On July 17, 2014, Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 fell from the sky over Ukraine and crashed with no survivors. Speculation flew surrounding the plane crash, some of which pointed the finger at Russia who had recently sent troops into Ukraine. Russia denied these claims and blamed Ukrainian separatists within Ukraine.

Now, months later, a German investigative group known as CORRECT!V, claims they have proof Russia is responsible for shooting MH17 out of the sky.

The CORRECT!V website focused on the investigation claims MH17 was shot down by a BUK surface-to-air missile. They claim the missile was fired by the 53rd Russian Air Defense Brigade, which displayed no national emblems while in Ukrainian territory. The brigade was initially tasked with protecting Russian tank units.

Various military experts spoke with the investigation team and said the BUK missile system could have only been operated by a group of “highly trained specialists acting as a close-knit unit…”

The reason these experts claim it could have only been trained specialists using the machinery is the operators would have only had seconds to switch on their machinery, fire the missile, then turn the machinery back off before they would have been found by other radar systems or targeted. At the time of the crash, no other radar signatures were reported. 

CORRECT!V sent investigators to the area of Ukraine where MH17 was downed, and the investigators spoke to witnesses of the crash as well as people who claim to have seen the BUK missile system responsible for the crash.

One witness said he had seen a vehicle launch the missile into the air, followed by a series of percussive “bang” sounds.

The missile flew from here,” said the witness. “I was in the yard and heard an explosion, a bang. It was a really loud bang. The tiles on my roof shook. Then there was a long sound. And then a very loud explosion: bang, bang. And just as I ran out into the road, the plane began to fall. Down the road, several kilometers from here. And you could see it burn.”

Aleksandr Khodakovskiy, a former SBU officer who is now a separatist commander, told Reuters months ago his initial unit was in possession of a BUK missile system, but he retracted this statement not long afterwards. He spoke with CORRECT!V saying after the MH17 crash, his unit was still in possession of a BUK, but he did not possess the personnel to operate the system properly or effectively. 

“I know for sure that the popular militia did not shoot down the Boeing,” said Khodakovskiy. “We don’t have and didn’t have specialists who can operate such high precision weapons systems.”

Russian authorities continue to claim they had no part in the downing of MH17.

The full report from CORRECT!V can be found here.

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