Disinfo: JIT ignores Russian arguments and data on MH17 downing

Summary

JIT ignores Russian arguments and data on MH17 downing. The JIT accuses Russia of being jointly responsible for the tragedy. The Russian government, which has so far been excluded from the investigation, complains that investigators have ignored Russian arguments and data. For example, the investigation team did not pay any attention to documents proving that the missile hit by Boeing belonged to the Ukrainian army. The experiments of the Russian Almaz-Antey group, which manufactures anti-aircraft equipment, including the Buk systems, were also ignored, confirming that the Buk was fired from the area controlled by the Ukrainian army.

Disproof

A recurring pro-Kremlin narrative on flight MH17 denying Russia's responsibility. Russia's interest in aiding the JIT investigation is not a relevant condition of its membership in JIT. The crash did not take place over Russian territory and claimed no Russian lives, which precludes any basis for Moscow to be represented in the JIT. Dutch Chief Prosecutor Fred Westerbeke told a Russian newspaper that "if MH17 were shot down over Russia, I would have suggested that Russia be made a member of the JIT group." The "evidence" claimed by Russia, namely radar data and the "field experiment" conducted by the Russian military company Almaz-Antey, is only a small sample of misleading claims advanced by Moscow since 2015, some of which have contradicted one another. Also, Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta found the claim that the Buk was of "Ukrainian origin" to be fabricated. The Dutch-led criminal investigation by the Joint Investigation Team (JIT) has been ongoing since 2014. On 28 September 2016, the JIT announced that flight MH17 was shot down by a missile from the 9M38 series, which was launched by a BUK TELAR missile system. The system was transported from the Russian Federation to an agricultural field near the town of Pervomaiskyi in Eastern Ukraine, from where the missile was launched. After firing, the system - with 1 missing missile - went back to the Russian Federation. On the 24th of May 2018, the JIT announced its conclusion that the BUK TELAR used to shoot down MH17 came from the 53rd Anti-Aircraft Missile Brigade, a unit of the Russian armed forces from Kursk in the Russian Federation. See further debunking by Bellingcat and similar cases here, here, and here.

publication/media

  • Reported in: Issue 168
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 09/10/2019
  • Outlet language(s) German
  • Countries and/or Regions discussed in the disinformation: Malaysia, The Netherlands, Ukraine, Russia
  • Keywords: Eastern Ukraine, War crimes, Donbas, MH17
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By staging Euromaidan, the West meant Ukraine to die

Ukrainian Euromaidan was not spontaneous. It was prepared secretly from Ukrainian society from outside Ukraine. This allows considering Euromaidan an orange revolution. The aims of Euromaidan organizers were to change the geopolitical map of Europe, namely, to destroy the Eurasian Union, to tear Ukraine apart from Russia, and to weaken Russia. The latter headed the resistance to Western neo-liberal order. In this political game, Ukraine became a bargaining chip without any independent value. The revolution organizers reckoned that without Russian ties Ukraine will be ultimately destroyed by inner contradictions. Only a few people in the West were interested in the fate of Ukraine. They wanted Ukraine to make its case and to die. Today’s Ukraine existence is fully dependent on the successful implementation of its only function, namely, to destabilize Russia. Euromaidan’s victory meant that Ukrainian statehood entered into the phase of agony. This agony will continue until Ukraine will preserve any chance to conduct aggressive, anti-Russian politics.

Disproof

This publication shares a conspiracy which contains recurring pro-Kremlin narratives about coup d'etat in Ukraine, West-staged colour revolutions, and West's attempts to tear Ukraine apart of Russia and to make it anti-Russian. There was no coup d’état in Ukraine in 2014. The spontaneous onset of the Euromaidan protests was a reaction by numerous segments of the Ukrainian population to former President Yanukovych’s violent dispersal of peaceful student protests against Yanukovych's sudden decision to withdraw from the Association Agreement with the European Union in November 2013. See the full debunk here. The Western countries did not mean Ukraine to die as alleged and, on the contrary, continue to support Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity and to provide it financial assistance. The EU is the biggest foreign donor of Ukraine. Ukraine is the largest recipient of the EU’s macro-financial aid among all non-EU countries. Since 2014, Ukraine has received on average 650 million euros every year from the EU, twice as much as from the United States. Individual EU member-states, primarily Germany, France, and the UK, have also provided financial support to Ukraine. For instance, between 2014 and 2017 Germany contributed a total of €786 million, much of it towards education and post-emergency reconstruction. The United Kingdom provided €105 million, supporting reforms in areas such as peace-building, conflict prevention, and public sector management.

Poland wants to prevent the Ukrainian-Russian reconciliation

Main political forces of Poland try to prevent the Ukrainian-Russian reconciliation – they are interested in the continuation of the conflict. They need this conflict to have an opportunity to continue frightening Polish society with the Russian Army.

Disproof

This message is a pro-Kremlin narrative on the “Russophobic elites”, which try to use an alleged Russian threat for their domestic goals. In this case, the Polish elite allegedly uses the ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine in order to frighten the Poles with Russia. See other examples of this message here, here and here. The statement that the main political forces of Poland try to prevent the reconciliation between Ukraine and Russia using their conflict for domestic goals is a conspiracy theory. The Polish government and all major political parties of this country show their full support to solving the Russia-Ukraine conflict and complete restoration of territorial integrity of Ukraine. See other examples of disinformation on the Polish-Ukrainian relations here, here and here.

NATO provokes Russia in the Black Sea region

NATO provokes Russia in the Black Sea region. However, if we analyse the events of recent months, we can see that tensions in the Black Sea region are provoked not by Russia, but by NATO. (…) The Russian Federation Council (Upper House of Parliament) then said that NATO was flexing its’ muscles and trying to demonstrate its presence in the western and southern border regions of Russia, while Georgia had become “part of the NATO mechanism for influencing Moscow”. The US has long had the idea of establishing a ‘sanitary blockade’ by states hostile to Russia – from the Baltic Sea to the Black Sea. (…) They will increase the pressure on Russia, and not just by their own efforts. Bulgaria, Romania, Ukraine and Georgia should also participate. […] The Black Sea region was nothing more than a new source of tension for the Americans, where they could provoke Russia. The recent incidents in the Kerch Strait are clear proof of this.

Disproof

No evidence given. Recurring pro-Kremlin narrative on NATO belligerence towards Russia and on Russophobia. NATO seeks no confrontation with Russia. NATO is a defensive alliance. Its purpose is to protect the member states. NATO's exercises and military deployments in the Black Sea are not directed against Russia – or any other country. NATO has reached out to Russia consistently, transparently and publicly over the past 29 years. Concerning Georgia, NATO agreed at the Wales Summit to offer Georgia a substantial package of assistance to strengthen Georgia's defence and interoperability capabilities with the Alliance. In August 2015, a NATO-Georgian Joint Training and Evaluation Centre was inaugurated in Krtsanisi to contribute to the training and interoperability of Georgian and Alliance personnel. The Training Centre is not directed against Russia, but contributes to stability by making Georgia's armed forces more professional, and by reinforcing the democratic controls over them. Moreover, NATO enlargement is not directed against Russia. Every sovereign nation has the right to choose its own security arrangements. This is a fundamental principle of European security, one that Russia has also subscribed to, and should respect. NATO enlargement has brought more stability and prosperity to Europe, including Russia. See how Russia has escalated the tensions in the Kerch Strait here.