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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 12/17/14

Shooting Down MH 17 - BUK 312 Story False Says Ukraine Crew Member

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The BUK 312 Millile Unit - Ukrainei Army, Coup Terrotiry
The BUK 312 Millile Unit - Ukrainei Army, Coup Terrotiry
(Image by Anatoly Sharij)
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The shoot down of Malaysian Airlines flight MH 17 came into greater focus with the December 15 YouTube video featuring a former crew member of BUK self-propelled fire installation, number 312 (BUK 312). Ukraine's government and others maintained that the BUK 312 unit shot down MH17 while manned by a resistance crew. The Obama administration championed that narrative holding both the resistance and Russia responsible for the 298 deaths on July 17. The interview was conducted by investigative journalist Anatoly Sharij and translated by Marina Stewart (see full test in English at end of this article). (Image: BUK 312 in Kiev junta terrotiry - Anatoly Sharij)

The 23-year-old former BUK 312 crewmember revealed that the missile unit was in fact manned by the Ukraine military. He outlines the missile system's location and how it operated. The former sergeant also offered analysis and research indicating the very low probability that the 312 crew shot down MH17.

Claims that the eastern Ukraine resistance shot down MH 17 with a BUK system rely on a Ukraine government audiotape in which resistance commanders allegedly admit to the shoot down. The tape lost credibility when it was discovered that a key part of the recording was made hours before the crash. In addition, the tape was patched together, not a continuous conversation.

The Ukraine secret service (SBU) claimed to produce photographs of a Russian BUK 312 missile system fully capable of knocking MH17 out of the skies. When that evidence failed to pass muster, an "open source" investigation by Eliot Higgins (also known as Brown Moses) allegedly produced evidence that the BUK 312 system was in the town of Snizhne in the Donetsk region controlled by the resistance.

If the BUK 312 was in Snizhne, as claimed, with a capable resistance crew, both doubtful assumptions, we would need to believe that the crew did nothing to protect Snizhne on July 15 (just two days before the MH17 shoot down) when Ukraine's air force leveled major sections of the city (BBC, July 15).

The real story of who, how, and why MH 17 was destroyed is emerging over time. The interview adds evidence that deserves serious consideration. The former soldier, known as "A," described his role in the Ukraine military and how the BUK 312 unit was staffed:

"I am 23, and I have been in contract service with the Ukrainian army. Last summer the contract term came to an end, but I was not dismissed from service for reasons well known to you. My duty station was the exact BUK self-propelled fire installation (Russian abbreviation transliterated as SOU - translator) number 312""

A says that BUK 312 unit had a four member crew. He was the "deputy commander." The unit started out in "Lugansk and [was] relocated to Kramatorsk. Donetsk." The former deputy commander explains the origin of the 312 label:

This is how you decipher 312:

3 stands for the third (Lugansk) division,
1 stands for the battery number, ours was no. 1,
2 stands for one of the 2. service units in each battery, ours was no. 2.

Interviewer Sharij asks: "This BUK 312 was said to be a Russian missile launcher."

A responds: "No. This BUK is 100% Ukrainian one. " It made us all laugh, the way SBU presented this as BUK of the rebels or Russian BUK."

AS: What do you think about this BUK downing the Malaysian Boeing?

A: No clue. By the time it happened I was transferred to Avdeevka division. I only heard SBU [Ukraine secret police] say this particular missile launcher with board number 312 downed the Boeing. All I know it couldn't have done this. I spoke with my ex-comrades in arms and they said they didn't do it.

In the days after the shoot down, Robert Parry reported government sources saying that their evidence indicated that a Ukrainian missile crew shot down MH 17. Reporting by Eric Zuesse and this author followed up indicating credibility to the claim that a Ukraine fighter jet shot down the civilian airliner.

The speculation over the BUK 312 system may have just been a smokescreen to divert attention away from the real culprit, whomever that may be. A review of the full interview shows the value of direct testimony by involved parties.

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