Key points on Russia's position on the investigation of Malaysian Boeing catastrophe

Key points on Russia's position on the investigation of Malaysian Boeing catastrophe


On poor quality of the final report

The final report on the results of investigation of the Malaysian Boeing catastrophe was closely studied by the Russian side. Russia strongly disagrees with conclusions made by the commission. They're fundamentally wrong. The lack of logic goes off-scale. Instead of doing consistent analysis of objective data the commission was tailoring evidences in accordance with chosen in advance verdict. As opposed to colorful animation that was presented by Dutch Safety Board, the report makes totally different impression. The document lacks facts corresponding with full-fledged investigation. The quality of investigation is extremely unsatisfactory and the investigation itself was carried out with violation of ICAO standards, which is absolutely unacceptable.


On the statement of the Chairman of the Dutch Safety Board that those who launched the missile from the territory occupied by separatists are responsible for the tragedy.

With huge regret of Russia, the person of such high level and rank, as chairman of the Dutch Safety Board, allows himself controversial and abusive conclusions. Mr. Tjibbe Joustra has personally signed and presented the final report, that did not mention the perpetrators and did not point out neither whose forces are to blame, nor its location. Later the same day Mr. Tjibbe Joustra personally, during another speech finally decides to blame separatists, claiming that the missile was launched from the territory controlled by representatives of Donetsk People's Republic. In the Russian side's opinion, such actions does no honour neither to the chairman, nor to the Dutch Safety Board.




On Russia's work in the commission and on the non-observance of the parity and equality inside the association

On July 21 the Ministry of Transport of the Russian Federation has received the address from the Dutch Safety Board with invitation to take part in the investigation.

Russian Federation is not related with the catastrophe, because the accident itself happened outside Russia's territory, Russia has nothing to do with the air vessel and airline, and Russian citizens were not on board of the plane. That is the reason why at first Russian Federation was not among participants of the investigation.

At the start of the investigation Russian participation was narrowed to presenting to the Netherlands the data from radars, captured by Russian air traffic authorities.

Further, when the discussion of questions, related to downing the plane by the missile, started, Russian experts started providing the UN Security Council with data allowing to objectively identify the relevant type of armament that lead to catastrophe.

Regarding the work "inside commission": Russian experts were not involved in any kind of research, albeit such assistance was proposed. Proposals to host commission in Russia and to demonstrate necessary documents were declined. Such approach doesn't correspond with generally accepted principals of conduction of investigation in civil aviation that stipulate thorough and comprehensive discussion of questions (especially when it is a matter of characteristics of armament that was engineered by the Russian Federation).


On secret agreements between some of the members of commission

The mass media actually reported information on separate talks, in particular from Ukrainian officials. The point was that Australia, Belgium, Ukraine and Netherlands, bypassing Malaysia, have concluded a secret agreement on non-disclosure of information on catastrophe without consent of the parties.

The Russian Federation did not participate in any agreements.

All data emerged at the disposal of Russia was quickly transferred to the Dutch Safety Board. Moreover, the research conducted by Russian specialists goes on, and without taking into account the formal completion of the investigation, in case of interest, we will be ready to hand over results to our colleagues from other countries to establish the truth in this over-politicized catastrophe. The results of this research will be presented in future.


On the violation of ICAO standards by the commission

After the draft final report was prepared and remarks to report were collected, turned out, that among the debris of the plane the fragments of a BUK missile were discovered. Only its pictures were demonstrated to Russian experts. Information on the location where the above-mentioned fragments were found was not presented. Referring to the criminal investigation it was stated that these fragments will not be used for preparation of the final report. Practically, after the main material evidence was discovered, the commission hinted that lasting more than a year investigation doesn't have any status and significance, and the main investigation is the criminal one, that doesn't involve participation of Russian experts at all.

In this regard Russia has drawn attention of ICAO to impermissibility of such loose interpretation of standards of investigation of aviation accidents, separating technical and criminal investigations. ICAO standards clearly indicate on necessity of coordination these two investigations and mutual timely provision important material evidences.

