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Euromaidan Press | 04Jan2016 | Bellingcat

Bellingcat narrows list of possible MH17 culprits from Russian 53rd Brigade to 20 servicemen

The investigative journalism team Bellingcat has narrowed the list of those involved in the downing of flight MH17, the Malaysian airliner that was shot down above East Ukraine on 17 July 2014 to 20 Russian servicemen.

Bellingcat submitted their new report submitted to the Dutch Public Prosecution Service two weeks ago, according to the Dutch outlet NOS, and will be made available to the Joint Investigation Team (JIT), which is conducting the  criminal investigation about the MH17 catastrophe.

According to NOS, all names and other data through the JIT will “be seriously considered, examined and assessed on their suitability for the criminal investigation,” as said by the spokesperson of the prosecutor.

Bellingcat names the 53d brigade from Kursk as those responsible for delivering the Buk missile launcher to Ukraine in their report released on 8 October 2015. You can also see the path of the Buk in their interactive StoryMap presentation. Now, Bellingcat narrows the list of servicemen directly involved in the downing to 20 soldiers.

One of them is Sergey M., the brigade’s commander. Other stakeholders are Dmitry T., the commander of the Second Battalion, and nine lieutenants who were in charge of the Buk-air defense missile systems within the battalion in 2014, as well as experienced soldiers that had been trained to operate a Buk. 

Eliot Higgins, bellingcat founder, did the research together with eleven volunteers from many countries, including the Netherlands, Germany, Poland, and the United States, by scouring social networks for signs of the brigade’s activity.

The 123-page long report, which has taken over a year of investigation, contains details  which Bellingcat believes are too sensitive to make public during the police investigation, however, a shorter version of the report will be made available.

This includes soldiers who were part of the convoy that took the Buk we believe shot down to the border with Ukraine.
We currently plan to release a shorter version of the report with findings we believe are safe to be published in the coming weeks.

Previously, JIT used Bellingcat’s investigation of the trailer in which the Buk missile launcher was captured in their online call to search for witnesses of its trasportation in a Russian-language video with English subtitles.