By Eric van de Beek
Still from animation Dutch Safety Board (DSB). Buk missile approaches MH17.
Malaysian flight MH17 was downed by a Buk missile delivered from Russia and fired from territory controlled by rebels in eastern Ukraine. This narrative was
propagated from day one by the Ukrainian secret service SBU. Most people take it for a fact now. But the MH17 trial has just started. It’s not even been established yet a Buk was fired; let alone
a Russian Buk.
Was it really a Buk that hit MH17? A Russian Buk? As we’ve seen in Part I of this article series no radar or satellite data was presented in court
showing a Buk or any other missile. Nor did any of the intercepted phone calls presented by the Dutch Public Prosecution Service convincingly demonstrate the involvement of the rebels in eastern
Ukraine. Two anonymous witnesses, pre-selected by Ukrainian secret service SBU, have stated they saw the launch of the fatal missile, but they will not testify in court.
In the June 22 court session the lawyers of the defendant Oleg Pulatov declared that the experts are all of the same opinion: It’s “highly unlikely” a crew of a Buk
TELAR anti aircraft system would mistake a passenger plane such as MH17 for a military plane. The features of a passenger plane are very different, the lawyers argued – and a Buk TELAR has many
built in safety locks to
prevent the crew from wrongly identifying friendly objects for hostile targets.
Still from animation Dutch Safety Board (DSB). Buk TELAR launches fatal missile.
The lawyers furthermore questioned the assumption of the Public Prosecution Service that the alleged Buk warhead had detonated before
hitting MH17 after its proximity fuse had detected the plane. According to the lawyers that’s what would happen with a fighter jet, but not with a target that cannot be missed, like a passenger
plane. In such case a Buk missile would have moved in a straight line for a direct hit with the plane by using its impact fuse instead of its proximity fuse. This would probably lead to a
different damage pattern than is seen on MH17.