In this situation material evidences were hidden with reference to some criminal investigation, and so far we know nothing about its process and results. Such attitude to material evidences is a violation of rules of investigation, affecting completeness and objectivity of conclusions.

It is worth mentioning that pictures of the fragments of missiles finally appeared in the final report, but besides pictures and incomprehensible, evasive phrases, there is no concrete information about it as of material evidences. Russian side reminds that it is necessary to provide the results of complete, transparent, thorough scientific-expert analysis of such findings to prove its genuineness.

On the ignorance of data provided by the Russian side by commission

Cooperation during the investigation is an open dialogue with possibility to take part in research and get reasonable conclusion, based on facts. In fact, we were witnessing the situation when our arguments were listened without any response.

With the aim of investigating and finding the reason of the catastrophe, the Russian side declassified data regarding BUK missiles. It was done for the first time in the history of investigations in civil aviation. It was the initiative of the Russian side, with no requests from investigation commission.

Defence Ministry scientific center also carried out a research, and its results were voiced to Netherlands too.

At the same time, invitations by Russian experts to come to Russia to carry out joint experiments and researches were repeatedly ignored.

On not full usage of results of plane fragments assemblage by commission

Netherlands specialists carried out really big and important work in this field.

The other question is how fully and effective results of this work were used?

In this investigation results of assemblage were very important for determining the place of launch of the warhead, which allows to determine the type of the missile and its orientation in space.

These calculations were incorrect. Russia repeatedly offered help in carrying out this research, all the more, Russia has this experience after investigating the catastrophe of TU-154 aircraft over the Black Sea in October 2001.



On the submunitions found in the fuselage of the Malaysian Boeing and in the bodies of its passengers.

Unfortunately, we do not know about the submunitions more than it's written in the final report.

Throughout the investigation the number of the found submunitions was constantly changing. In fact, until August there were only two severely deformed striking objects reminiscent of a "butterfly" form. The photo of this object is presented in the final report.

Why the forms of the striking elements are so important? The "butterfly" form is a unique feature of the striking element which is specific only to the type of warhead of the SAM "Buk-M1" missile. Russia has not received a response for the request on how the Dutch Commission managed to have at its disposal these elements and from where they were extracted. Although the rest of the extracted fragments were accompanied by the appropriate documents during the presentation of the final report (protocols showing the locations of extraction, the photos of these places, etc.).

The provision of official documents on where and under what circumstances these submunitions were found and confiscated is necessary. 

On weighing a fragment, its mass was 5.5 grams, while the weight of the original analogue striking element is 8.2 grams. It means that the object kept its form, but lost 34% of the mass after the clash with the aircraft skin. However, it totally contradicts the performance data of the missile warhead, as well as the results of tests. The full-scale experiments have shown that submunitions usually lose up to 10% of their weight but not 34% after the blast of the missile. The results of those experiments have been presented to the Commission in August this year.

The experts of the Russian Ministry of Defense who were invited to take part in the investigation decided to conduct a simple but very illustrative experiment. Its purpose was to deform the striking element to the size of its analogue allegedly recovered from the debris.

According to the results of this experiment, the Russian experts have failed to get the same form of the striking element as the one provided by the Board to prove the destruction of the Malaysian airplane by the type SAM "Buk-M1" missile.

Thus, the Russian side has come to the conclusion that the two "butterfly" resembling fragments, provided the Dutch specialists cannot be classified as             H-shaped form ("butterfly") striking elements of the warhead of SAM "Buk-M1" missile because there is no correlation either in mass, or in form or in size between them.

In March 2015, we have proposed to develop a joint methodology for conducting investigations in order to avoid conflicts and misunderstandings in case of conviction of the results. We still have not received any response.


On incomplete examination of metals needed to determine the composition of the striking objects and whether they belong to the type of the missile, which is identified by the commission.

In order to identify the type of the warhead of the missile such examinations of the striking objects as chemical composition; brand of metal, initial weight, shape and size should be carried out.

