Sunday, 1 January 2017

MH17: Russia's official response to the Bellingcat probe


02:24 15.09.2016 

A Russian newspaper on Wednesday revealed the text of what could become Russia’s official response to the Bellingcat probe into the 2014 Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 crash in eastern Ukraine. 

Dutch Safety Board releases report into Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 disaster 

Maksim Blinov Leaked Report Blows Lid Off Bellingcat's Systematic Lying in MH17 Investigation MOSCOW (Sputnik).

 — The draft, published by the Novaya Gazeta, is based on assessments made by experts from Russian Almaz-Antey arms manufacturer that produces Buk missile systems. According to the draft, Moscow believes that a "modern Russian missile" could not be the cause of the crash. Bellingcat in the past has published several reports on the tragedy, all of which accused Russia and which were dismissed by Moscow, while Dutch investigators published a report in October 2015 claiming that the Malaysia Airlines aircraft appeared to have been downed with a Russia-produced Buk surface-to-air missile system. 

The report did not identify the exact location from where the missile was fired. Almaz-Antey, the manufacturer of the Buk missiles and Russia's biggest defense contractor, conducted a separate probe into the crash, finding that the missile that hit the plane could only have been launched from the region of Zaroshchenske, controlled by Kiev forces at the time of the incident. 


The authors of the draft agree with the thesis that the aircraft could have crashed after being hit by a Buk missile. However it says that the missile could not be the new Russian 9М317 type, which is not used in Ukraine but is in service with the Russian military. The Buk family of missiles were first produced in the Soviet Union and have since been in service in former Soviet states, including Ukraine. Russia’s army currently operates newer and upgraded versions of Buk, such as the 9М317. "Even if a Buk missile is to blame, it could not be the ‘modern Russian missile’ 9M317. The main distinguishing feature of MH17 damaged fragments is the holes from the damaging elements of a size of 13 or 14 millimeters," the draft said, as quoted by the paper. It rules out the involvement of the 9M317 in the accident as the missile does not have any elements that could cause such damage, the draft said.

We ruled out 

Old Ukrainian warhead 9N314

Proceeding with the albert_lex research.

Following the histogram of albert_lex we can forget about the old BUK-warhead 9N314 because category 6 (33) is missing:

Little squares (8x8x5MM) of old Ukrainian warhead 9N314 have insignificant mass and so their velocity vector was bent straight through the hull. This means the pile of category 6 cannot be caused by category 5 of this square. Category 5 is from 4.5 - 5.5. Our conclusion is the old warhead 9N314 has not been used to shoot down the MH17. This conclusion is in line with the albert_lex histogram which states: "The results of evaluation of hole sizes available in the photos suggests that the submunitions were in the form of a parallelepiped with sides 8x8x6 mm with a tolerance of +/- 0.5 mm.

Also warhead 9N318 from missile 9M317 was falsified. This because its rib of 6.5 mm cannot be narrower and I guess albert_lex found mostly 6 mm ribs. Nearly all 6.5 ribs would have fallen into (6.5-7-7.5) which received only two observations:

That leaves us with 9N314M, the warhead with the bow-ties. 

But remember, only the profile of 9N314M is confirmed by albert_lex, not the warhead itself. So, in theory there might be other warheads with the same profile. Only if it definitely is a BUK, than it is proven the BUK with the bow-ties.

Warhead 9N314M (bowties: Ukraine and Russia)

But can we also forget about bowties in the albert_lex histogram? Forget about warhead 9N314M? I'm afraid not. Following the requirement of conditional probability we did not found butterflies in the hull, but the facts of albert_lex do not make the profile of 9N314M impossible. 

And if we cannot discard the profile of 9N314M there might come a moment we also have to accept bowties. But remember, warhead 9N314M self is not proven, because other warheads with the same profile can have done the job. With the research of albert_lex we only proved the conditional probability of the profile of 9N314M, not of warhead 9N314M self.

Hence, in the sample of albert_lex warhead 9N314M is not impossible:


MISSILE LAUNCH POINT CONTROVERSY The draft also denies the "categorical" statement made by Bellingcat that the missile was launched from an area of Ukraine controlled by the pro-independence militia.

"The possible launch area was calculated [by Bellingcat] through the technique of inverse simulation… Any other circumstantial evidence… were not taken into consideration. Only technical details of the design and technical documentation were considered," the draft said.

According to the draft, Almaz-Antey denied the possibility of the missile being launched from the Snezhnoye town in Ukraine, citing investigative experiment results. The experiment reportedly showed that the damage to an aircraft caused by the missile launched from Snezhnoye would not match the damage made to the Malaysian Airlines plane.

