In the history of humankind, the incidents regarding the disappearance of a ship or an airline, or rather their demolition in mid-air have been subject to a lot of conspiracy theories. One such incident revolved around the disastrous MH17 crash.
What Was The Issue That Led To The MH17 Crash?
The story emerged on the steppes of eastern Ukraine. On July 17, 2014, Boeing 777 left Amsterdam to reach the Malaysian capital Kuala Lumpur. However, it turned into the worst air tragedy for almost two decades, as it suddenly broke up mid-air, killing 298 passengers on board. This disaster came four months following the mysterious disappearance of the Malaysian airline, flight 370.
During that time, the Russian backed rebel militia and the Ukrainian government were facing a bitter civil war. The Official Technical Report by the Dutch Safety Board after 15 months of deliberation concluded that the flight was hit by a powerful, Russian-made Buk ground-to-air missile. A major assumption was that the pro-Russian rebels fired at it, thinking the flight to be a Ukrainian Air Force jet.
However, this Western explanation was fiercely contested by Russia and the rebels from the very beginning.
Four days following the MH17 crash, two of Russia’s senior-most generals accused the Ukrainian government that they deliberately changed the path of MH17, thereby pushing the flight path into the war zone. A momentary blip was highlighted by them on the Russian radar, arguing that this indicated a missile-armed Ukrainian Su-25 fighter jet, which was guaranteed to hit targets within a range of three miles.
The Buk Missile Theory
There is still much of a controversy regarding a Buk missile being involved in the crash. One of the major assumptions by the Russian media was that a Buk missile was involved. Attempts were made to find evidence regarding the huge 18ft (5.5m), 1,500lb (700kg) missile being launched but nothing was found.
At that time, however, a series of photos, videos, and social media posts were published which point to a missile launcher, heading east from the rebel capital of Donetsk into deep of the rebel area, on the day MH17 crashed.
The trajectory or the route ended in the corner of a large field, about 25 km where MH17 was hit and a mile east to the village of Red October – the area identified as the likely launch location. The region was controlled by the pro-Russian rebels. Adding to this, a Buk missile launch leads to searing temperatures, and a photograph was taken in the field post a few days after the crash manifested a patch of burnt grass.
It was argued that how could a massive missile be fired, with such a huge blaze of light, not photographed by anyone? A photograph was posted three hours after the crash on social media, which claimed to show a plume of smoke rising from the missile that brought down MH17.
The photos were said to be taken by a man form a classic Soviet-style housing estate, placed seven miles north-west of the likely launch site. However, many researchers claim that those pictures were forged and fake. It was argued that the wires shown in the photograph couldn’t have been taken from the photographer’s balcony. Further, it was said that the launch location was not visible from the photographer’s balcony.
However, Eliot Higgins, an office worker turned blogger, setting up an online investigation website called Bellingcat, insisted that the wires were placed in the right location to be caught on camera. He was supported by similar bloggers who came to a similar conclusion after analyzing all the information in detail.
On the day MH17 crashed, a local Valentina Kovolenko claimed that on that day while she was working on her field, a large noise caught her attention. According to her, although she initially thought it was a plane, she later realized it was actually a missile being launched, the same which she never saw before and has never seen since.
The US Government has claimed that it has a secret spy image of a Buk missile being launched. However, due to unknown reasons, it has refused to publish them, maybe because of the fear of revealing its technical capabilities. However, Ray McGovern, a CIA analyst for 27 years, is not convinced with such an argument. He claims that led to unrestrained propaganda effort to show Putin in the bad light in order to bolster support for his sanctions on Russia.