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Russia: MH17 – The Open Source Evidence - by Eliot Higgins

After the downing of MH17 on July 17, a number of photographs and videos were shared online claiming to show the movements of a Buk missile launcher through separatist-controlled territory. It was possible to confirm the location where each image was recorded and discover additional information that further evidenced when and where the Buk missile launcher was on July 17. The following is an approximate timeline of where the Buk was and when:
  • 10:45 am: Departed Donetsk eastbound along H21
  • 11:00 am – 12:00 pm: Passed Zuhres and Shakhtersk en route to Torez along H21
  • 12:00 pm – 12:45 pm: Entered and then passed through Torez (eastbound)
  • 1:00 pm: Entered Snizhne
  • 1:30 pm – 2:30 pm: Buk was unloaded from the Volvo low-loader truck in Snizhne; left the city (southbound)
  • 4:20 pm: MH17 shot down
Before the first reports and images of the Buk missile launcher were recorded in Donetsk, communications intercepted by the Ukrainian Security Services (SBU) provided information on the earlier movements of the Buk missile launcher. Intercepts include separatists discussing the arrival of the Buk,[1] and references to a location inside Donetsk known as the “Motel.”[2] The Motel, located in the east of Donetsk and used by separatist forces as a base, is close to locations described in social media postings by Donetsk locals who reported sightings of a Buk missile launcher being transported through the city. These sightings are also close to the location where two images showing a Buk missile launcher being transported on the back of a red low-loader were taken, later published by Paris Match[3] and Bellingcat.[4]

Read more: MH17 – The Open Source Evidence

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