The experiment also reportedly provided "visual confirmation" of Almaz-Antey claims that if a Buk missile had been launched from Snezhnoye, the aircraft would have been inevitably penetrated by it, which contradicts the evidence data of the crash.


Remember the left upper part of the cockpit has not been retrieved, so it is not certain the missile did not crash into the MH17:

White parts are missing. Remarkably in front of STA888 only the part with the hypothetical trajectory of the BUK through the plane has disappeared:

All parts of the forward upper fuselage in front of STA888 came down in Petropavlivka.

End of Intermezzo.


According to the draft, the Almaz Antey investigation has revealed that the Dutch investigators had been using often inaccurate information concerning the Buk missiles in their probe into the crash. Taking this into account, the Russian side has decided to take an unprecedented step – to declassify all data on the 9M38 and 9M38M1 missiles, the draft revealed. "All information on the 9M38 and 9M38M1 missiles, requested by the Dutch experts, was forwarded to the experts of the commission," the draft said. 


The authors of the draft denied Bellingcat’s "most powerful argument" against the Russian version of the crash – the opinion of technical experts. "There are certain complaints concerning how the survey was conducted by the technical experts of the Dutch commission," the draft said. According to the text of the draft, certain technical specifications that the Russian side had passed on to the commission’s experts were  either ignored or distorted if they "did not fit the main version." According to the draft statement, the experts changed data on found fragments of the surface-to-air missile that could have caused the crash. The Russian side also blamed the Dutch investigators for not providing the details on the fragments in the Draft Final Report on the crash, submitted to Russia, which were published in the final version of the report.

Read more:

Any Buk missile launched from the area eastwards from the crash site (the red line above) would be surely detected. But any Buk missile launched from the area southwards (the blue line) would be filtered out because of having the velocity vector close to perpendicular to the radar beam. The same applies to aircraft. So that wording should be understood in the context of limitations of one particular radar. The latter didn't detect any missile from the direction eastward to the crash site but should if anyAnd the radar data can neither prove nor disprove of any moving object from a southern direction because of the limitations.


By revealing the Ust-Donetsk radar data Russia establishes the fact that no other object moved to the flight MH17 from Snizhne or near it. It doesn't disprove the missile being launched or an aircraft flying along directions that are perpendicular to the direction to the Ust-Donetsk radar. Taking into account that the flight MH17 had been assigned the number 0364 on the MoD's picture above and had been assigned different numbers on the other two showed radar data displays (Ust-Donetsk and Rostov) one can speculate Russian MoD have more radar data in their possession.

Comment Basic Dimension:

- Bow-tie holes are expected from warhead 9N314M1, most likely from BUK missile 9M38M1.
- Bow-ties are not expected from warhead 9N314, likely from old missile 9M38.
- If it has to be a BUK it has to be warhead 9N314M1, since only this warhead has fragments with size of about 13 mm. (According to the three BUKs on the market from Almaz-Antey).
- According to the histogram of albert_lex warhead 9N314 is dismissed since square sides of 6 mm do not exist.
- Also it cannot be the new Russian warhead 9N318 from missile 9M317 since squares from this warhead misses sides of about 13 mm, but more importantly their smallest size is 6.5 mm, while albert_lex found categorically 6 mm. Sometimes sides might be bigger, but never smaller.


Russia and experts agree a missile must have been detected when launched from a field south of Snizhne.
However, Russia and experts disagree on the capabilities of radar when a missile is launched from Zarochenskoe. Under standard operating mode the radar must be able to detect the missile as there are no blind speeds.

Russia forgot to mention it had a radar in Baturinskoe which could detect the missile as well.

