/11 was done.  Why bring it 9/11 several times at the risk of infuriating the doubleplusgoodthinking crowd yet again?  No, not just for the heck of it, but to remind everybody that the folks who killed 3000+ people on 9/11 would not hesitate for a nanosecond to kill "only" 300 or so, especially if the risk of getting caught is negligible, which in this case it is.  If in the case of 9/11 it is the entire Establishment which by stupidity or by cowardice which was made an accomplice of the crime, in this case the folks who did it will have the support of a rabidly russophobic Establishment which will not care one bit about the truth as long as it allows it to further flame the flames of hatred against Russia.

A provisional conclusion of sorts - Lasciate Ogni Speranza

This crime will never be properly investigated nor will the culprits ever be punished for it.  Oh sure, there will be plenty of books in the future who will reveal it all in minute details but, as Michel Parenti always reminds us, history is not only written by victors, it is also written by the elites, the oligarchs, the banking establishment, the 1%ers.  If anything, 9/11 has proven that our society is completely indifferent to facts and proof.  Our society is ruled by ideological dogma and political expediency.  In the case of MH17 the accepted dogma is that the Novorussians are the bad guys and the political expediency says that this latest crime cannot be blamed on the "heroic Euro-Ukrainian freedom fighters" or, even less so, on Uncle Sam.

Just as I wrote this last sentence above, I decided to check my  favorite Imperial Mouthpiece and, sure enough, I read this: "US President Barack Obama has said a surface-to-air missile fired from a rebel-held area in east Ukraine brought down Malaysia Airlines flight MH17".  See, that is that simple!  How needs flight recorders of radar tracks anyway?!  If the US President said so, then it is so.  Any other interpretation is a criminal delusion bordering on terrorism.  How needs proof when we got both Poroshenko and Obama saying that the Russikies did it?

I am disgusted beyond words by both of these ugly, evil, clowns.

Well, I hope that that some of you will have found the exercises above useful, regardless of all my caveats.  I wish my recollection of working with air defenses was better and I wish my knowledge was not 25 year old.  As always, this is the best I can do and I share it to you, my friends, in the hope to resist the imperial propaganda machine the best I can.  If there are those amongst you who have a more recent and possibly more hands-on knowledge of these topics, I beg them to share that knowledge with the rest of us.

Kind regards and many thanks,

The Saker


 Retweeted by 
The same family that lost two members on flight MH370 have lost two more on MH17

says Moscow does not plan to take MH17 "black box" from pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine

 Retweeted by 

Why Russia let the shootdown happen: Putin needs his war, and he needs to win

Geolocating the Missile Launcher Linked to the Downing of MH17 - A case study looking at the process of finding the exact position a video showing the missile launcher linked to the downing of MH17 was filmed.

from where lunatics fire missiles at residential areas. 20+ dead

MT: Was Col. Strelkov’s Dispatch About a Downed “Ukrainian Plane” Authentic? | The Interpreter via

The missile system behind the downing of is common, lethal, and has poor radar

 Retweeted by 
Ukrainian government claims the launcher which fired the missile has been spotted moving back towards Russian territory. -- David Martin

