« The Ruin of Athens by Richard Sale | Main | 17 July 2014 News »

17 July 2014


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.


Information on Saker's website indicate that the Ukraine army had set up "Buk" AA missiles capable of reaching the 777's altitude just outside Donetsk in the past few days and that there are claims that the rebels had captured one such system.

Of more interest is this report on RT that suggests it is possible that Putin's flight may have been the real target - http://rt.com/news/173672-malaysia-plane-crash-putin/

One can hope that this will not turn out to be the case!

The separatist militia has stated that they will deliver the 777 "black box" to the Russian aviation accident investigation organization - which apparently has a very solid reputation.

It is curious that this occurred a day after it appears that the militia had trapped and defeated at large segment of the Ukraine forces and also pushed back attacks on Donetsk and Luganks while inflicting heavy losses on the Ukraine forces - http://vineyardsaker.blogspot.com/2014/07/ukraine-sitrep-july-17th-1555-utczulu.html

It will take a while to sort this one out..


Have to watch that "Drunk Gets 3 Months in Violin Case" headlining.


Russians do have one strike against them in the realm of PR, unfortunately. Their air defense forces, fairly or unfairly, had a reputation for being both trigger happy and rather less than wholly competent. (although being trigger happy in a war zone might be somewhat understandable, e.g. USS Vincennes and the Iranian airliner.)


All three parties, Ukraine, Russia, rebels have access to BUK-1/2 system necessary for the 30,000 feet reach. (The rebels caught some BUK systems some time ago when they captured an Ukrainian army compound.)

Ukraine and Russia also have fighter jets.

- Ukraine could probably win "international" support from taking down such an airliner and blaming the rebels/Russia.
- Russia would obviously loose from such action.
- The rebels have no interest in taking down a civilian plane.

The rebels have allegedly shot at some Ukrainian military transport/reconnaissance planes flying at higher elevations. It could be that they thought they fired at one and accidentally hit the air liner.

BUT the minimal BUK system consists of three vehicles. launcher, radar, C&C and is quite complicate and men-intensive to operate. Would the rebels have the trained staff, knowledge and awareness to use these systems?

During the last six days an Ukrainian attempt to surround the rebels by deploying four brigades in a corridor at the south-east border to Russia between the rebels and the Russian border ended in quite catastrophic losses. The (badly trained/equipped) troops came under intense artillery/grad fire and their logistics were completely cut off yesterday. They are between the rebel hammer and the Russian border anvil.

The incident could help to relief them.

Then again the plane may just have had a technical malfunction, accident or some passenger carrying some bomb.


is it possible that it might be an accidental or unauthorized launch? (not to mention, a completely distinct failure mode, incidental to flying over a war zone...)


This just ran in the Post: Israel orders ground invasion of Gaza. It's on.


Charles I

U.S. intelligence confirms surface-to-air missile fired at Malaysian jet but are divided over origin.


Charles I

Ukraine’s security services produced what they said were two intercepted telephone conversations that they said showed rebels were responsible. In the first call, the security services said, rebel commander Igor Bezler tells a Russian military intelligence officer that rebel forces shot down a plane.

In the second, two rebel fighters — one of them at the scene of the crash — say the rocket attack was carried out by a unit of insurgents about 25 kilometers (15 miles) north of the crash site.

Neither recording could be independently verified.


FB Ali

Associated Press reporters twice saw (and once photographed) an SA-11 or SA-17 (Buk) AA launcher belonging to the Ukrainian army in the battle area in the last couple of weeks.



Walrus: If the plane was shot down by Russians or PRo-Russian separatists, McCain/Graham say it would be a "game changer." See http://politicalticker.blogs.cnn.com/2014/07/17/mccain-if-plane-shot-down-there-will-be-profound-repercussions/?hpt=hp_t1

But if it were shot down by the Ukrainians, it would not?


At The Vineyard of the Saker, they were expecting some kind of false flag operation. I would hope the state Department wasn't corrupt enough to try this. What bothers me is how fast the Ukies claimed it was shot down with some specific type of missile. How in the hell could they know that so quickly?

And yeah, the press is starting it's pro Ukie-Anti Russian slant. HuffPo can hardly contain itself.



This is a very dangerous situation for us all. Judgments about Russian guilt in this matter should be suspended until evidence is available. pl


There aren't that many systems that could shoot the plane down at that height. There are also reports of an SU-25 flying behind the airliner before it was shot down. Both the Ukrainian and Russian Air Forces operate that type, the SU-25 "Frogfoot".


If the Saker is right, then this "game changer" came just in time for Kiev. See http://vineyardsaker.blogspot.com/2014/07/igor-strelkov-and-militia-briefings_17.html

How convenient.



