Disinfo: Russia is not responsible for downing of MH17 in 2014


The finding of the Joint Investigation Team cannot be recognised by Russia as long as its officials are not able to fully participate.

The BUK missile system that shot down the passenger plane could not have been from Russia because all missiles with the type of motor provided as evidence were destroyed in Russia after 2011. It rather belonged to Ukraine and there is proof showing it was fired from a territory controlled by the Ukrainian government. This finding was ignored by the investigators.


Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about the downing of flight MH17.

The Dutch-led Joint Investigation Team (JIT) also concluded that the BUK missile system belonged to the Russian army and that the place from which the missile was launched was controlled by the separatists at the time. The JIT consists of investigators from the Netherlands, Malaysia, Australia, Belgium, and Ukraine.

The reason why the Russian Federation is not part of the JIT was explained on the National Public Prosecutors’ Office’s website. It stated that the purpose of the JIT was to operate effectively and so only the countries most affected by the downing are a part of it. Others can still provide the team with information, which is said to be “examined and assessed in the same way as information from all other countries, inside and outside the JIT” or can cooperate via legal assistance requests.

The findings of the JIT has been corroborated by the group of investigative journalists at Bellingcat. They were able to determine that the missile system used in the downing was BUK 332 and it belonged to the Russian 53rd Anti-Aircraft Missile Brigade. They provided photo and video evidence filmed by bystanders.

They also showed its route from Russia in June 2014 to the Russia-Ukraine border. The same BUK was later identified in Ukraine. The missile was fired south of the town of Snizhne and the BUK 332 was afterwards filmed in the separatist-controlled city of Luhansk.


  • Reported in: Issue 221
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 12/11/2020
  • Language/target audience: Czech
  • Country: Russia, Ukraine
  • 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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