Disinfo: MH17 tribunal aimed at the previously established guilt of Russian officials

Summary

Alternative explanations for the MH17 disaster are reportedly not yet relevant to the trial, not for the prosecutors anyway, but hardly for the judges either. Everything seems to be geared towards the previously established guilt of Russian officials. The Dutch political scientist Kees van der Pijl, author of the book “The Shotdown – Flight MH17, Ukraine and the New Cold War” had warned against a “show trial” because of this line that had been made clear beforehand, which only wanted to prove the alleged Russian guilt. (…) The trial remains inconclusive and no real evidence of the defendants’ guilt and Russia’s alleged responsibility has yet been presented.

Disproof

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative on the downing of flight MH17 over Ukraine, aiming to discredit the criminal trial and the Joint Investigation Team (JIT).

A special team, known as the Joint Investigation Team (JIT), was established to conduct the criminal investigation of the downing of the Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 in 2014. The team comprises officials from the Dutch Public Prosecution Service and the Dutch police, along with police and criminal justice authorities from Australia, Belgium, Malaysia and Ukraine.

In order to find out the cause of the crash, the Joint Investigation Team investigated all human remains, personal belongings and wreckage of the aircraft found in the vicinity of the disaster site. The traces were secured and investigated and compared by experts. In addition, the JIT sought and heard witnesses and experts, analysed radar and satellite images, assessed large amounts of telecom data such as intercepted telephone conversations and analysed big data. Read more about the investigation here.

The results of the investigation of the Joint Investigation Team are clear: 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. The public hearing on the incident started on 9 March 2020 in the Netherlands.

The European Union and NATO have called on the Russian Federation to accept its responsibility and to fully cooperate with all efforts to establish accountability. On the basis of the JIT’s conclusions, the Netherlands and Australia are convinced that Russia is responsible for the deployment of the BUK installation that was used to down MH17. The two governments are formally holding Russia accountable.

Read other disinformation cases alleging that the MH17 show trial is not about justice, but information warfare and that JIT tampered with the evidence.

This disinformation message appeared in the same article as the claim that there is no evidence that MH17 was shot by a Russian BUK missile.

publication/media

  • Reported in: Issue 206
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 17/07/2020
  • Language/target audience: German
  • Country: Australia, Malaysia, Russia, Ukraine, The Netherlands
  • Keywords: Eastern Ukraine, West, Anti-Russian, War in Ukraine, Russophobia, MH17

Disclaimer

Cases in the EUvsDisinfo database focus on messages in the international information space that are identified as providing a partial, distorted, or false depiction of reality and spread key pro-Kremlin messages. This does not necessarily imply, however, that a given outlet is linked to the Kremlin or editorially pro-Kremlin, or that it has intentionally sought to disinform. EUvsDisinfo publications do not represent an official EU position, as the information and opinions expressed are based on media reporting and analysis of the East Stratcom Task Force.

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There is no evidence that MH17 was shot by a Russian BUK missile

On 17 July 2014, a Boeing 777 passenger plane belonging to Malaysia Airlines crashed over eastern Ukraine. All 298 passengers of the aircraft with the identification MH17 were killed. The suspicion was quickly voiced that East Ukrainian rebels had shot down the aircraft with a BUK anti-aircraft missile. The missile is said to have come from Russia. There is still no legally binding evidence of this, but Dutch security authorities and international investigators are convinced of this version. On this basis, a criminal case against four defendants was started in Amsterdam at the beginning of March and is currently continuing with interruptions.

Disproof

One of the recurring disinformation narratives about the downing of the MH17 denying Russia's responsibility.

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 Pervomaiskiy in Eastern Ukraine, from where the missile was launched. After firing, the system, with 1 missing missile, went back to the Russian Federation. On 24 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.

Mosbacher was sent to Poland because Poland has marginal importance for the US

Such persons as Georgette Mosbacher [US Ambassador to Poland], who do not have any knowledge or diplomatic experience, are sent to the countries of marginal importance. Apparently, the US authorities consider their relations with Warsaw to be on such a level that they do not require an experienced diplomat or negotiator as their Ambassador – it is enough to have someone who will accurately pass the messages to the Polish authorities.

Disproof

A common pro-Kremlin narrative on “lost sovereignty” - in the case of Poland, this country is often presented as a “puppet-state” of the United States, which fully controls the domestic and foreign policy of this country. In addition, Poland is presented as a country without any real international importance or political significance.

The US authorities have repeatedly stated that they perceive Poland as its ally in Central Europe and one of the strongest US Continental partners. The US and Poland realise such strategically-important projects as the increase of the US military presence in NATO’s Eastern Flank, modernisation of the Polish Army, diversification of Polish gas supplies, etc.

Europe, in fact, is a colony of the United States

Europe, in fact, has become a colony of the United States. Both Germany and the EU as a whole need to defend their economic and political interests. The United States may lose control of Europe.

Disproof

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative portraying Europe as a vassal of the USA and trying to undermine the sovereignty of European countries. The message appears in the article in the context of Nord Stream 2.

The European Union is a sovereign entity, created by the voluntary initiative of European nations, and it has its own, independent foreign policy. Its citizens are directly represented in the European Parliament and Member States are represented in the European Council and the Council of the EU. The United States of America is not part of these institutions. The US had no role in the creation of the EU and has no say in its decisions.