The Final Moments Of Flight MH-17: The Russian Side Of The Story

Tyler Durden's picture

Yesterday, we laid out extensively what the official Ukrainian case was when it came to "proof" that Russian separatists had launched the Buk missile which allegedly took down flight MH-17; we also highlighted several glaring inconsistencies and questions that still remained open after the "incriminatory" YouTube clip release. So far, any international response has been muted to this hastily prepared evidence of Russian involvement, although the day is still young.
So what about the Russian side? Below we present the key arguments made by Russia to suggest that not it, but Ukraine, was responsible for taking down the Malaysian Boeing.
As reported earlier by RIA, the Russian Defense Ministry says it had intercepted the activity of a Ukrainian radar system on the day the Malaysian plane went down in eastern Ukraine, the ministry’s press service said Friday.
"Throughout the day on July 17, Russian means of radar surveillance intercepted the operation of the Buk-M1 battery’s Kupol radar station located in the region of the populated area of Styla [30 kilometers south of Donetsk]," the press service said in a statement.
“The technical capabilities of the Buk-M1 allow the exchange of data on air targets between batteries of one battalion. Thus, the launch of rockets could have also occurred from any of the batteries deployed in the populated area of Avdeevka [8 kilometers north of Donetsk] or from Gruzsko-Zoryanskoe [25 kilometers east of Donetsk],” the ministry said.
Then we go to Itar-Tass which reported that civil flights in the air space of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions cannot be performed as the relevant communications infrastructure was destroyed there, a source from the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) told ITAR-TASS on Thursday.
Kiev operates all air traffic control services and it is unclear how this plane (the Malaysian Airlines Boeing 777 that crashed in eastern Ukraine near the Russian border Thursday night. — ITAR-TASS) could appear in the area,” he said.
“During the combat actions in Donetsk’s airport the communication tower, a part of the united air control service was blown up,” he said adding that “planes cannot fly there.”
On July 8, Ukraine’s State Aviation Service banned all flights over the Donetsk and Luhansk regions aiming to provide “adequate safety and security for all flights of civil aircraft in favor of state aviation.
Meanwhile, Ukraine's National Security and Defense Council took a decision to close the airspace over the area of the so-called anti-terror operation to commercial flights three days ago, Rosaviatsia reported.
This goes back to our post from last night in which we wondered just why and how did it happen that flight MH-17 diverted from its usual trajectory to fly over what was effectively restricted airspace.  This also is the topic of a follow up piece by Bloomberg released overnight in which it was noted that "Malaysian Air Flight Took Route Avoided by Qantas, Asiana:"
Qantas hasn’t used the route for a few months, said Andrew McGinnes, a spokesman for the Australian carrier, while Hong Kong-based Cathay Pacific said it has been detouring for “quite some time.” Korean Air Lines Co. and Asiana Airlines Inc. said in statements they have been avoiding the area since March 3.
One hopes that all lingering questions about the flight path, and where the instructions to change it came from, will be answered when the contents of the flight black box are released.
And finally, as RT reported, the national governor of the Donetsk region, Pavel Gubarev, admitted that while the separatists indeed are in possession of one BUK missile unit, it is not operational, and even if it was, it would be unable to reach a height of over 30,000 feet without central radar guidance which the Donetsk region does not have, once again suggesting that a Surface to Air Missile, if indeed one was used, came from the Ukraine side. Surely it will be very easy for international monitors to validate this report.
We will ignore circulating reports of two Ukraine jets that may have followed the Boeing as there is, at least for now, zero direct or circumstantial evidence validating this story aside from one Twitter account which has since been deleted.
In brief the plot thickens, and all that matters now is whose propaganda, read media outlets, will be more persuasive although in reality even that is moot: in the echo chambers of ideology, most people already have their mind made up as to "who" the shooter was.



1. Immediately after the tragedy, the Ukrainian authorities, naturally, blamed it on the self-defense forces. What are these accusations based on?
2. Can Kiev explain in detail how it uses Buk missile launchers in the conflict zone? And why were these systems deployed there in the first place, seeing as the self-defense forces don’t have any planes?
3. Why are the Ukrainian authorities not doing anything to set up an international commission? When will such a commission begin its work?
4. Would the Ukrainian Armed Forces be willing to let international investigators see the inventory of their air-to-air and surface-to-air missiles, including those used in SAM launchers?
5. Will the international commission have access to tracking data from reliable sources regarding the movements of Ukrainian warplanes on the day of the tragedy?
6. Why did Ukrainian air traffic controllers allow the plane to deviate from the regular route to the north, towards “the anti-terrorist operation zone”?
7. Why was airspace over the warzone not closed for civilian flights, especially since the area was not entirely covered by radar navigation systems?
8. How can official Kiev comment on reports in the social media, allegedly by a Spanish air traffic controller who works in Ukraine, that there were two Ukrainian military planes flying alongside the Boeing 777 over Ukrainian territory?
9. Why did Ukraine’s Security Service start working with the recordings of communications between Ukrainian air traffic controllers and the Boeing crew and with the data storage systems from Ukrainian radars without waiting for international investigators?
10. What lessons has Ukraine learned from a similar incident in 2001, when a Russian Tu-154 crashed into the Black Sea? Back then, the Ukrainian authorities denied any involvement on the part of Ukraine’s Armed Forces until irrefutable evidence proved official Kiev to be guilty.

Vineyard of the Saker.....

A word of caution about premature conclusions

I am very sorry to have to tell you all that it is too early to conclude that the Novorussian forces did not shoot down the Malaysian airliners. Though most Novorussian air defense systems are man-portable, the Resistance forces did get their hands on some 9K37 Buk missile systems which are quite capable of hitting a civilian airliner at normal cruising speed and altitude.

