Disinfo: MH17 was shot down by a Ukrainian fighter or by Ukrainian ground forces


The plane is said to have been shot down by pro-Russian separatist rebels controlled and supplied by the Kremlin. This was and is the “official” Western narrative, which we should not even question: If you deviate from the party line on this, you will probably be branded a “conspiracy theorist” or a “stooge of the Kremlin”. The two main ‘alternative’ explanations are that: (a) MH17 was shot down by a Ukrainian fighter or (b) that it was shot down by Ukrainian ground forces, using a BUK system.



One of the multiple disinformation narratives on the downing of flight 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 the 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.

On the basis of the investigation conducted by the JIT, consisting of law enforcement agencies from Australia, Belgium, Malaysia, Ukraine and the Netherlands, the Dutch Public Prosecution Service will prosecute Igor Vsevolodovich Girkin, Sergey Nikolayevich Dubinskiy, Oleg Yuldashevich Pulatov and Leonid Volodymyrovych Kharchenko for causing the crash of flight MH17 and murdering all 298 persons on board. The Public Prosecution Service alleges that the four cooperated to obtain and deploy the BUK TELAR with the aim of shooting down an aircraft. The public hearing took place 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.

On top of that, on 10 July 2020, the Dutch government decided to bring Russia before the European Court of Human Rights for its role in the downing of Flight MH17. As stated on the government's website, it "attaches importance to continuing the meetings with Russia on the matter of state responsibility. The purpose of these meetings is to find a solution that does justice to the enormous suffering and damage cause by the downing of Flight MH17."


  • Reported in: Issue 205
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 08/07/2020
  • Language/target audience: German
  • Country: Malaysia, Russia, Ukraine, The Netherlands
  • Keywords: MH17


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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The conclusions of OPCW are dubious

The conclusions of OPCW’s Investigation and Identification Team (IIT) are dubious, as the technical secretariat unfortunately ignored previously the demands of a number of countries to deal with the issue, which was widely echoed about the manipulation of the report of the fact-finding mission in the use the chemical weapons in Douma in April 2018, which was used by other countries for unjustified aggression against Syria’s sovereignty, and we believe this threatens yet another division inside of the OPCW and causes its politicisation.


This is a recurring disinformation narrative aiming to discredit the OPCW, lending credence to the claim that the 2018 Douma attack was staged, and absolving the Syrian regime of responsibility for chemical attacks.

In a joint statement in 2018, Australia, Bulgaria, Canada, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, France, Germany, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Poland, Slovakia, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and the United States of America called for an end to the unacceptable Russian defamation of the OPCW.

German and Lithuanian “revanchist groups” pose a threat to the security of Kaliningrad region

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Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation about aggressive plans of the West regarding Kaliningrad region and the Western attempts to “encircle Russia”.

Neither Lithuania nor Poland have any territorial claims for Kaliningrad. The claim that there are “serious revanchist groups” from Germany and Lithuania questioning the status of the Kaliningrad region is not supported by any evidence.

Caliphate terrorists arrested in Crimea

Russian security forces stopped the cell of the Hizb ut-Tahrir al-Islami terrorist group in Crimea. The terrorists spread extremist ideology among the inhabitants of the peninsula and recruited Crimean muslims into their ranks.


On the morning of July 7, in various regions of the temporarily occupied Crimea, Russian security forces raided the homes of Crimean Tatars. Six of the detained Crimean Tatars were arrested and will remain in the Simferopol pre-trial detention centre for two months. One Crimean was placed under house arrest due to visual impairment.

Ukraine’s international partners reacted extremely negatively to the actions of the Russian security forces in Crimea. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine expressed strong opposition to Russia in connection with the mass searches and called on Russia to respect human rights. The Main Directorate of the National Police in the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and Sevastopol (Ukraine) has opened criminal proceedings under Part 2 of Art. 162 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine. The US Embassy in Ukraine said that Russia has no right to prosecute and detain Ukrainians on Ukrainian territory. A similar statement was made at the US mission in the OSCE. The European Union called the searches politically motivated and violating international law, since the searches were carried out under Russian law in Ukraine. The EU emphasised that the international community expects Russia to stop putting pressure on the Crimean Tatar community.