Was Col. Strelkov’s dispatch about a downed ‘Ukrainian plane’ authentic?

The Interpreter reports: When regular watchers of the news from the self-proclaimed “Donetsk People’s Republic” saw the latest dispatch on 17 July from Col. Igor Strelkov, the self-appointed “Defense Minister” of the DPR, they realized that the pro-Russian separatists didn’t know yet what had happened.


Here is a translation by The Interpreter of the dispatch as it originally appeared at Svodki Strelkova Igora Ivanovicha, or “Igor Ivanovich Strelkov’s Dispatches”, a community at the popular Russian social networking site VKontakte:

“In the area of Torez, we have just shot down an AN-26 airplane, it is scattered about somewhere by the Progress coal mine.

We warned them – don’t fly ‘in our sky.’

Here is a video confirmation of the latest ‘bird drop.’

The bird fell beyond the slag heap, it did not damage the residential sector.

Civilians were not hurt.

There is also information about a second downed airplane, apparently an SU.”

As we reported 17 July, this post that originally appeared on the “Strelkov’s Dispatches” VKontakte group showed that the pro-Russian separatists were boasting about having downed yet another Ukrainian airplane — or maybe even two — just as they had done on 14 July with a powerful anti-aircraft system in Krasnodon.

As this apparent admission of the downing of the plane seemed to be a smoking gun in the tragedy of the Malaysian airline, it has come under much scrutiny as possibly a “fake” or just a blog post of an unofficial Strelkov fan group that might be prone to erroneous postings.

From our long observation of this Vkontakte group and other Strelkov-related pages, we would have to say this is not the case – this group’s publications have long been cited by regional media and the same talking points as the dispatch were also used by Russian state media and Ukrainian media from other separatist sources. [Continue reading…]

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1 thought on “Was Col. Strelkov’s dispatch about a downed ‘Ukrainian plane’ authentic?

  1. rackstraw

    Well if the Russians had seized the black box flight recorders and refused free access to international authorities, we know what our reaction would be. Likewise much depends upon the Ukrainian gov’t providing comparable level of access to international actors with standing, such as the Malaysian and Dutch Governments, the plane’s carrier, and the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA).

    An interesting precedent for joint investigation of the crash would be the joint Polish-Russian investigation of the Polish Air Force Tu-154M crash near Smolensk Russian on 10 April 2010, killing all on board including the then president of Poland, the chief of the Polish General Staff, several cabinet ministers, and about two dozen members of the Polish parliament, among others.

    The investigation, though marked by tensions, reached the same conclusions as to the cause of the crash – multiple errors of judgement by pilots and air traffic controllers, compounded by stress of weather and unfamiliarity with the airport.

    In separate reports, the two sides laid out the errors mades in parallel with each other. In assigning blame for the errors they differed: the Polish stressed the failure of the Russian controllers to provide timely and accurate warnings to the crew, and the poor condition of the airport; and the Russians stressed the failure of the Polish pilots to react appropriately after repeatedly receiving warning of imminent collision from embedded safety warning systems in the plane.

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