MH17: Photos of Ukranian fighter jet shooting down plane fake, say commentators


  • Nation
  • Saturday, 15 Nov 2014

A screengrab from the video allegedly showing a fighter jet firing a missile at flight MH17.

MOSCOW: Russian state-controlled TV has broadcast what it called "sensational" photographs, which it said supported Moscow's theory that Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 was shot down by a Ukrainian fighter jet, but several commentators have described them as forgeries.

The photographs, said to be taken by a satellite, appear to show a fighter jet firing a missile at a passenger plane over eastern Ukraine where the plane was shot down on July 17, killing all 298 people on board.

Moscow has long said it believed the aircraft was destroyed by a Ukrainian military jet, while western officials say evidence suggests the plane was hit by a Russian-made surface-to-air missile fired by pro-Russian separatist rebels.

The photographs were aired on Odnako, a Friday evening news show, which said they had been sent to a Russian expert by a man called George Bilt, who had presented himself as a graduate from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

"We have at our disposal sensational photographs presumably made by a foreign spy satellite in the last seconds of the Malaysian Boeing's flight over Ukraine," Channel One presenter Dmitry Borisov said.

"The pictures support that version which has hardly been heard in the West."

Since being aired by Channel One, the photographs have met with widespread scepticism.

Andrei Menshenin, a commentator for independent Russian radio station Ekho Moskvy, called the TV report a "pseudo-sensation", and said the angle of attack indicated by the photographs did not correspond to the location of the damage.

Bellingcat, a British investigative journalism website, described the photographs as "a crude fabrication", highlighting what it said were several inconsistencies, which included signs that the photos had been partly compiled from historical Google Earth imagery dating from 2012.

During the course of the Ukraine crisis Russian state television has frequently aired reports, sometimes including apparently sensational evidence, that back the Kremlin's version of events.

In July, an opinion poll by the Levada Center polling agency said only 3% of Russians believed MH17 was hit by rebels, with 82% saying it was shot down by the Ukrainian armed forces.

The publication of the photos came on the eve of a G20 summit in Brisbane, where President Vladimir Putin faces strong criticism from Western leaders for Russia's actions in Ukraine. - Reuters

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MH17 crash , Ukraine , MAS , Missile , Ukraine , Russia , Fighter jet

   

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