Digest of pro-Russian narratives in German, Italian media about Boeing MH17 downing

Digest of pro-Russian narratives in German, Italian media about Boeing MH17 downing

Photo: Hromadske
4 April 2022

On July 17, 2014, near Donetsk, terrorists from the DNR and the Russian militants shot down a Malaysia Airlines MH17 passenger plane flying from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur. Pro-Russian and Russian media deny Russia’s involvement in the tragedy.

Russian propaganda spreads fakes that Ukraine allegedly shot down MH17 from the Buk anti-aircraft missile system. Russia also accuses the Netherlands, which led the investigation, of bias and politicized process. Allegedly, everyone is just blaming Russia, not considering all possible versions of the tragedy.

Here are some examples of Russian propaganda statements:

  • “Russia knows that the site of the alleged launch of the missile that shot down the Malaysian Boeing MH17 in 2014 was located on the territory controlled by the Ukrainian Armed Forces in the Donbas.” (“La Russia sa che il luogo del presunto lancio del missile che ha abbattuto il Boeing MH17 malese nel 2014 si trovava all’interno del territorio controllato dalle forze armate ucraine nel Donbass.”) — SNA.IT
  • “The Ukrainian army shot down a Malaysian passenger plane using the Buk air defense missile system. This is evidenced by archival data from the Russian Defense Ministry, according to which the missile, whose serial number was provided by Western investigators, was transferred to Ukraine during the Soviet era.” (“Die ukrainische Armee hat ein malaysisches Passagierflugzeug mit dem Buk-Luftverteidigungsraketensystem abgeschossen. Das belegen die Archivdaten des russischen Verteidigungsministeriums, wonach die Rakete, deren Seriennummer von westlichen Ermittlern zur Verfügung gestellt wurde, während der Sowjetzeit in die Ukraine überführt wurde.”) — Newsfront
  • The Netherlands accepted a single version of the incident from the start and pushed it forward as part of both the Dutch Security Council’s technical investigation and the Joint Investigation Team’s investigation. Of course, both investigations turned out to be biased, superficial, and politicized. Everything was done to reinforce the hasty accusations against Russia.” (“Die Niederlande haben von Anfang an eine einzige Version des Vorfalls akzeptiert und diese im Rahmen sowohl der technischen Untersuchung des niederländischen Sicherheitsrates als auch der Ermittlung des Gemeinsamen Ermittlungsteams vorangetrieben. Selbstverständlich erwiesen sich beide Ermittlungen als voreingenommen, oberflächlich und politisiert. Es wurde alles getan, um die voreiligen Beschuldigungen gegen Russland zu bekräftigen.”) — RT.DE

How it was actually? 

The Malaysian Boeing over Donbass was shot down by Russia from the Buk anti-aircraft missile system, which was brought from Russia to the territory of Ukraine occupied by the Russian militants. Numerous pieces of evidence confirm this fact:

  • About two hours after the crash, one of the militant leaders, Igor Girkin (Strelkov), the “DPR’s” defense minister, published a report that the “DPR” had shot down a Ukrainian AN-26 aircraft near Torez. However, when it became known that it was not a Ukrainian military plane that was shot down, but a passenger plane, Girkin deleted his post.
  • The Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) intercepted conversations of militants on the day of the catastrophe, where terrorists are probably discussing the downing of the Boeing MH17. A version of the downing of the plane from the Buk anti-aircraft missile system was formed on the basis of these conversations.
  • Independent Bellingcat investigators found that Buk anti-aircraft missile system was transported to the “DPR” from Russia. They confirmed this information with intercepted conversations, satellite photos and social media posts. The Buk which shot down the plane belonged to the 53rd Anti-Aircraft Missile Brigade of the Russian Army from Kursk.

The information that the Boeing MH17 was shot down by “DPR” terrorists from the Buk transported from Russia is confirmed by the data of the Joint Investigation Team (JIT), led by the Netherlands.

JIT investigators have named four people involved in the downing of a Malaysian Boeing in June 2019. According to the investigation, Igor Girkin, a former “DPR” defense minister, Oleg Pulatov, a former lieutenant colonel in the Russian Airborne Forces, Sergey Dubinsky, a retired GRU officer, Leonid Kharchenko, a commander of the intelligence unit at “GRU DPR”, a Ukrainian. The first three suspects at the time of the JIT statement were in Russia, and Kharchenko was in the temporarily occupied territory of Ukraine. All four are suspect of organizing the supply of anti-aircraft missile system.

Russia has repeatedly accused Ukraine of shooting down a Boeing and tried to provide its “evidence”. However, all this is a lie. For example, in 2015, Bellingcat journalists used digital satellite images from Globe to expose Russia’s lies about the Malaysian Boeing MH17. Investigators have found that the Russian Defense Ministry published fake photos from space on the day of the catastrophe.

The Investigative Committee of Russia also stated that MH17 was shot down by a Su-25 aircraft of the Ukrainian Air Force. It is not true.

First, the Su-25 aircraft is designed to destroy tanks and other military equipment from a small height. The Su-25 is not designed to fly higher, and cannot shoot down other aircraft at an altitude of 10,000 km, as flying MH17. Experiments confirm that the Su-25 can rise to an altitude of 10,000 km, but without weapons.

Secondly, the Su-25 is much slower than the Boeing-777, so it could not catch up with the MH17. This was stated by one of the designers of the Su-25 Vladimir Babak and the editor of the military magazine HS Jane’s Defense Weekly Nick de Larrinaga.

Third, around 800 pieces of shrapnel had ripped through MH17. This confirms that the plane was shot down by a surface-to-air missile, not an air-to-air missile with much less power. Thus, it is impossible to shot down the plane from the Su-25, how Russia stated.

Russia has called the investigation biased and partial, but has refused to cooperate with other countries. In 2020, Russia withdrew from consultations with the Netherlands and Australia on the MH17 disaster.


The authors do not work for, consult to, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organization that would benefit from this article, and have no relevant affiliations