Disinfo: Ukraine was involved in the shooting down of MH17


The Ukrainian side is involved in the catastrophe of the shooting down of MH17 over the Donbas.

The plane crash was followed by a phenomenally rapid reaction by the Ukrainian government. It is clear that President Poroshenko and his press service were informed in advance. The fact that the airspace over the war zone had not been closed is also an indication. Two high-ranking Ukrainian security officers were directly involved in the tragedy.



Conspiracy theory that the Ukrainian side was involved in the shooting down of MH17, with no evidence provided. An example on the many competing and contradictory stories promulgated by Russian state-controlled media on MH17.

The Dutch-led Joint Investigation Team has concluded that flight MH17 was shot down on 17 July 2014 by a missile of the 9M38 series, launched by a BUK-TELAR, from farmland in the vicinity of Pervomaiskiy (or: Pervomaiskyi). At that time, the area was controlled by pro-Russian fighters. The BUK-TELAR was brought in from the territory of the Russian Federation and subsequently, after having shot down flight MH17, was taken back to the Russian Federation.

On 24 May 2018, JIT stated that the BUK-TELAR that was used to down MH17 originates from the 53rd Anti Aircraft Missile brigade, a unit of the Russian army from Kursk in the Russian Federation. The JIT reached this conclusion after extensive comparative research. Several images of the BUK-TELAR with which MH17 was downed are available. Analysis of these produces a number of characteristics. The combination of these is so special that that can be considered as a fingerprint. This fingerprint has been compared with numerous images of BUK-TELARS, both Ukrainian and Russian ones. The only BUK-TELAR on which this combination of characteristics was also  found, is a BUK-TELAR that was recorded several times when it joined a convoy of the 53rd brigade on 23 – 25 June 2014. 

Furthermore, a joint international open source investigation led by Bellingcat has identified conclusively that the person of interest known as ‘Andrey Ivanovich’ or ‘Orion’ whose identity is sought by the Joint Investigating Team in connection with the criminal investigation into the downing of MH17, is in fact Russian citizen Oleg Vladimirovich Ivannikov. Ivannikov was an officer of the Main Directorate of the General Staff of the Russian Ministry of Defence (GRU), and served in that function until at least as late as September 2017. During his undercover deployment to LNR, he coordinated and supervised the military activities of Russian militants, pro-Russian separatists and “private army” contingents from the Wagner group. Ivannikov also supervised the procurement and transport of weapons across the Russia Ukraine border. He held these functions at the time of the downing of MH17.

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.

The US has supported the decisions by the Netherlands and Australia.


  • Reported in: Issue142
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 26/03/2019
  • Language/target audience: German
  • Country: Ukraine
  • Keywords: Conspiracy, 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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