Monday, June 5, 2017

MH17: Drivers of the Russian June and July 2014 Buk Convoy Trucks

05.06.17
Ukrainian Military Pages

The new Bellingcat report about drivers of the Russian June and July 2014 Buk convoy trucks.

The full report can be read here.

n 13 May 2015, Bellingcat published a report about the involvement of the Russian 2nd Automobile Battalion of the 69th Separate Logistics Brigade (military unit 11385) and the 147th Automobile Battalion for Material Support (military unit 83466) in the transport of Buk unit vehicles of the 53rd Anti-Aircraft Missile Brigade in a convoy that left on 23 June 2014 from Marshala Zhukova near Kursk and arrived in Millerovo on 25 June 2014. This convoy transported a Buk missile launcher with unit designation 332, previously known as ‘Buk 3×2’. Bellingcat has published multiple reports asserting that this Buk missile launcher downed Malaysian Airlines Flight 17 (MH17) on 17 July 2014.

Photographs uploaded on the Russian-language social network Vkontakte (VK) by soldier-drivers of the 2nd and 147th Automobile Battalions show trucks and trailers with the same license plates as vehicles that took part in the convoy filmed and photographed between 23 and 25 June 2014. These photos also show transport of other kinds of military equipment to the Russia-Ukraine border, including, for example, near Mityakinskaya in the Rostov Oblast. One soldier-driver named Dmitry Z. uploaded a photograph of his truck and Buk missile launcher 232 of the 53rd Anti-Aircraft Missile Brigade on 24 June 2014. Geolocation of this photograph shows it was taken near Varvarovka on R185, a road that the 23-25 June 2014 Buk convoy had taken. Additional photographs uploaded by Dmitry Z. show other possible drivers of the 23-25 June 2014 Buk convoy, one of them likely being the driver who transported Buk 332 from Marshala Zhukova to Millerovo.

Ukrainian Military Pages

The last part of that report describes the route and destination of the 23-25 June 2014 Buk convoy that transported Buk unit vehicles of the 2nd Battalion of the 53rd Anti-Aircraft Missile Brigade, as well as the route and destination of a 19-21 July 2014 Buk convoy that transported Buk unit vehicles of the 1st Battalion of the 53rd Anti-Aircraft Missile Brigade. The first convoy was last filmed when entering Millerovo and likely was on its way to a temporary military base in Millerovo, while Buk 332 was later transported to the Russia-Ukraine border near Donetsk, Russia and from there into Ukraine. The second convoy likely headed further to a military camp southwest of Kamensk-Shakhtinsky.

Ukrainian Military Pages

This new report focuses on the drivers of the June and July 2014 Buk convoy trucks and, in particular, the truck that transported Buk 332. The truck has the license plate ‘4267 AH 50’ and its trailer has the license plate ‘XP 4679 50.’ This report also describes additional possible drivers of the truck(s) that could have transported Buk 332 from Millerovo to the Russia-Ukraine border. Bellingcat has discovered that trucks of the same military unit (11385) and an additional group of drivers were present in Millerovo around mid-July 2014. In September 2014, several trucks of unit 11385 were in Millerovo, again accompanied by a different group of drivers, although some of them took part in previous driver groups as well. Apart from this finding, also previously undiscovered videos are detailed of the same truck and trailer that transported Buk 332, filmed at the end of July 2014, transporting a tank, which was later seen in the Luhansk Oblast in Ukraine.

