On 26th December 2014 I returned to Grabovo, in Donbass, some 80km from Donetsk, to the site of the MH17 tragedy.
This was my second visit to the site, after October. Here are 10 more points from that
visit. All points are supported by the video below.
11. The three men collecting MH17 remains from the site (by DPR permission, after international experts had failed to clear the site) – Andrey, Ibrahim and Vladimir, took me to a crater by the largest area of crash wreckage, by the village of Grabovo. They said this crater was caused by Ukrainian shelling.
12. The men identified the time of the shelling as early August 2014 – meaning the site was being shelled at what would have been a key time for a flight investigation unable to take place at that time, due to shelling.
14. One of the men, Vladimir, stated that ‘there were visible traces from the (jet) cannon on the doors and wing’. Ibrahim added that he ‘heard two blows‘.
15. Vladimir was then concerned at having given this information, and added that ‘they’ (the Ukrainian authorities) ‘will come to get me‘.
16. The men stated that they had not communicated with the experts, OSCE, investigators who had been at the disaster scene, not given statements to them, and the OSCE, investigators were ‘not allowed to comment‘.
17. On that day, December 26th 2014, the men had found several human bones, and what they identified as a ‘girl’s scalp’ on the site. These were taken, along with the other wreckage removed, to a nearby warehouse (indicated on picture, right). They said
photos of the bones and scalp found had been sent to the OSCE.
18. We (myself and colleague, journalist Andrey Guselnikov) went to that warehouse with them, upon their invitation, where there were 3 large, separate piles of wreckage from the MH17 site. These were ordered into size of wreckage, ranging from large parts of fuselage, down to fragments.
19. One of the men, Vladimir, said the OSCE had promised to collect the wreckage ‘at the end of January‘, but was uncertain of more specifics.
20. While the men were doing a conscientious job, with good intentions, they were completely untrained in aircraft investigation. They were removing pieces of metal from a field, over 5 months after the event. Some of the pieces of fuselage were substantial in size, with holes, warps, visible signs of shearing caused by what brought flight MH17 down.
Yet these were not being investigated by experts in Holland, or anywhere. They were lying in a small warehouse, a large shed even, in Donbass, to make no mention of the human remains found there over a month after the supposed experts had removed all such from site.
How many of these pieces of fuselage I photographed – all photos here – were ever examined by experts, is an unanswered question. How many other pieces containing key evidence were removed by other sources, for whatever reasons, in the five preceding months, on a crash site of over 35sq km, another unanswered question.
The question that was answered on site, by speaking to witnesses, is clear – they believe an air strike, from a Ukrainian fighter jet, to be responsible. What they saw, heard – ‘two blows‘ is entirely consistent with a strike from a fighter jet. None of the witnesses I spoke to on the MH17 site, either this time, or in October, had seen any trace of a ‘BUK’, nor believed this to be the cause of the tragedy.
There is the evidence of witness testimonies to take into account, there is also the fact that it was the Ukrainians who were shelling the crash site in August, causing the Dutch to remove their investigators from the scene.
English subtitles –
To be continued.