I know this counts as geopolitics(or maybe skeptics), but The US and Svobda have claimed that Malaysia flight MH17 was shot down by rebels. After reading This question in Travel Stack Exchange, I now wonder how a non-government association could get Surface-to-Air missiles. Russia turned a blind eye to the rebels, and captures of AA equipment have not been reported by the Ukraine Government. A report also said that, based on the trajectory, the missile was Russian. Ukraine has been Russia's right-hand man for decades and all their equipment is already Russian.

Can someone explain this please?

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    Because half of the organizers are Russian Spetznaz sent by Russian government, not "Ukraininan rebels"
    – user4012
    Commented Jul 18, 2014 at 18:07
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    This smells like a rhetorical question Commented Jul 18, 2014 at 19:04
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    Ukrainian military already has some history of shooting down civilian liners, such as the Siberia Airlines Flight 1812 in 2001 who travelled from Tel Aviv to Novosibirsk. It was shot down during the maneuvers of Ukrainian military.
    – Anixx
    Commented Jul 20, 2014 at 4:18
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    We're still trying to figure out how 10 micrograms of Polonium-210 produced in the Ozyorsk nuclear reactor near Chelyabinsk ended up in the body of Alexander Litvinenko in London. Commented Jul 20, 2014 at 20:03

4 Answers 4


As per numerous reports and proofs (e.g. here: http://mignews.com/mobile/article.html?id=170714_180057_67686 - sorry it's in Russian language, use Google Translate):

  • half of the organizers are Russian Spetznaz sent by Russian government, not "Ukraininan rebels"

  • And there are tons of Russian military fighting among these "Ukraininan rebels"

In addition, there were radio intercepts of those leaders discussing shooting down an "Ukrainian transport plane" right when and where the Malaysian airliner was shot down - days after they shot down both a Ukrainian fighter plane and an actual transport plane.

  • Thank You, but didn't the Ukraine Government seal off the border? Would it have been from Russia?
    – user12651
    Commented Jul 19, 2014 at 0:24
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    @user12651 - they TRIED to seal off the border. Key word being tried. The border is pretty porous, with multiple heavy weapons being sent to the terrorists by Russia.
    – user4012
    Commented Jul 19, 2014 at 0:26
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    There had been no border to speak of prior to Putin's agression, and Ukraine is in shambles economically, so to cover that wide a gap from scratch takes time. Commented Jul 19, 2014 at 3:10
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    @user12651 there was no functional, controllable border there during USSR, just an administrative line of demarcation. Only a token border was estabilished after independence of Ukraine. Even after the Crimea situation, it was reasonably possible to drive across a truck column of heavy equipment without it being noticed, much less prevented - and this has been systematically done recently.
    – Peteris
    Commented Jul 19, 2014 at 14:25

There are “strong indications” the Russian president, Vladimir Putin, personally signed off on a decision to supply the missile that downed flight MH17 in 2014, a team of international investigators has said (source, The Guardian).

The missile had been taken from Russia to rebel-held Ukraine in the morning when the plane was shot down, and the launcher was taken back to Russia the next day (source, BBC). This can be confirmed by multiple sightings and intercepted phone calls, including by journalists (source, The Guardian).

On November 17, 2022, a Dutch court concluded that MH17 was shot down by a Russian-made BUK missile from an agricultural field in eastern Ukraine, citing extensive evidence that did not leave “any possibility for reasonable doubt whatsoever”.

The court found that Russia had overall control of the separatist forces in eastern Ukraine at the time when the plane was shot down.


Russia helps terrorists, it supplies them with tanks and other weapon. Almost every night russian tanks and trucks cross the Ukrainian 'borded' nearby Lugansk. They even do not try to hide this facts.

This is answer for the question - 'how?'

Here is also an interesting article which contains an image with english notes:


Ukrainian aircraft is a big problem for russian terrorists in the Ukraine. So, it looks like Russia decided to give them with 'Buck'. Of course I think there were other ways to get it - they could easily steal it somewhere in Ukrainian military stocks. But believe me, we and russians too know that there is very low possibility to find something working fine in Ukrainian military stocks. Ukraine was not preparing to fight, so air defence technic is mostly very weak, outdated and broken.

This is why they could not hope to grab some Buck's inside Ukraine. And this is why I think that Russia gave terrorists a good, repaired and well-working Buck instance, maybe even with Russian soldiers and assistants.


How could the Ukrainian rebels get SAMs?

4 possibilities of how the rebels could get SAMs present themselves:

1) Someone (presumably the Russian military or para-military) gave or sold them SAMs.
2) They captured them from the Ukranian army (a possibility you deemed void)
3) They built them themselves.
4) Someone left them behind and the rebels found them. This possibility would then presume they knew how to operate them well enough to shoot down an aircraft flying at 33k feet. I find this highly unlikely but nevertheless possible.

Given the hypothetical nature of the question my 'guess' would be the first option.

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    Do you have knoweldge of these sales or gifts? Any evidence of it or of the russians doing something like this in other conflicts? Maybe a reason to suspect that the russians would do something like this. There is quite a bit missing in this answer to make it an actual answer. Its really a comment. Commented Jul 18, 2014 at 20:13
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    @Chad, I offered a logical answer since the OP ruled out capturing one from the enemy. The question said 'how could' not 'how did' so I do not have to have first hand knowledge to answer a hypothetical question. They didn't appear by magic so "someone" gave or sold them to them. Taking the OPs presumption that rebels have SAMs I see no other alternative. Do you?
    – CramerTV
    Commented Jul 18, 2014 at 20:16
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    @Chad, An alternative I ruled out was that they built them themselves. I don't find that credible hence my answer.
    – CramerTV
    Commented Jul 18, 2014 at 20:23
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    It makes sense to you but maybe not to others. Explain why these are they logical reasons. Reference it where you can. Just saying what the answer is, is not enough here Commented Jul 19, 2014 at 17:24

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