Ukrainian Military Pages

Conclusions

  • The 69th Separate Logistics Brigade (unit 11385) was involved in transporting Buk unit vehicles to several areas along the Ukraine-Russia border in the 23-25 June and 19-21 July 2014 Buk convoys. Soldier-drivers of the 1st Automobile Battalion of this unit (subunit 11385-2), located in Kalininets, were drivers of the trucks in the 23-25 June 2014 Buk convoy. A different group of soldier-drivers from the same subunit was possibly involved in the 19-21 July 2014 Buk convoy.
  • Soldier-driver Dmitry Z. transported Buk missile launcher 232 in the 23-25 June 2014 Buk convoy. Six other soldier-drivers, visible on photographs of Dmitry Z., were identified and also were almost certainly involved in the transport of Buk unit vehicles in the 23-25 June 2014 Buk convoy.
  • Several group photographs identified additional soldier-drivers who might have been involved in the transport of Buk unit vehicles in the 23-25 June 2014 Buk convoy.
  • No definitive conclusion can be made as to the driver of truck ‘4267 AH 50’ in the 23-25 June 2014 Buk convoy, which transported Buk 332. A few soldier-drivers uploaded photographs where truck ‘4267 AH 50’ is visible, among them one soldier-driver, who almost certainly was a driver in the 23-25 June 2014 Buk convoy.
  • No conclusion can be made regarding which truck transported Buk 332 to the Russia-Ukraine border, very likely in the night of 16 to 17 July 2014, or which driver was involved. Almost all of the soldier-drivers who were involved in the June 2014 Buk convoy officially ended their military service in the end of June or early July 2014, although the social network profiles of several soldier-drivers do not clarify when they returned home after military service.
  • A different group of soldier-drivers from unit 11385-2 was in a military camp in eastern Millerovo in July 2014. This group of drivers, unlike the group of drivers of the 23-25 June 2014 Buk convoy, was involved in the transport of military equipment from Voronezh to Mityaskanskaya on 19 June 2014, before their arrival in Millerovo. It’s possible that some of these drivers were involved in the 19-21 July 2014 Buk convoy, as a few soldier-drivers of this group were drivers of trucks in the July 2014 Buk convoy.
  • Two other soldier-drivers of unit 11385, who arrived on or just before 11 July 2014 in the same military camp in eastern Millerovo, uploaded photographs between 12 and 20 July 2014 of trucks of unit 11385-2 that were parked in a southern area of the military camp in eastern Millerovo. Two of these trucks were in the 19-21 July 2014 Buk convoy. Two other trucks were in the 23-25 June 2014 Buk convoy, one of them truck ‘4267 AH 50’, the truck that transported Buk 332. A photograph uploaded on 20 July 2014 of another truck that was in the 23-25 June 2014 Buk convoy with license ‘3388 AY 50’, shows a tarped Buk missile launcher, possibly from the 2nd Battalion of the 53rd Anti-Aircraft Missile Brigade.
  • The soldier-drivers of unit 11385, who were in the military camp in July 2014 possibly know the identity of the driver of the truck that transported Buk 332 to the Ukraine-Russia border, as one of the trucks of unit 11385 that was parked in the military camp in eastern Millerovo was likely used for this transport.
  • Videos of a military convoy that transported tanks in the direction of Rostov-on-Don on 28 July 2014 show several trucks and trailers that were in the 23-25 June 2014 and/or 19-21 July 2014 Buk convoys. Truck ‘4267 AH 50’, the truck that transported Buk 332 in the 23-25 June 2014 Buk convoy, hauls in the convoy of 28 July 2014 a trailer with license ‘XP 4679 50’, just as in the 23-25 June 2014 Buk convoy. In case the other trucks, visible in the 28 July 2014 convoy, hauled the same trailers as in the 23-25 June and 19-21 July 2014 Buk convoys, a few license plates of trucks that were in the June and July 2014 Buk convoys that were previously unknown have now been discovered.
  • Photographs on the profile of a soldier-driver make clear that he was the driver of truck ‘4267 AH 50’ in the 28 July 2014 military transport convoy.
  • In September 2014, trucks of unit 11385 were again present at the same location in a southern area of the military camp in eastern Millerovo, among these vehicles is again truck ‘4267 AH 50’.
  • In October and November 2014, several trucks of unit 11385 that were in the June and July 2014 Buk convoys were photographed at the military base of the 2nd Automobile Battalion (subunit 11385-3) of the 69th Separate Logistics Brigade. Among these vehicles is again truck ‘4267 AH 50’.

The names of the soldier-drivers in the report have been changed to pseudonyms to protect their identities and all faces of soldier-drivers in the photographs have been blurred for the same reason. The name of Dmitry Z. was not changed, because he already was described in our 2015 report about the involvement of the 69th Separate Logistics Brigade in transport of military equipment to the Russia-Ukraine border and the June and July 2014 Buk convoys.

An uncensored version of the report including full names and uncensored photographs has been shared with the MH17 Joint Investigation Team (JIT).