Disinfo: JIT didn't do a proper investigation of MH17's downing, accusations against Russia are unfounded

Summary

The joint investigation team (JIT) investigating the Malaysian Boeing MH17’s downing did not conduct a real investigation into the role of Ukraine in this tragedy. The materials transmitted by us [Russia] were either ignored or called fabricated. At the same time, without any questions, data from dubious sources, including what was obviously provided by the interested party, Ukraine, were included in the case. However, no real investigation was conducted into the role of Ukraine in the crash of flight MH17 – in connection with the Ukrainian authorities not closing the airspace for civilian flights over the zone of armed conflict. Allegations of Russia’s involvement in the crash of the Malaysian Boeing are unfounded and regrettable, the investigation is biased and one-sided. All the missiles, the engine of which the Dutch investigators demonstrated, were disposed after 2011 in Russia.

Disproof

The report advances recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation about the dowing of the flight MH17 and the subsequent Joint International Investigation. The public hearing on causing the crash of the MH17 and murdering the 289 persons on board started on 9 March 2020 in the Netherlands. The trial, and not any other institution or official, is able to assess the evidence provided. The Russian government is not an official party at the trial for formal legal reasons: the downing occurred over Ukrainian territory and there were no Russian citizens aboard. At that, the sole Russian defendant represented at the trial has the possibility to effectively carry out his defence and advance his own evidence. So far, Russian officials advanced their "irrefutable evidence", to which the disinformation report refers, publicly. The evidence claimed by Russia, namely radar data and the documentation on the missile Buk's engine identified origin are only a small sample of misleading claims advanced by Moscow since 2015, some of which have contradicted one another. The disinformation narrative refers both to a Russian radar which did not detect any Buk missile and at the same time, to the claim that the Buk was of "Ukrainian origin" (evidence advanced by Russia which Novaya Gazeta found to be fabricated). As such, the results of the investigation of the Joint Investigation Team remain unchanged: flight MH17 was shot down by a missile from the 9M38 series, which was launched by the BUK TELAR system. The system was transported from the Russian Federation to an agricultural field near the city of Pervomaiskiy in eastern Ukraine, from where the rocket was launched. After firing, the system with one missing missile returned to the Russian Federation. On May 24 2018, JIT announced in its conclusion that the Buk belongs to the 53rd Anti-Aircraft Missile Brigade, a unit of the Russian armed forces in Kursk, Russian Federation. See more disinformation cases on MH17.

publication/media

  • Reported in: Issue 199
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 28/05/2020
  • Outlet language(s) Russian
  • Countries and/or Regions discussed in the disinformation: The Netherlands, Ukraine, Russia
  • Keywords: MH17
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The people of Armenia, Georgia, Ukraine and Kazakhstan are "biomaterial" for the Pentagon

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Disproof

This is a recurring conspiracy theory alleging that the United States develops biological weapons and has secret biological laboratories around the world. Consistent with the Pro-Kremlin disinformation campaign against biological laboratories in Armenia, Georgia, Ukraine and other countries. The conspiracy about US biolabs in countries bordering Russia aiming to encircle Moscow and spread infectious diseases is a part of a years-long disinformation campaign led by the Kremlin. In fact, biological laboratories are involved in preventing the risks of complex diseases and, together with other similar projects, counteracting bioterrorism. In Ukraine, the claim often refers to the Science and Technology Center in Ukraine (STCU), which is an intergovernmental organisation established in an international agreement in 1993. Its mission is to support civilian science, technology partnerships and collaboration through chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear risk mitigation. The projects of STCU partners include research on adjuvant for improvement of cancer vaccines, detecting trace impurities in biological tissues, human vision diagnostics, and therapy among many others.

In Georgia, it is the Richard Lugar Centre for Public Health Research, which is a facility of the National Centre for Disease Control and Public Health (NCDC). It is a top-tiered institution in NCDC’s laboratory network and serves as a reference laboratory for Georgia’s public health system. Read more about the disinformation campaign surrounding the Lugar Laboratory on Myth Detector.

The US/NATO defense systems in Eastern Europe can be used to destroy Russian defense potential

The multipurpose ocean system “Poseidon” is Russia’s asymmetric response to the dangerous concentration of the Pentagon and NATO’s strike potential in Eastern Europe. And to the formation of a US missile defense system there, which can be used to destroy the defense potential of the Russian Federation.

Disproof

Speculative statements, an attempt to justify the creation of weapons of mass destruction as a response to an alleged threat from NATO. Consistent with the recurring pro-Kremlin narrative on NATO belligerence towards Russia. NATO's missile defence system is defensive and not directed against Russia. Bilateral agreements between the US and host nations do not allow missile sites to be used for any purpose other than missile defence. NATO's exercises and military deployments in the Eastern Europe not directed against Russia – or any other country. Exercises are designed to ensure that NATO forces are trained, able to operate together and ready to respond to any threat from any direction. NATO has reached out to Russia consistently, transparently and publicly over the past 29 years. The allegation about NATO's plans to wage a war against Russia was addressed on NATO's official website: "Any claims that NATO is preparing an attack on Russia are absurd." NATO is a defensive alliance and does not pose a threat to Russia. Its purpose is to protect its member states. Every country that joins NATO undertakes to uphold its principles and policies, and this includes the commitment that "the Alliance does not seek confrontation and poses no threat to Russia," as reaffirmed at the Brussels Summit. For more information about NATO-Russia relations and disinformation narratives about NATO, see here and here. Here you can see other examples of disinformation on NATO alleged goals in Crimea and its intentions to introduce a fleet to the Azov Sea, provocations against Russia in the Black Sea or the dangers created by the Alliance’s activities in those waters, preparations for big war, NATO provokes Russia in the Black Sea region.

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UNs report on the human rights situation in Ukraine for the period16 November 2019 to 15 February 2020 says that most civilian victims of the conflict in 2019 are in the self-proclaimed republics. Therefore, it can be inferred that they were bombed by the Ukrainian occupying forces.

Disproof

Recurrent disinformation about the illegitimacy of Kyiv to control the Donbas and eastern Ukraine. The Ukrainian armed forces represent the legal government and cannot be considered "occupying forces". Parts of the region is under control of Russian forces and separatist entities. The UN report expresses criticism on behalf of all parties for failing to protect civilians in areas adjacent to the separation line. The full report can be found here:

OHCHR remains gravely concerned by continued arbitrary detention, torture and illtreatment of conflict-related detainees, both in Government-controlled territory and in territory controlled by the self-proclaimed ‘republics’.