There must be a comparative analysis of physicochemical properties of the detected objects and the destruction traces with the reported data of the same weapons. Submunitions are sort of "fingerprints" of a missile. In other words, identifying the striking element, you can define its belonging to this or that missile. The Russian experts got the first fragmentary data of studies of chemical composition of the submunitions only in August, although we had been requesting for it since February of this year.  In response, we heard only excuses referring to the fact that these studies can not be done due to the criminal investigation which was conducted at the same time. This argument is quite strange. Such problems have never arisen in case of similar investigations in the Russian Federation, because experts from both technical and criminal investigation teams should be equally interested in the objectivity of their findings. Furthermore, such position contradicts to the requirements of ICAO.



On the responsibility of Ukraine for not closing its airspace.

On July 3, 1988 a missile cruiser of the US Navy shot down over the Persian Gulf an Iranian civilian aircraft Airbus A-300, killing 290 people.

After this disaster, in 1990, the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) issued the document №9554, which gives recommendations on the safety measures to be taken in relation to military activities that are potentially hazardous to civil aircraft.

This document clearly describes the procedures that must be taken in connection with various kinds of military exercises as well as local armed conflicts. The report puts emphasis on coordination between the Defense Ministry and the air traffic services agency of the state in which the "hot zone" appeared.

Should Ukraine have completely closed its airspace over the Donbass area? Definitely yes.

Ukraine as a sovereign state bears full liability for ensuring safety of flights in its airspace, including the immediate imposition of the air exclusion zones during emergency periods. It is clearly indicated in Article 9 of the Convention on International Civil Aviation.

In accordance with Annexes 11 and 15 to the Convention on International Civil Aviation, the contracting state, which is responsible for the provision of air navigation services, must identify the dangerous areas / flight exclusion zones in the case of activities that pose a threat to flights in the prescribed manner and within the required time. Ukraine has not fulfilled the requirements of the ICAO Annexes. The airspace over the areas of fighting had to be closed at all flight levels. In this case, the airline companies would not be able to continue to operate flights over the previously mentioned territory under any circumstances. Unfortunately, our Ukrainian colleagues were seeking lucre while deciding not to limit the upper flight levels over the areas of fighting, as revenues from the aeronautical fees for transit flights over the eastern part of Ukraine made up a significant part of the budget of the Ukrainian air navigation services provider - "UkSATSE."


On similarity of the crash of the Tu-154 of "Siberia" airline company on October 4, 2001

Ukrainian military while its exercises have mistakenly shot down the passenger plane TU-154 of "Siberia" airline company, en route from Tel Aviv to Novosibirsk. The 78 passengers were killed. According to the IAC, the plane was shot down by the Ukrainian missile fired from the anti-aircraft missile complex "C-200B." However, the perpetrators have never been punished. In 2004 the Prosecutor General's Office of Ukraine has closed the previously initiated criminal proceedings in connection with the absence of crime in the actions of officials of the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine. According to its investigators there was a "fateful coincidence" which led to a disaster of TU-154. 

As known, Ukraine has not accepted full liability for TU-154 crash over the Black Sea. No apologies have been brought to the next of kin. Moreover, the Ukrainian government has not paid compensation for the downing of the aircraft.

The compensation payments to the flight passengers and their families have been performed only within the framework of the intergovernmental agreements and the agreements reached between the Russian Federation, Ukraine and Israel.

While observing the statements of the Ukrainian officials at the very beginning of the investigation of "Boing 777", we may assume that the Ukrainian authorities will adhere to the similar position in the case of downing of the Malaysian "Boeing".

While investigating the TU-154 crash, Russia has got huge experience in analyzing combat damages of civilian aircraft. The ICAO manual on investigations of aircraft crashes does not contain procedures and guidelines for the analysis of such cases.

In May 2015 during the meeting of authorized representatives of the commission, Russia has provided detailed information on how the TU-154 case has been conducted and once again offered its assistance in the current investigation. We also placed emphasis on advertency to such important methods as the definition of the missile detonation initiation point and complete study of submunitions, which is the basis for the identification of a missile warhead.

In our opinion, the investigation, which lasted for a year, did not give answers to many questions. In particular, the Dutch experts have wrongly defined the initiation point of the missile as well as they have not carried out the research of the submunitions properly. Moreover, the type of the missile has not been clearly identified. It's vital to mention that the issues of compliance with the requirements of international air legislation on provision of flights over conflict zones have not been resolved completely. Finally, the commission has not appraised the cooperation between the Ukrainian civil and military departments in the flight control over the Donbass area.



