Troubling Gaps in the New MH-17 Report

Exclusive: The new accusation of Russian complicity in 2014 Malaysia Airlines shootdown was based on Ukrainian intelligence intercepts that were selectively interpreted while contrary information was ignored, writes Robert Parry.

By Robert Parry

The key conclusion of the Dutch-led criminal inquiry implicating Russia in the 2014 shootdown of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 relied heavily on cryptic telephone intercepts that were supplied by the Ukrainian intelligence service and were given incriminating meaning not clearly supported by the words.

The investigators also seemed to ignore other intercepts that conflicted with their conclusions, including one conversation that appeared to be referring to a Ukrainian convoy, not one commanded by ethnic Russian rebels, that was closing in on the Luhansk airport, placing Ukrainian troops deep inside rebel territory.

A Malaysia Airways' Boeing 777 like the one that crashed in eastern Ukraine on July 17, 2014. (Photo credit: Aero Icarus from Zürich, Switzerland)

A Malaysia Airways’ Boeing 777 like the one that crashed in eastern Ukraine on July 17, 2014. (Photo credit: Aero Icarus from Zürich, Switzerland)

That conversation was among five that the Joint Investigation Team (JIT) released in seeking the public’s help in identifying persons of interest in the MH-17 shootdown. The callers seemed to discussing information from Moscow regarding the movement of a convoy, but they describe it as a “Ukrops” or Ukrainian troop convoy.

“B: I am saying about the confirmation of the convoy that is going in the direction of the airport… Moscow/Moskva has confirmed… they see it. Is it err… whatsit… Ukrops convoy?

“A: The convoy that is going in the direction of the airport? Yes.

“B: And how did it go through?

“A: Most likely through Sabovka,” which the JIT interprets to be the town of Sabivka, about five miles west of Luhansk and about 92 miles northeast of Donetsk, the two rebel capitals. The Luhansk airport is about 20 miles south of the city center.

In other words, if this intercept from JIT is correct, the Ukrainian military was operating near the highway routes that the alleged Russian Buk missile battery would have been using. The conversation then picks up, referring to a possible battle for the airport:

“B: So, the convoy was…

Read more