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.