I am not, repeat, NOT saying that the Novorussians did it. Furthermore, at least one Russian military expert, Igor Korochenko, has declared that the Ukrainian side had officially declared that the Ukrainian soldiers had managed to disable these systems before they fell into the Novorussian hands. But even that is hardly proof of anything. First, I have seen no such Ukrainian official statement. Second, the Ukrainians soldiers could have lied to cover their collective read ends. Third, the Novorusssians could have fixed these systems. So unless the Novorussians have some solid proof that their Buks were inoperable, they have to be included in a list of possible suspects.

There are already speculations about a false flag, about Ukie military aircraft seen flying next to the Malaysian aircraft, even about some parachutes seen near the place were the plane was shot down. I have even seen some speculations about Putin's official aircraft looking like the Malaysian one and that this could have been an attempt to shoot it down. Clearly the rumor mill is blasting at full power.

Still, the Ukies have already immensely benefited from this incident: now that all the media is completely focused on what happened to this Malaysian airliner, nobody is informed of the catastrophic failure of Poroshenko "surprise" offensive. Right there we already have the first cui bono going to the junta. Second, since no matter what happened the western regimes and media will blame the Russians for this incident, the Ukies will use it in their propaganda campaign (they apparently have already asked NATO for "help" whatever that means). So that is a second cui bono for the junta. As for the Novorussians and Russia, this incident is really the last thing they need.

For whatever it's worth, and without wanting to give anybody false hopes, I personally think that it is extremely unlikely that the Russians did it because they have a fully integrated, multi layered, advance air defense systems staffed only by specialists. In contrast, the Ukies have an old, decrepit, non-integrated air defense "system" staffed by underpaid, demoralized and poorly trained conscripts. And since the Kremlin likes to maintain the illusion that it does not control the Novorussians, even if there is proof that the latter are responsible for this catastrophe, this will not directly implicate Russia (which would have been the worst option). I hope that the Russians will be able to prove that the Novorussians did not do it by, for example, finding key parts of the missile(s) which hit MH17 or by showing all the Resistance missiles "unshot", right there in the hangars were they were found.

Another thing which has not been done is a careful calculation of the exact flight envelope of the missiles in Novorussian hands. In the real world, you cannot just say that a missile can shoot a target going at speed X and altitude Y. You need to calculate an exact flight envelope and compare it against the exact flight characteristics of the target supposedly hit. In other words, until somebody makes such an analysis, there is no proof that the Novorussian Buks could have shot down this aircraft.

Then, let's see what the black boxes show. Apparently, those were found by the good guys and sent to Moscow. Also, the Russian Air Defenses have the exact flight parameters of the Malaysian aircraft and of any missile(s) which could have hit him. If the Ukies did it, chances are pretty good that the Russians will be able to prove it. Alas, if the Novorussians did it, the Russians will probably also provide the evidence as covering up for it would be foolish.

For the time being, let's not run after each rumor and let's just wait for 48 hours or so, when at least we will have some facts to look at. And let's pray that this was not a mistake by the Novorussians.

The Saker


Statement by the Press Secretary on Malaysian Airlines Flight 17

The United States is shocked by the downing of Malaysian Airlines Flight 17, and we offer our deep condolences to all those who lost loved ones on board. We continue to seek information to determine whether there were any American citizens on board.

It is critical that there be a full, credible, and unimpeded international investigation as quickly as possible.

We urge all concerned – Russia, the pro-Russian separatists, and Ukraine – to support an immediate cease-fire in order to ensure safe and unfettered access to the crash site for international investigators and in order to facilitate the recovery of remains. The role of international organizations – such as the United Nations and the OSCE in Ukraine – may be particularly relevant for this effort, and we will be in touch with affected nations and our partners in these organizations in the coming hours and days to determine the best path forward.

In the meantime, it is vital that no evidence be tampered with in any way and that all potential evidence and remains at the crash site are undisturbed. The United States remains prepared to contribute immediate assistance to any international investigation, including through resources provided by the NTSB and the FBI.

While we do not yet have all the facts, we do know that this incident occurred in the context of a crisis in Ukraine that is fueled by Russian support for the separatists, including through arms, materiel, and training. This incident only highlights the urgency with which we continue to urge Russia to immediately take concrete steps to de-escalate the situation in Ukraine and to support a sustainable cease-fire and path toward peace that the Ukrainian government has consistently put forward.

