While fighting raged yesterday in the region where flight MH17 was downed, a separate battle was being fought to build a case against pro-Russian separatists for the plane’s destruction.
The case against the separatists and their Russian backers has become increasingly compelling:
Within hours of the crash, the Ukrainian security service posted recordings it claimed were conversations between separatist leaders in the minutes after the disaster.
In one recording, Igor Bezler, the supposed sector commander for the team operating a Buk-M1 launcher, tells a Russian intelligence officer: “The group of the Miner has just shot down a plane.”
In another, a “Cossack” commander, Nikolai Kozitsyn, whose unit has been blamed for firing the missile, is told a Malaysia Airlines plane has been destroyed. He said: “That means they were carrying spies. They shouldn’t be f*ing flying. There is a war going on.”
Washington has described the material as “authentic”.
Images of Buk-M1 launcher At least three separate videos and photographs show a Buk-1 launcher being carried by a low-loader lorry between the towns of Snizhne and Torez, to the south of the crash zone, prior to the disaster early in the afternoon of 17 July.
Social media VKontakte, a popular Russian-language social networking site, carried a purported post by Igor Strelkov, the so-called “defence minister” of the self-declared Donetsk People’s Republic. It said: “We just downed an AN-26 near Torez. And here is a video confirming that a ‘bird fell’.” Tellingly, the post was removed shortly after.