On July 17, a civilian Boeing-777 on a Malaysian Airlines flight from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur was at an altitude of 10,100 meters when around 16:20 Kyiv time it disappeared from the radar screens of the Dnipropetrovsk County Air Control Center and at 16:45 the plane’s emergency beacon signal was detected. According to the State Emergencies Service of Ukraine, at 16:45, the craft fell 3 kilometers to the northeast of the settlement of Grabove, Shakhtarsk County, Donetsk Oblast. By 17:40, the fire was extinguished. The airplane had 298 people on board, 15 of them crew, Andriy Lysenko, spokesperson for the National Security Council’s News & Analysis Center, reported at the Center’s noon briefing, July 18, 2014.
At this time, there were no destroyers in Ukraine’s airspace belonging to Ukraine’s Armed Forces. The Boeing-777 was beyond the reach of Ukrainian Armed Forces ground-based air defense systems.
In addition, we would like to emphasize that the ATO forces have not executed any operations involving targets in the air. An inventory of Zenit rocket systems deployed on Ukraine’s territory and all Zenit guided missile systems was carried out and all are accounted for. In the neighborhood of the downed aircraft, Ukraine’s Air Force was not active because it does not operate at such altitudes on principle.
Ukraine’s President offered his deepest sympathy to the families of all the victims in the airplane and stated that all those guilty in this tragedy would be found and punished.
The President also tasked the Government will setting up a special Commission to investigate the tragedy. To ensure the maximum objectivity of the investigation, the President took it upon himself to invite experts from the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) to sit on the commission, as well as representatives of the Netherlands, Malaysia and the United States of America.
On July 18, the UN Security Council is supposed to meet in New York on the initiative of Great Britain, for the purpose of reviewing the shooting down of the passenger plane over Ukraine. The Ukraine delegation will also participate in this session. During the meeting, Ukraine’s permanent representative to the United Nations is expected to speak officially.
The incident with the downed Boeing is the third after two Ukrainian military aircraft, an AN-26 and an SU-25 were shot down from Russian Federation territory. On July 16 at 18:55, Ukraine’s military intelligence found evidence that aircraft of the Russian Armed Forces Air Force were used against the Ukrainian Air Force SU-25 near the town of Amvrosiyivka. Specifically, Ukraine’s military intelligence tracked the flight of a MiG-29 from the 19th Air Fighter Squad of the 1st Mixed Aviation Division of the 4th Command of the RF Air Force in Rostov Oblast, Russia, near the Matveyev Kurgan in Novoshakhtinsk. Between 18:48 and 19:49 Kyiv time, the aircraft ground control point of the RF Armed Forces (call sign Rapier) guided the Russian MiG-29 (pilot call sign 221) to destroy airborne targets on Ukrainian territory.
There is evidence that, during his flight towards the state border of Ukraine at 155-330 degrees on a Rostov-on-Don—Donetsk tack in the neighborhood of Matveyev Kurgan (RF) — Amvrosiyivka (UA), the MiG-29 pilot of the RF Air Force was being guided over 5-7 minutes by his command base on the Ukrainian Air Force plane in order to damage it. The Russian MiG-29 fighter plane patrolled at 8,850 m and shot the Ukrainian airplane with missiles at an altitude of 8,250 m when the two planes were 35-40 km apart.
To hit its target, the RF Armed Forces Air force command told the MiG-29 pilot to use only air-to-air class rockets like the medium-range P-27T with an infrared homing system. This type of missile cannot be detected by the SPO-15 irradiation system typical in an SU-25, or with satellite-based intelligence and surveillance systems after firing. Another feature of the P-27 type missile is that they are made in Ukraine and are trademarked by the Artem Plant in Kyiv. This means that fragments found after shooting cannot be identified specifically as Russian weapons.
There is evidence that during the dogfight, the Russian fighter aimed at the Ukrainian plane three times to ensure the aim of his missile. After he had locked in on his target with the help of the on-board quantum optical locating device, the MiG-29 executed one missile hit at the Ukrainian Air Force plane. Thanks to the skill of the Ukrainian pilot and his evasive action against the missile, the plane was not hit directly and destroyed. The missile only hit the engine nozzle and the pilot executed an emergency landing, as reported previously.
Meanwhile, the Russian pilot’s inexperience, the time he took to home in on the Ukrainian craft again, and insufficient fuel in his tank prevented the MiG-29 from firing a second shot at the SU-25. The MiG-29 landed in emergency mode at the nearest airport in Rostov Oblast, in the Russian Federation.
Russia’s Army Aviation continues to carry out intelligence missions and patrols along the Ukrainian-Russian border. On July 17 ad 11:40, Ukraine’s border patrols saw a squad of 8 RF helicopters fly along the borderline opposite the territory that is patrolled by the Amvrosiyivka border service unit of the Donetsk section.
At 03:55 on July 18, drones were recorded while flying the length of the maritime border in the direction of Novoazovsk.
Military action in the conflict zone
In the last 24 hours, ATO forces moved 10-15 km deeper into territory nominally under the control of the terrorists. Ukraine’s military regrouped to tighten the circle. Near the state border, individual units have been holding onto their section of the line, but so far, it has not been possible to control the entire border. On those territories under control, engineering works have been undertaken to reinforce the positions.
During this same 24-hour period, illegal armed groups opened fire 19 times at ATO and UAF checkpoints and positions near Luhansk, Kapitanove, Chervonopartyzansk, Marynivka, Smolianninove, Muratove, Rozkishne, Kuteynikove, Rozivka, Avdiyivka, Iddivka, Maksymilianivka, Dmytrivka, Nova Nadia, and Luhansk Airport.
On July 17 near Marynivka, Dmytrivka and Stepanivka, terrorists shot at the Russian Federation, particularly the village of Kuybyshevo. In response, Russian forces opened fire at ATO positions near the border. Two artillery shells blew up directly near the Marynivka border checkpoint. At 18:20 near this same border crossing, the ferry crossing was attacked by two mortar shells from Russian territory.
Translated by EMPR for IAC NSDC