So here we are... Ukraine blames Russian separatists, Putin blames Ukraine, USA blames Russia... and has the tapes to "prove" it


On Thursday, when a Malaysian Airlines plane was apparently shot down over Ukraine, a Ukrainian Buk anti-aircraft missile battery was operational in the region, the Russian Defense Ministry said, contradicting Kiev’s statements.
The battery was deployed at a site from which it could have fired a missile at the airliner, the ministry said in a statement. It said radiation from the battery’s radar was detected by the Russian military.
“The Russian equipment detected throughout July 17 the activity of a Kupol radar, deployed as part of a Buk-M1 battery near Styla [a village some 30km south of Donetsk],” the ministry said in a statement.
The ministry said the radar could be providing tracking information to another battery deployed in the region, which was at a firing distance from the plane’s flight path.
Earlier Kiev said it could not have fired a missile at the passing civilian plane because it had no Buk missile launchers deployed in the region. At the same time the Ukrainians said the militias had no Buk systems in their hands, according to a statement from the country’s Prosecutor General.

After the Russian ministry came out with the statement, Bogdan Senyk, a spokesman for the Ukrainian Defense Ministry reiterated Kiev’s position, saying that "anti-aircraft missiles have not been deployed during the anti-terrorist operation ... they are all in place."


As the world tries to cope with the tragic loss of almost 300 people in the apparent downing of a Malaysian Airlines plane over Ukraine, questions have arisen over why the civil aircraft was directed over a war zone.
MH17, carrying passengers from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur, crashed on Thursday in Ukraine’s Donetsk Region, the scene of intensive battles between Ukrainian troops and local militias defying Kiev’s rule. In the last several days the militias scored a number of successes, including the reported downing of three Ukrainian military aircraft.
Despite the violence on the ground and apparent danger to aircraft, the Malaysian airliner was directed to pass right over the warzone and was apparently shot down by a sophisticated anti-aircraft missile fired by a Buk-type launcher. No one has claimed responsibility for the act, which resulted in the largest loss of life in the Ukrainian armed conflict so far.
“There are still question to answer like why this plane was flying over that area, whether it was on the correct flight path. It was flying over a war zone where missiles have been fired. It’s a war zone, so why was it flying over there?” blogger and writer Neil Clark asked in an interview with RT.


The carriers had good reason to fly over Ukraine, because it’s the shortest route between many European countries and large cities in Southeast Asia. Shorter fly paths means less fuel spent and larger profits from the airlines. Hundreds of flights passed Ukraine daily before the conflict there escalated, and the traffic remained quite intensive before Thursday’s tragedy.
What’s peculiar about MH17 is that the ill-fated flight was different from its usual path over Ukraine. According to data at, a website tracking civil aviation traffic, the flight on Thursday diverted about 200km north from the paths the Malaysian Airlines Boeing 777 had used in previous days. And it led the plane right over the war-torn Donetsk Region.
So far no official explanation has been given as to the unusual flight path. But a conflict between Russia and Ukraine over the airspace above Crimea may have played a role. The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAN), a UN watchdog, considers the airspace over the region part of Ukraine’s national traffic control responsibility. Russia has contested this ever since the former Ukrainian region became part of Russia.
Amid the conflict most carriers avoid flying through Crimean airspace. Malaysian Airlines is no exception, and MH17 flights were usually routed over the Azov Sea northwest of Crimea or over the Black Sea to the north of it. If flying over the Azov Sea was not available for some reason on Thursday, the carrier could have been advised by Ukrainian traffic control to divert the flight further north.

Putin’s statement came after he contacted Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte to express condolences over the deaths of his fellow citizens in the disaster.
The majority of the passengers of the ill-fated flight, which was apparently shot down over the war zone in eastern Ukraine on Thursday, were from the Netherlands.
Earlier the Interstate Aviation Committee (IAC), a Russia-based international body tasked with investigation of all civil aircraft incidents in most former Soviet republics, including Ukraine, called for the formation of an international investigative group under the aegis of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), a UN body, to investigate the incident.
The IAC said such a group should be handed over MH17 flight recorders, which are currently being recovered in Ukraine’s Donetsk Region.


So far two flight recorders from the plane have been reportedly recovered in the region currently controlled by the militia forces. Some militia officials said they intended to hand them over to Moscow because they didn’t trust Kiev to properly investigate the incident.
The probe into the loss of the Boeing-777 is bound to be a politically loaded one. There was no official confirmation that the plane was shot down rather than crashed from a different cause, but the parties involved are already trading blame for the tragedy.