  1. The case could have been solved in 2015, if DSB had carried out a comparative analysis of the pre-formed fragments found and the pre-formed fragments of an intact 9N314M warhead.
    This is the briefing of Rosaviatsia’s Oleg Storchevoy on 16 July, 2015:
    It is 30 minutes of Storchevoy’s speaking Russian. At first, Storchevoy says that, under ICAO rules, he can’t disclose any details about the investigation before the publication of an official report by DSB. So, he can speak only in general terms. Then, he said that, apart from supplying data and participating in two DSB meetings, Russian specialists were not involved in the investigation. At 9:11 Storchevoy says that Russia repeatedly offered its assistance both with specialists and equipment, but to no avail. At 29:12 he says: “The Russian side is fully open for a joint work with the commission. We are ready to take part in any research, to grant our specialists and our data. We have a high-quality equipment, including that for carrying out a metal analysis, which can determine the grade of steel that was used to make a pre-formed fragment. And, consequently, the exact type of the missile. We are ready to carry out all the necessary examinations in the presence of specialists from any countries. We have nothing to hide.” The above part of Storchevoy’s speech can be seen here, in Russian:
    In English, I found only this, by Roland Oliphant, who included a few lines about Storchevoy’s briefing in a large article on the MH17 case:
    Needless to say that Rosaviatsia’s offer to determine the grade of steel was ignored.
    According to DSB’s report of Oct 2015, their experts carried out a chemical analysis of the fragments found to compare them between themselves: “The analysis showed that the 20 selected fragments from the wreckage and the remains can be divided in two distinctive groups… the fragments within a group were made from the same unalloyed steel base material (i.e. the same plate).” DSB presented the chemical composition of the two groups of the fragments in Table 12 on page 93. (It seems that DSB withheld part of the information, as Table 12 does not show carbon and silicon, which must be there by Russian standards.)
    Remarkably, DSB did not carry out an analysis to compare the fragments found and the fragments from an intact 9N314M warhead. In the final report’s Appendix V, in response to Russia’s objections to the draft report, DSB explained: “Studying the detailed chemical composition of the steel is not relevant to the investigation as the high-energy objects are usually made from low-grade metal (unalloyed steel) originating from different batches, different sources, different manufacturing locations and over different periods of time. Matching the fragments found with reference material from an intact warhead would not be possible because of these differences.”
    The above statement is utterly untrue. The Soviet and Russian industrial production has been governed by state standards, which are named ГОСТ (GOST). It is just by definition that missiles have been manufactured under GOST rules, which – by definition – have specified what grade of steel is to be used to make warhead fragments. The grade of steel for this kind of products is indeed low, but the composition and properties of low-grade metals are specified by GOSTs as well as those of high-grade metals. For common quality carbon steel (aka unalloyed steel), the chemical composition has been governed by GOST 380-xx, where xx is the year when the standard was developed.
    The period of time when missiles of the 9M38 series were manufactured was covered by GOSTs 380-71, 380-88 and 380-94, consecutively. According to these GOSTs, the content (in percentage) of carbon, manganese and silicon must be within specified ranges, while the content of unwanted elements – sulphur and phosphorous, which accompany iron – must be under specified limits. The content of other possible elements, like chromium, nickel, copper, must be under specified limits, too. Compliance with GOSTs, which is required by law, means that the chemical composition of fragments of 9N314M warheads is within specified ranges and under specified limits, regardless of “batches, sources”, etc. Accordingly, the statement that “matching the fragments found with reference material from an intact warhead would mot be possible” is untrue.
    Obviously, the idea of “different batches, different sources”, etc was supplied by the leading expert organization within DSB and JIT, this is, by the Kyiv Research Institute for Forensic Expertise (KNIISE). The Kyiv experts perfectly well know the GOST system, as Ukraine was part of this system at the Soviet time and at the post-Soviet time up to Dec 2014. This is a news item about the Ukrainian government’s decision to abandon the GOST system:
    With the Kyiv experts’ perfect knowledge of GOSTs, their statement about “differences” resulting from “different batches, different sources” is a deliberate lie. Apparently, they lied because they were anxious not to allow a comparative analysis to be carried out. Why? Because they know that the missile that shot down MH17 is different from Buk missiles and that the grade of steel of the fragments found is different from the grade of steel of fragments in 9N314M warheads.
    I think that the missile that shot down MH17 was the blast/fragmentation version of R-27. This version does exist. See my comments here:
    A detailed analysis of the presumed weapon is a must in the investigation of any murder. A police expert would never issue a final conclusion about the weapon just on the basis of what the weapon looks like. A visual assessment is just the first step of the analysis. But the appropriate investigation procedure is denied in the MH17 case. Because Ukraine, a party with a clear motive and means to commit this crime, said that the detailed analysis is “not relevant”.
    Meanwhile, in Europe there are plenty of laboratories certified to do a metal analysis. There is the European Committee for Iron and Steel Standartization (ECISS), based in Brussels, which could assist the investigators.
    •  sotilaspassi // June 6, 2017 at 9:38 am // Reply
      “The case could have been solved in 2015, if DSB had carried out a comparative analysis of the pre-formed fragments found…”
      Not true.
      There is 0% change it would change the facts found out so far.
      It is 100% proven MH17 was shot by pro-RU people.
      Fragments do not have fingerprints of the crew or the commander who told the crew to launch at MH17.
      (it also seems “rebels” had access to both Russian and Ukrainian BUK missiles)

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