Draw your own conclusions

CNN reports:

A Malaysia Airlines flight from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, crashed Thursday in eastern Ukraine.

Now consider this:

– The separatists seized a Ukrainian air defense base late in June. A Buk missile system has been photographed in a separatist-controlled area. The caption explains that this is a Buk captured by DNR special forces and used to shoot down a Ukrainian plane. (More photos.)

– The DNR/LNR forces downed several Ukrainian military aircraft in June and July. The Ukrainian army has not shot at any aircraft, apparently because DNR/LNR have none.

– Minutes after the 777 crash, the DNR “defense minister” Strelkov announced that his fighters had just shot down another An-26 and a second plane, apparently a Su. The tweet has since been deleted but multiple copies exist.

– News of the crash was broken by the Russian news agency Interfax, which said from the start the plane had been shot down – how did they know? LifeNews journos were at the crash site suspiciously swiftly. Which side let them know? What did they expect to find? Here’s their original footage, later deleted from their channel. Stomach-turning.


  1. The separatists are already saying they will recover the black boxes and take them to Moscow for investigation. They are going to be doing extremely well to not get put on a list of terrorist organizations by the time July is out.

  2. I remember writing the following on this very blog on 26 May:

    “You’d think the Russian authorities would have learned their lesson after sponsoring Shamil Basayev and his Abkhazia Brigade in the early 90s. At the very least, I can see some of the cutting-edge military hardware given to the separatists ending up on the black market. Don’t be surprised if one day the news comes that a civilian airliner has been downed by a MANPAD.”

    OK, it wasn’t a MANPAD. I’m no weapons expert and I claim no great prophetic powers. This was like mass chainsmoking in a firework factory – the result was easy to predict and tragedy was utterly avoidable.

  3. If it is the separatists that brought it down, I doubt they did it deliberately. More, it’s the result of allowing ill-educated, mouth-breathing, leather-jacket wearing thugs half of whom are drunk and the other half on steroids, access to military hardware and to use it with impunity. Well done Putin, oh well done indeed.

    • “it’s the result of allowing ill-educated, mouth-breathing, leather-jacket wearing thugs half of whom are drunk and the other half on steroids, access to military hardware”

      Add insane paranoia and xenophobic hatred to that cocktail and you know what’s coming.

      The Ukrainian SBU have released an alleged conversation between the separatists here:


    • Agreed that MH17 was not deliberately targeted, unlike the Korean Boeing in 1983. But the SAM operators were not necessarily drunk locals. It takes some experience to operate a Buk so I wouldn’t rule out Russian soldiers at the controls. Recall that the Ukrainian army shot down a Russian passenger plane in 2001. This time all evidence points away from Kyiv but a similar error by a Russian serviceman seems a possibility.

      • Agreed that MH17 was not deliberately targeted, unlike the Korean Boeing in 1983.

        True. KAL was shot down over Sakhalin, coming down near the small island of Moneron. I went to the airfield from which the fighter was scrambled, it is a few miles north of Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk.

        • I’ve looked it up on the map. Did they convert the landing strip for civilian use in the 1990s?

          • Not sure if you’ve got the right airfield. Search on Google earth for the village of Sokol, north of Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk. Just north of Sokol is an airfield, clearly visible. That’s the one.

            As far as I know it had no “normal” civilian use. The only airports I know served civilian traffic on Sakhalin were Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk, Nogliki (in the middle) and Oxa (in the north). However, I think the one at Sokol was used for parachute jumping and air force day celebrations, but who knows who was in charge?!

            • I’ve found Sokol on WikiMapia, which says the air force base is still there. I’ve also looked at some Google pictures of the road running from Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk up through Sokol. Not much of a highway.

            • No, it’s not much of a highway, a two-lane ridden with potholes and almost no road markings. But at least they’ve asphalted now, when I first arrived the tarmac ran out just north of Sokol and turned into a dirt road for all stretches outside a town. It was this road I drove in my post here. Several Europeans have arrived in Sakhalin and found themselves on this road frantically searching for the main road indicated by their GPS, not realising they are on it. 🙂

              The status of the air base is an interesting one, and not unusual for Sakhalin. Being a border region there were military sites everywhere, some in use, some abandoned, and some…well, who knows? Like most things in Sakhalin, there were no real rules about where you could go or not go, especially in winter. So we used to ride mountain bikes over a live tank range, with not a single fence or signpost warning you to keep out. Nobody seemed to mind. And this air base, from what I remember, could be accessed relatively freely. The runway was still there, with grass growing out of the tarmac, but that doesn’t mean much in Sakhalin either!

              That place was one of the most free I have been in, in many ways. It was just so remote, and the locals so uninterested, that nobody really cared what you did. We used to go camping on the beach and bring a chain saw to chop a tree down to burn for a fire. We used to ride snowmobiles along pipeline corridors and through old factories. Nobody cared. It was great, and I still miss it.

              • Thanks for sharing this, Tim, and for the link to your old post. I’ve recently been to the Nenets tundra and even tried my hand at fishing. My feeling is that local reindeer herders care a lot about what’s going on in the tundra – that’s why oil companies complain that locals are sly and cunning. The summer tundra is beautiful although it’s hard to explain why. Within two days of leaving the Arctic, I was on the Adriatic – a huge contrast obviously but I think I still remember how the tundra smells.

  4. Good comment. Ukraine must not concede any more territory to the enemy. Britain and America must honour their treaty obligations and ensure this. Russia must lose access to SWIFT.

Comments are closed.

Discover more from Winterings in Trans-Scythia

Subscribe now to keep reading and get access to the full archive.

Continue reading