Both the Ukrainian military and the militias fighting against Kiev denied shooting at the plane and stated that they had no capability to take down an aircraft flying 10,000 meters high.


Some politicians and Western media are pointing fingers at Russia, alleging that it is responsible for the Malaysia Airlines plane’s loss. They claim Moscow could have provided a missile launcher, which the Ukrainian militia used to take down the plane.
Kiev in the past few days accused the Russian military of several direct attacks in its territory, including an airstrike, which militia reported as conducted by the Ukrainian military, and a downing of a Ukrainian military plane, which militia claimed was their doing. The Russian military called the accusations absurd.
Hours after the crash of the Boeing 777 was reported, Kiev published what it called intercepted communications between militia officers and their Russian handler to apparently discuss the take-down of a civilian aircraft by the militia. The militia labeled the recording “an amateurish fake.”

Ukraine rebels pledge truce for jet recovery

Separatists promise to cease fire for two to four days after Malaysian plane went down in suspected missile strike.

Last updated: 18 Jul 2014 11:34
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Pro-Russian separatists have promised to cease fire for two to four days in eastern Ukraine to allow recovery work at the site where a Malaysian airliner carrying 298 people crashed, Russia's RIA news agency quoted a rebel leader as saying.
The announcement came as world leaders demanded an investigation into the cause of Thursday's crash, with the US and Germany saying there were indications the plane was shot down.
Emergency workers, police officers and even off-duty coal miners searched through wreckage and bodies scattered over a wide stretch of Ukrainian farmland, about 50km from the Russian border.
Al Jazeera's Scott Heidler, reporting from the scene near the village of Grabovo, said rescue workers were using sticks with white rags on the top to mark the location of bodies.
Ukraine, whose investigators have so far had no access to the area, has called for an international probe to determine who attacked the plane and insisted it was not its military. US intelligence authorities said a surface-to-air missile downed the plane, but could not say who fired it.
The Russian defence ministry said a Ukrainian radar station of surface-to-air missiles was operating on Thursday, but a spokesman for Ukraine's security council said no missiles in the country's armoury had been fired.
The rebels, who have risen up against Kiev's rule, will give unhampered access to the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe, International Civil Aviation Organisation and Ukrainian detectives, said Andrei Purgin, a senior leader of the self-declared Donetsk People's Republic.
The announcement came as Ukraine closed the airspace over eastern regions where it is carrying out a security operation against separatists, the country's infrastructure ministry said.
The ministry said on its website that the airspace was completely closed over the eastern Donetsk and Luhansk regions where fighting has been raging and also partially prohibited flights above the neighbouring Kharkiv region.
Russian airlines have also limited their flights to Ukraine after the incident.
Call for probe
Flight MH17, en route from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur, was flying at about 33,000 feet [10km] over Ukraine when it was brought down. A majority of the passengers and crew on board were Dutch.
In a phone call with the Dutch prime minister Mark Rutte, the Russian president Vladimir Putin called for a "thorough and unbiased" investigation into the crash.
"The head of the Russian state underlined that the tragedy yet again highlighted the need for the swiftest peaceful solution to the acute crisis in Ukraine," the Kremlin said in a statement.
Despite the shooting down of several Ukrainian military aircraft in the area in recent months, including two this week, and renewed accusations from Kiev that Russian forces were taking a direct part, international air lanes had remained open.
Both sides in the conflict have accused each other of shooting down the Malaysian airlines jetliner.
After the downing of several Ukrainian military aircraft in the area in recent months, including two this week, Kiev accused Russian forces of playing a direct role.
The Malaysian transport minister, Liow Tiong Lai, said it would be an outrage against human decency if the plane was found to have been shot down.
"Should this be confirmed, it will contravene international law and be an outrage against human decency," Liow told reporters in Kuala Lumpur.
He said also that Malaysia welcomed the call for an independent investigation into the disaster.
Al Jazeera's Neave Barker, reporting from Schiphol airport in Amsterdam, said the fear among relatives of the Dutch victims was that crucial time may have been lost shortly after the crash when investigators should have been at the scene.
"The plane crashed in a disputed area, a place where Ukrainian forces and separatists are at bitter loggerheads," he said. "The worry is that the truth about how and why the plane crashed may be lost in the political dispute."
Al Jazeera and agencies