This paper investigates the feasibility of the Russian Ministry of Defense’s allegation that BUK-M1 missile launchers were deployed by the Ukrainian Armed Forces to Zaroshchens’ke village near Shakhtersk in Ukraine’s Donetsk Oblast within firing range of the flightpath of Malaysian Airlines flight MH17. The path of Ukraine’s BUK-M1 units is traced from their leaving their bases up through their physicial disposition in mid-July of 2014. By examining on-line military operational reports of the Donbass Conflict from
Julyand August of 2014 from the Ukrainian Armed Forces and the Self-Defense Militia of the self-proclaimed Donetsk National Republic regarding the military situation between Ilovaisk and Saur Mogila, as well as social media posts by local residents, a coherent picture is uncovered which places this region in the control of the Ukrainian military from July 15 up to August, 21, 2014. Using this data, on-line satellite imagery of the region of the BUK-M1 site reported by the Russian Ministry of Defense near Zaroshchens’ke is examined, and military features seen in the imagery are interpreted in light of the military
reports. Eyewitness interviews and social media posts are reviewed describing a rocket launch from near Shakhtersk. The paper concludes the deployment shown by Russian satellite imagery was militarily feasible because Ukraine controlled and had access to the territory in question, Ukrainian BUK vehicles were in the area, and local residents may have witnessed a launch. This confirms the government of Ukraine is a potential culprit in the shootdown of the civilian airliner MH17.
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