I agree with you that all three parties, Ukraine, Russia, rebels have access to BUK-1/2 system necessary for the 30,000 feet reach. I agree also with you that the incident could help to relief Ukrainian forces.

However, I could also imagine that there happened a case of misidentification of the target from the rebels side. RIA Novosti carried a message what sounded to me as rebels boasting about shooting down an Antonov An-26 in - what seems to - exactly the same time and location where MH17 came down. It said "eyewitnesses said" the An-26 plane was shot down by someone, but the tune is like boasting.


The region where the MH17 incident happened is clearly where lot's of fightin occured, both on the ground and air/anti air.


For those military aviation guys here I have a layman's question: do you think it's possible that rebels could have shot down the plane due to misidentification of target confusing the Boeing 777 with an An-26 - Given that the rebels likely possess one or some old Soviet Buk they captured from the Ukrainian army?


What I totally fail to understand in any way is why a huge commercial civilian airliner from amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur flies through a combat zone near Donetsk with heavy fighting in the sky/logistic flights/air to ground/SAMs. Do you have any ideas why that plane flew such a dangerous route? For me as a layman it seems a lot of similar long, but less dangerous routes were available.


That is sound advice. What will the girls advice and what will O decide?


I don't fly much internationally. Is it common to fly over an active war zone where the parties are known to have missiles capable of reaching 30K feet? And probably lack a strong command and control system?

Many Hats

"At The Vineyard of the Saker, they were expecting some kind of false flag operation."

Former 11B

false flag op involving that other Malaysian 777?



I withdraw any implied criticism of USMC
Barve men one and all. pl

The Twisted Genius


I agree with your take on this. It could be a horrible and tragic error by any one of the parties. But the first thought that came to my mind was a repeat of the Syrian gas attack as "game changer." As you said, the Ukrainian forces have been taking a pasting for the last week. In an attempt to surround the rebel forces, the Ukrainians are about to loose in the cauldron in the southeast. The forces at the Lugansk Airport are still surrounded and will also soon be lost. Forces north of Lugansk have retreated without rebel pressure. The Ukrainian forces must in truly dire straits. Strelkov's latest dispatch sounded positively gleeful compared to his usual glum reports. He claims his forces will soon be on relative parity to those of Kiev.

Faced with this bad military situation and a continuing failure to draw Russia into the war, the Banderites in Kiev are desperate. A false flag operation to directly draw the U.S. into a more active role in the civil war must be mighty tempting. Spun just right, this would be the perfect excuse for the R2P harpies to elevate their bloviating pomposity into high dungeon.

I'm pretty sure we'll know the truth in a few days. I just hope we can keep the Administration from hyperventilating until then. As Colonel Lang said, this is a dangerous situation for us all.

2 dog sun

Odiferous Rule of Sewage: Sewage, to put it bluntly, stinks like [feces]. Bad odors like that can be covered up or contained, but not forever. Barnhart outlines the Rules at http://www.barnhardt.biz/2014/07/17/on-jamie-dimon-sewage-and-other-variety/ Condensed from original essay found http://davidhuntpe.wordpress.com/2013/12/08/the-rules-of-sewage/

Questions, Questions, Questions...

1. Why commercial over flight of hot war zone?


2. Why SA-11 missile strike by Russians when BUK radar control system can ID flight transponder as commercial aircraft?

Not plausible.

Can rebels undergo in-field training on captured BUK system on short notice and bring down the commercial airliner?

Doubt the training/operational manuals that accompany the BUK system (SA-11) are sufficiently in-depth to bring a novice crew to such a heightened readiness level in a few days.

Back to the odiferous rule of sewage

The Twisted Genius


Kiev is using its AN-26s to aerial resupply their besieged forces at the Lugansk Airport and in the cauldron. That means they fly fairly low and are relatively easy targets. The airliner at 33,000 feet, is a totally different king of target. I have a hard time believing the rebels would confuse a low flying AN-26 with a high flying airliner. Here's a video of an AN-26 shoot down.



Biden says it wasn't an accident. How does he know it wasn't or even who shot it down? McCain is just off the wall crazy. Our leaders are children playing with fire that could engulf us all.


Hate to add more confusion but the flight path of the airliner seems like an extremely poor choice.

yesterday's flight (passes near Maruipol city, out of range of for this SAM):


today's flight, shot down (right near Lugansk city, where it's been open season on aircraft for the past week):


Military radar should tell the story. My money is on tragic but avoidable mistake. Did an air traffic controller tell them to go there?

Charles I

Time is money.

The comments to this entry are closed.

My Photo

February 2021

Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
  1 2 3 4 5 6
7 8 9 10 11 12 13
14 15 16 17 18 19 20
21 22 23 24 25 26 27
Blog powered by Typepad