On non-provision by Ukraine of the records of air controller's talks and radar data.

Such information was not provided by Kiev.

Moreover, it was announced without providing any evidence that there were no flights of the Ukrainian air force on the day of air catastrophe. Also it is not known about the talks between the military and the civilian sector.

Regarding the movement of the Ukrainian missile system ʺBukʺ, this information was not analyzed and taken into account.

During the preparation of comments to the draft final report Russia urged to answer the question - why the data of the Russian Defense Ministry which have been mentioned at the briefing in July 2014 are not used. The question "hang in the air."

Moreover, the situation was more than strange on the day of the air catastrophe. On the one hand, as Kiev said, the Ukrainian air defense radar did not work, that means that a control of the air situation from the Ukrainian air defense was not carried out. On the other hand the ʺBukʺ missile systems were deployed and ready to destroy military targets.

Also it was an alarming information that the primary radiolocation did not work in Dnepropetrovsk civilian sector of air traffic services due to routine maintenance.

Thus, on the day of the accident on the territory of Ukraine the radar stations were not working and it wasn´t able to detect air targets with non-working equipment of active response.

Even if we assume that this is just a coincidence, the question arises - how did the Ukrainian authorities hope to produce safe air traffic services over the zone of conflict in the case of a possible failure mode of the secondary radiolocation on the radar station in Dnepropetrovsk?


The United States has not provided the data from their satellites.

These data were not officially given, although all know that Washington has repeatedly stated that they have the indicated images. From this, we can draw only one conclusion - such data do not exist or they were not made public for political reasons.



On the experiment of the concern "Almaz-Antey" to blow up aircraft with a missile in a special test site.

It was a complete full-scale experiment. The aim was to check the version, mentioned in the preliminary report of the international commission that the missile launch was carried out from the area of Snezhnoe. For this purpose, a decommissioned aircraft IL-86 the most suitable for aerodynamic, technical, physical and a number of other parameters was purchased, similar in design to the fuselage of Boeing-777. The supercomputer has processed more than 14 million possible options, we determined the parameters of compensation of dynamic and static position of objects – the missile and aircraft. A 9M38M1 missile with a warhead 9SH14M was blown up. The experiment refuted a preliminary version of the international commission that the launch was carried out from the area of Snezhnoe. Because if it was Snezhnoe, the nature of the damage of the aircraft would be very different, in contrast to what we see on the fuselage "Boeing" in reality. We remind, the main impact of submunitions fell on the left side of the Malaysian "Boeing" - the cockpit, left wing, the left engine, and the left side of the tail. In the experiment carried out on the basis of an international commission,      IL-86 did not get the left engine damaged. The main concentration of the damaging elements - so-called "scalpel" type - has passed completely through the cabin, which excludes the preservation of the right part intact. Thus, it must be noted that the missile could not be launched to "Boeing" from the Snezhnoe village.


On the results of the "Almaz-Antey" report.

- The launch of the aircraft could not be carried out from the area of Snezhnoe. If it was Snezhnoe, the nature of the injuries of Malaysian aircraft would be very different, in contrast to what we see on its fuselage in reality. The main impact of submunitions fell on the left side of the Malaysian "Boeing" - the cockpit, left wing, the left engine, and the left side of the tail. In the experiment carried out on the basis of an international commission, IL-86 did not get the left engine damaged. The main concentration of the damaging elements - the so-called "scalpel" - has passed completely through the cabin, which excludes the preservation of the right side intact.

- As a result of the experiment, after the missile explosion the body of the aircraft IL-86 had many ports in the form of "butterfly" - traces of "I-beams". However, we know that such traces (in the form of "butterflies") in the Malaysian downed "Boeing were not found at all, there was dominated by the damage in the form of "parallelepiped", which can be caused by submunitions of last generation 9M38 missiles, which Russia doesn't have in service.



The version according to which MH17 was shot down by the attack plane SU-25.

