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Bellingcat: Russian brigade operates Buk that downed MH17

Bellingcat journalist group published a report on the results of the investigation that identified the Buk anti-aircraft missile system that downed Malaysian Airlines Flight 17 as originating from Russia’s 53rd Anti-Aircraft Missile Brigade of Kursk
Bellingcat: Russian brigade operates Buk that downed MH17

According to the Bellingcat’s new publication, in November 2014, the journalist group published a report that identified the Buk TELAR (missile launcher) that downed Malaysian Airlines Flight 17 as “Buk 3×2,” originating from Russia’s 53rd Anti-Aircraft Missile Brigade of Kursk. The Buk was called 3×2 due to an obscured middle digit, which was not identifiable at the time of the report’s publication.

According to a new report, the group positively identifies the middle digit of this Buk by matching seven characteristic features on Buk 3×2, including a unique dent on a side panel, the white marks on the chassis, and the cable arrangement connecting to the missile erector.

“The middle digit is a three, thus identifying the number of the Buk that downed MH17 as “332” before the middle digit was obscured. In this new investigation, members of the Bellingcat investigation team collected and analyzed dozens of photographs of Buk TELARs that have been posted online by members of the 53rd Anti-Aircraft Missile Brigade since 2010,” – the report says.

“The full report gives details on the process in determining that these three TELARs were the only possible candidates for identification. After comparing the seven unique features, Buk 332 was the only TELAR that had even one of these features in common with Buk 3×2 from materials recorded in Russia in June 2014 and eastern Ukraine on July 17 and 18, 2014. The seven examined features were: side skirt profile, wheel type (combination of hollow wheels and spoke wheels), dent in the left side panel, arrangement of cable connections to the missile erector, white mark on both side skirts, font and exact spacing of digits, and the shape and size of oil/soot deposits by exhaust,” – the team’s report said.