Following days of confused and unsubstantiated allegations that Kiev shot down MH17, the Kremlin finally assembled and presented a coherent story that did not include “pre-dead passengers”. As a matter of fact, it presented proof for more than one coherent stories. Problem is, that was one too many.
This afternoon a heavily pre-teased press conference was held by the Chief of Staff o the Russian Army, Andrey Kartapolov.
There he presented iron-clad evidence that a Ukrainian SU-25 fighter plane was flying towards the MH17 airliner. “Russian radars detected the Ukrainian fighter jet getting as close as 3-5 km from MH17. Let me remind you that Su-25 can shoot down a plane from up to 12 km, and certainly from 5 km. SU-25 can also easily rise to a level of 10 km, if it wants to.” [This must be base on some supernatural will-power, as the technically feasible altitude of a SU-25 is, its Russian manufacturer reports, only 7 km]
Russia asked Ukraine, rhetorically, [and not just once], why a SU-25 would get as close to, follow, and fly on the same altitude, as a commercial airliner? Plus, why would it fly on the same altitude? Especially when it can’t?
Furthermore, Russian radars were able to register an unidentified air vessel circling over the crash site for exactly 4 minutes, arguably to make sure MH17 would fall down instead of up.
So, that’s what happened, the world gasped. A SU-25 shot MH17 down.
Not only, though. Andrey Kartapolov had more evidence to share. Exactly on July 17th, Russian satellites, he told us, photographed a relocation of one Ukrainian BUK installation towards the rebel-held area. On the first photograph, dated July 14th, satellites captured a BUK 9 km west of Lugansk. In the area near Donetsk, satellites capture photos of radio-location radars. And on the 16th of July, several anti-aircraft units (although none BUKs) were photographed near Donetsk. Crucially, on the 17th July none of these were to be seen, although they were noticed in the morning was seen about 60 km away from the crash site. (here I got confused, but that’s beyond the point).
The logical question emerged, Gen. Kartapolov said, why the anti-aircraft battery was so close to the rebel-controlled territory just before the tragedy? (In other words, why would Ukraine have anti-aircraft defense systems about 50 km from the Russian border? I don’t know…) Most crucially though, Russian intelligence had confirmed increased levels of radar-location communication by the Ukrainian BUK systems at the time of the crash, which can only have one explanation.
So, it was clear from the evidence presented in this part of the press conference hat Ukraine had transported the BUKs towards the Russian border in time for the shoot-down, and had hidden them immediately after the shoot-down.
But wait..there was more. An experimental US military satellite happened to linger over the crash site on exactly that time and date, suggesting…
Anyway, evidence seems clear. Ukrainian BUKs shot down MH17, while a modded Ukrainian SU-25 was flying 3 km above its maximum altitude and was also shooting at it, just in case. And there was this CIA satellite too that probably shot MH17 as well.
One piece of PR advice, Gen. Kartopolov. Any of your proposed theories today might have raised a tangible level of doubt in the – thus far – widely accepted hypothesis of the Russian-backed terrorists bringing down the plane. But presenting, with equal conviction, evidence of two completely incompatible theories, just cancelled any shred of credibility that this presentation might have had. It’s just one of those things where more isn’t necessarily better.