During the briefing by the Ministry of Defense of Russia this type of aircraft was named as a presumable one, used by the Ukrainian Air Forces in the conflict area. If you remember during the briefing of the Ministry of Defense the aircraft SU-25 was named alongside the data on activities of Ukrainian "BUK"s. Specialists from the Russian defense agency presented to the Commission facts and materials for study and comprehensive analysis, that were supposed to have been taken into consideration by the Dutch Safety Board in its investigation and in preparing the final report, which had not been done. Attached to those materials there were evidence of witnesses provided by the Investigation Committee of Russia, which had also been ignored.

Meanwhile the final report states that such a lead is ruled out, but there are no clear argumentation and proof provided by the Commission. The Russian Side considers it as being unfounded, which again does not do the honour of the Netherlands.


The version of explosion of the bomb inside the airplane.

Same as with the lead on the "air-to-air" missile the lead that the aircraft could have imploded was ruled out without explanation and demonstration of results of a detailed analysis.



On photos in the Internet, depicting a trace in the sky from a missile launch near Snizhnoe.

During the investigation there was no search or questioning of witnesses, which is a requirement in investigating aviation accidents. In the final report one cannot find any reference to a witness' evidence, including that pointing to a missile launch from the area near Snizhne.

The investigation of the MH17 catastrophe was accompanied by loads of misinformation and lies, that's why one cannot trust all the information, which showed up and is showing up in the Internet.

On the report by the independent research center "Bellingcat", claiming that the Malaysian Boeing was downed by a "BUK" of a Russian antiaircraft missile brigade, based near Kursk.

You cannot name experts the persons who didn't see the aircraft wreckage, didn't conduct studies of combat damages to the aircraft fuselage, didn't study data on ballistic characteristics of missiles of "surface-to-air" and "air-to-air" classes. In the so called study of "Bellingcat" one simply cannot find such data. To draw such conclusions based on photos and statements of unknown background doesn't seem to be reasonable and objective.

Moreover developer of image analysis software, data of which served as a basis for the information of Russia's complicity in the catastrophe of the Boeing, criticized the founder of this journalist union. According to him the work by "Bellingcat" is an example of how images shouldn't be analyzed.

The German "Spiegel" also apologized later for trusting the materials of the portal as true.



No doubt that the main suffered party besides the victims of this dreadful tragedy is the next of kin of the dead. Such prolonged and poor investigation is nothing else than a show of disrespect towards them and their sufferings. Families repeatedly voiced accusations of the Joint Investigation Team, Ukrainian and Dutch authorities in inaction and bias. Family members of the victims asked to hand over the investigation of the catastrophe to the UN, because the Commission in their opinion has in effect "failed the mission". Totally the ECRH has received 4 suits from the families. It is known that after the publication of the final report a number of more suits are being prepared to the International Criminal Court against Ukraine, including from citizens of Germany and Malaysia.

The first writ was filed to the ECHR in November 2014 by a German citizen – a relative of one of the victims of the catastrophe. It stated that "the authorities of Ukraine should have totally close the air space in the East of the country even before the "Boeing" catastrophe, but ignored all alarms". Media reported that for the end of summer of this year there has been no decision even on accepting the complaint for consideration and this was the case with the other 3 suits from the families of those who died in the catastrophe. Meanwhile in the ECHR they insisted that such a long period of studying writs "is not unusual".



On further actions of Russia in connection with not recognizing the conclusions of the Commission as full and objective

Standards of the International Civil Aviation Organization do not provide for disputing results of investigation. There is a procedure of resuming the investigation in case there are new important facts after the end of the investigation.

The Russian military experts have conducted a full-scale experiment with use of a front part of fuselage of an analogue aircraft. They received new important facts not taken into account and not put into the final report on the results of the investigation.

Accordingly on the basis of Standard 5.13 Annex 13 to the Convention on International Civil Aviation the Russian Federation will officially approach the Dutch Safety Board with a suggestion to resume the investigation of the MH17 catastrophe.

If any of the member-states of the MH17 catastrophe investigation expresses wish to join discussion of process and results of our studies, we are ready to organize such a meeting.