Bellingcat: the Russians did it, and we name the names


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The latest analysis from Bellingcat states that hey are pretty sure the missile was fired by a regular Russian AA missile unit - the 53rd Anti-Aircraft Missile Brigade.

They have identified this unit as the one that transported missiles to Ukraine, and believe it is highly likely that its servicemen weer in control of the missiles:



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What - proof that Bellingcat release the report??

Or proof that Russia "did it"?

I haven't claimed Russia did it - I have noted that Bellingcat have released their report. If yo have a problem with the evidence they produce take it up with them! :p

Herman Aven

Well, I'm not sure how Bellingcat's new analysis could be falsified at all. It's really more like an investigation into the structure and whereabouts of Russia's 53rd Anti-Aircraft Missile Brigade, which is not really disputed anywhere. Perhaps it could be tested if the foundation, the social media supplied visual imagery, is reliable enough to make the link?

Here's an interesting attempt or counter-claim by "freelance" investigator and computer programmer Sergey Mastepanov to discredit the base video evidence by showing some potential discrepancies and demonstrate how easily such evidence could be manipulated by anyone with modest means. Which considering the stakes is not something to dismiss out of hand or categorize as "unlikely".

MH17: The Buk videos are fake

MH17: Fake photo was used to falsely claim there was a Russian Buk in Ukraine

But I don't think Bellingcat has anything yet nearing a claim here. It seems more like a collection of data which only makes sense if earlier claims about the supplied visual evidence would have any substance to it. However some of Bellingcat's earlier claims regarding rocket trajectories, crater analysis , Error Level Analysis (ELA) and Photoshop metadata of JPG imagery have all been seriously challenged in the past and even ridiculed by notable experts in the field. How trustworthy could their other analysis then be, unless we can trace it ourselves back to the source in every detail?

And should visual evidence not be corroborated by other sources? Where are the interviews, anonymized witnesses, snitches and different lines of evidence in this report, tying the soldiers to the MH-17 event? After naming all the soldiers involved, Bellingcat also claims: "There is no direct evidence that soldiers or officers of the 53rd Anti-Aircraft Missile Brigade were part of the crew of the Buk-M1 that likely downed MH17 on 17 July 2014".

In other words the topic title "we name the names" is wrong as the report does not provide any direct evidence and forms therefore no substantial claim, at most additional circumstance and detail added to earlier claims.


Why would the complexity of the Buk system matter when only a Buk launcher was used, without acquisition radar, command or logistic components.
Why would rebels receive training in the use of the Buk launcher (a claim made by the Pentagon in the days after the crash of MH17) when they were supplied with a Russian crew?
The situation as it existed in Ukraine did not require an experienced crew or a complete Buk system to be effective. This wasn't like the Egyptians against the Israeli air force in the early '70s, or the Syrians in Lebanon in '82. The Egyptians did well thanks to the experienced Soviet advisors, the Syrians lost 17 of 19 SAM batteries in the first attack. But both were fighting a capable air force, not one decimated by rebels with MANPADS.
It doesn't take much training to shoot down an aircraft with a Buk, it does however require experience to differentiate between a passenger and a military plane, something the crew failed to do. (registration required for the full report)

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