A video obtained by BBC News shows Ukrainian rebels expressing surprise at the discovery that the downed Malaysia Airlines flight was a commercial airliner, suggesting there was no deliberate plot to target the plane.
The clip shows rebels examining the scene of the crash for the first time. According to BBC reporter Fergal Keane, the video “gives a picture of surprise.”
“They’re foreigners, who allowed them to fly over here?,” asks one man.
Contrary to media reports which accused rebels of attempting to hide or cover-up evidence, the men in the clip seem very keen to recover the black boxes from the crash site.
While the video doesn’t prove whether rebels shot down the aircraft or not, it does clearly indicate that local militia in the immediate area were not part of a plot to deliberately target the plane, as Kiev has insinuated.
Within 12 hours of the crash being reported, Ukrainian authorities released a YouTube video of a conversation between a separatist leader and a Russian military commander which purported to show rebels accepting responsibility for shooting down the airliner.
In the absence of a full investigation, Kiev’s evidence has largely rested on YouTube clips, social media posts and unsubstantiated accusations. Yesterday Russia presented satellite pictures and radar information from the Donetsk region which it claimed proved there was a second aircraft, likely a Ukrainian fighter jet, in the vicinity of MH17. Moscow also claims that Buk missile launchers controlled by Kiev were moved into the region before the incident.
One of Kiev’s central pieces of evidence – video of a Buk missile launcher apparently crossing the border back to Russia after the plane was shot down – has since been debunked. The clip is actually shot in the Ukrainian of town of Krasnoarmeisk, which has been controlled by Kiev since May.
As we reported yesterday, award winning former Associated Press reporter Robert Parry was told by an intelligence source that the United States is in possession of satellite imagery which shows that Ukrainian troops were responsible for the shoot down of Malaysian Airlines Flight 17.