Russia 24 and HTB disinformation regarding the MH17 plain crash

28 July, 2017

Three years have passed since the collapse of the Malaysian Boeing in East Ukraine, shot down by the BUK (Бук) type of surface-to-air missile complex. The Pro-Kremlin media is leading a campaign of misinformation, since the day of the air crash, in order to deceive the public. Last week, television channels Russia-24 and NTV (HTB) fabricated manipulative TV reports, where based on false facts, they once again blamed Ukraine for the crash of the passenger plane.

Russia-24 presenting an authentic photo as fallacious

On 23rd July, one of the stories, displayed in a Russia-24 program Vesti at 20:00 (Вести в 20:00), was dedicated to the catastrophe of the Malaysian Boeing. Based on the reporter, the western media is actively conducting so called “independent journalistic researches”, based on suspicious evidence. As one of the latter proof, the report presents a picture, which shows the trail of the same missile that destroyed the Malaysian Boeing. Furthermore, some fragments from a BBC documentary movie “Conspiracy Files- Who shot down MH17?” are disposed. The documentary reviews the official investigation report of the Dutch state security council regarding the MH17 air crash on one hand, and the conspiracy theories concerning the incident on the other hand—these latter theories were potrayed as the one and only version of the BBC by the russian propaganda, as well as by the Georgian kremlinist media outlets (See the article prepared on that subject by the Myth Detector).

Manipulation: Russia-24’s report shows a picture as suspicious evidence, which, according to the BBC documentary, was taken prior to the air crash. BBC researched the person who spread the latter picture on the Internet and interviewed him, concealing his identity for security purposes. The interviewee confirms the authenticity of the picture for following reasons:

  • The photo was taken in Torez, a city near Donetsk—in the proximity of where the air crash took place.
  • The photo is too bright.
  • While taking the picture, the author was unaware of what he was depicting.
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The report continues onto an operator from Donetsk, Andrei Chernanog, who claims that the anonymous individual portrayed in the BBC documentary is his old friend Sergei Avcharenko, whom he “recognizes with his voice”. Andrei Chernanok call Sergei Ovcharenko and asks him to make a comment, however it is vague for the spectator to understand exactly what the operator is asking his old friend to comment on, since the fragment shown by the report doesn’t show it.

Sergei Ovcharenko: „You know andriukha(andrew) what the cost of this is in terms of brain crawling and nerves lost. You understand that this is a subject for which they really do kill.“

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Real Facts:

On 28th September, 2016, the Joint Investigation Team (JIT), that consists of Australian, Malaysian, Ukrainian and Belgian investigators, concluded based of various evidences (results of expertise, declarations of eye witnesses, satellite images, radar data and records of telephone calls), that the Malaysian Boeing MH17 was shot down by a missile that was fired by the Russian Zenit missile complexe “Buk”. In addition, the missile was fired 6 km South from the city of Snizhne (nearby the city of Torez), controlled by prorussian separatists.

According to Bellingcat, an online investigation resource, on a joint investigation group press conference, that took place on 28th September, one of the main proofs presented was a photo that was spread on social media. The picture shows a trail left by the Buk missile.

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The same picture with a bigger contrast, for better viewing

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This photo coincides with a picture that was previously posted on Twitter, previously featured in the BBC documentary film and the Russia-24 (Россия-24) account and taken from a different angle, namely from the city of Torez.

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The latter photo, which was taken on the day of the tragedy, was closely examined in order to determine its authenticity. The second picture, showing the same place from a different perspective that was published on The 28th September by the investigation group once again proved that the trail left by the missile was indeed real.

NTV disinformation: Buk isn’t used in the Russian armament

On 17th July, Segodnia (Сегодня) a program on HTB displayed a report, where it is stated that according to various experts, that it is the goal of the international investigation group, created for the Malaysian Boeing case, to blame Russia for the air crash. Due to this, the Group denies all arguments that claim that Boeing MH17 was shot down by Ukraine. In the report, Russian propaganda has repeatedly declared that the company Almaz-Antei (Алмаз-Антей) producing the BUK missile no longer uses this type of weapon unlike the Ukrainian Armed Forces.

Real Facts: JSC Buk producer Russian company AO VKO Almaz-Antei conzern (АО Концерн ВКО Алмаз-Антей) stated that the 9Q38M1 missile of the BEC-M1 type is not used in the Russian army anymore. She has been removed from production since 1999. They claim that these rockets are still in the arsenal of the Ukrainian army.

The claims made by Almaz-Antei (Алмаз-Антей) were examined by Bellingcat's investigative team. Through videos and photos posted on social networks, they found that in the period of June 23-25, 2014 a month before the Malaysian Boeing catastrophe, the convoy of the 53rd anti-aircraft missile brigade was moved from Kursk to the Ukrainian border. The CCB BUK-M1 found in the column was equipped with the old 9M38M1 model missiles. On August 16, 2014, the photographer for Reuters identified near Rostov, Russian military vehicles that was loaded with 9M38M1 type missiles. The fact that the Russian Armed Forces possess 9M38M1 type missiles since 1999, is confounded with other evidence (see Infographics):

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  • On December 2, 2013 Russian President Vladimir Putin visited the 102nd Russian military base in Armenia. On the photo taken during the visit he stands on the background of BUK-M1, equipped with the 9M38M1 type rocket.
  • On 9 May 2015, during the military parade dedicated to the Victory Day in Chita, Siberia, BUK-M1 missile complex was demonstrated and it was equipped with 9M38M1 missiles. The military equipment caught fire at the parade, the photo and video material of which was spread quickly on the Internet.

About the catastrophe of the Malaysian Airliner

On July 17, 2014 The Malaysia Airlines passenger aircraft flew from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur, during which it exploded mid-air. On September 28, the Joint Investigation Team (JIT) concluded that 298 passengers of Malaysian Boeing, including 80 children, died from a BUK missile launched from the Russian anti-aircraft missile complex, which enteres the Ukrainian territory from the Russian Federation.

The materials prepared by Myth Detector on this topic:

Malaysian Boeing 777 investigation files according to the BBC documentary


Prepared by Dali Kurdadze in accordance with the material provided by Bellingcat