Intelligence report says anti-aircraft system that shot down Malaysian airliner was seized from Ukrainian forces

By bne IntelliNews October 20, 2014

bne -


Germany's foreign intelligence service BND believes that the anti-aircraft missile system that shot down a Malaysian Airlines MH17 flight over East Ukraine in July, with the loss of all 298 on board, had been seized by Russian-backed rebels from Ukrainian forces, according to a report in Germany's Spiegel.

"The BND has intelligence indicating that pro-Russian separatists captured a BUK air defence missile system at a Ukrainian military base and fired a missile on July 17 that exploded in direct proximity to the Malaysian aircraft," reads the Spiegel report, referring to a presentation by BND president Gerhard Schindler on October 8 to members of Germany's parliamentary control committee, responsible for monitoring the work of German intelligence.

The BND thus contradicts both Ukrainian claims that Russia supplied the anti-aircraft system, as well as Russian claims that it was Ukrainian forces that had shot down the plane. BND said that evidence produced by both sides to support their claims had been clearly falsified.

Schindler said that the Russian-backed rebels were responsible for firing the missile, according to Spiegel, and that this could constitute a war crime.

Ukraine has fiercely denied that rebels had managed to seize any Ukrainian BUK (Gadfly) anti-aircraft missile launchers, arguing that surface-air rocket system had been supplied by Russia. 

The Spiegel report did not detail where and when the missile system had been seized. Russian-backed rebels in East Ukraine claimed in June that they had seized a BUK system when they overran a Ukrainian military based.  

Nor did it detail which of the rebels groups had fired the missile. Intercepted radio communications released to media by Ukraine's security service immediately following the incident pointed to a rebel commander nicknamed 'Bes' as having been in command of the unit, which apparently comprised Don Cossacks, potentially Russian citizens.

Ukraine's security service has also acknowledged that one line of investigation being followed is that former Ukrainian servicemen from an anti-aircraft unit based in the Crimea, having joined the rebels following Russia's annexation of Crimea, had operated the rebels' BUK system. 

Notice: Undefined index: social in /var/www/html/application/views/scripts/index/article.phtml on line 259

Related Articles

Ukraine's largest PrivatBank faces down nationalisation fears

Graham Stack in Kyiv - Ukraine's largest lender PrivatBank has survived a stormy week of speculation over its future, but there are larger rocks ahead, with some market participants anticipating the ... more

bne:Chart - Russia begins to steady the ship according to latest Despair Index

Henry Kirby in London - Ukraine and Russia’s latest “Despair Index” scores suggest that the two struggling economies could finally be turning the corner, following nearly two years of steady ... more

Austria's Erste rides CEE recovery to swing to profit in Jan-Sep

bne IntelliNews - Erste Group Bank saw the continuing economic recovery across Central and Eastern Europe push its January-September financial results back into net profit of €764.2mn, the ... more