Tuesday, June 6 2017 14:53 EEST
Military
Bellingcat identifies drivers of convoy trucks involved in Buk transportation to Donbas
Bellingcat,  Identifies,  Drivers, Buk, Transportation, Donbas

In a continued investigation to reveal those involved in the downing of a Malaysian Airlines Flight MH17 on July 17, 2017, Bellingcat sifted through a bulk of open data sources to collect information on possible drivers of a convoy that brought to Ukraine a deadly Buk missile launcher that eventually shot down a passenger jet.

The previous report described 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, Bellingcat writes.

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.

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.

Seven soldier-drivers were identified from photographs by Dmitry Z. one of the soldier-drivers (one soldier’s photograph found, but not identified), who very likely were drivers in the 23-25 June 2014 Buk convoy that transported Buk 332 from Kursk to Millerovo.

Bellingcat team concludes that the 69th Separate Logistics Brigade (unit 11385) was involved in transporting Buk unit vehicles to several areas along the Ukraine-Russia border in the June 23-25 and July 19-21 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 June 23-25 2014 Buk convoy. A different group of soldier-drivers from the same subunit was possibly involved in the July 19-21 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.

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.

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 Bellingcat’s 2015 report about the involvement of the 69th Separate Logistics Brigade in the transportation of military equipment to the Russia-Ukraine border and the June and July 2014 Buk convoys.

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