Ukraine and MH17: Villagers reported to have seen BUKs, US intelligence officials say a lot of stuff
Just before lunchtime last Thursday, prior to the Malaysia Airlines plane's takeoff, a Buk was driven through Gagarin Street, one of the central thoroughfares of Torez, witnesses said.
Torez would later be the town where bodies of the victims were loaded on to refrigerated train cars. The tarmac on Gagarin Street is strewn with ruts made by tank treads, and locals say armoured vehicles controlled by separatists driving through the town have become a regular occurrence in recent weeks. The convoy last Thursday was different, however.
"We were inside and heard a noise much louder than usual," said one shopkeeper, who did not want to be identified. "We came running out and saw a jeep disappearing into the distance with something much larger in front of it. Later, customers said it had been a missile carrier."
In another shop further down the street, there was talk of a convoy of two jeeps and a missile launcher covered in a net driving past in the direction of the town of Snizhne. "I've never seen anything like it," said a middle-aged woman. She said her husband showed her a photograph of a Buk launcher afterwards and she realised that was indeed what she had seen. A group of men also said they had seen a Buk.
There have been suggestions that the missile was fired from fields on the outskirts of Snizhne. Many in Torez did not want to speak about the Buk or claimed not to have heard anything about it. Others said the missile's journey through the town had been a talking point in recent days, but people were scared of divulging too much to outsiders. None of those who reported sightings of the Buk wanted their names published.
OK, actual reporting. That's progress. The story end this way:
US officials have said they have satellite evidence that a missile was launched at MH17 from the region of Snizhne last Thursday, and were due to make the evidence public later on Tuesday.
So I mosied on over to Pravda. Read it yourself, but I wouldn't hang dog on the word of unidentified US intelligence officials. Pas si bete. All the way to the end:
The officials also declined to provide more details on the satellites and other sophisticated sensors that enabled them to trace the path of the missile, citing concerns about compromising secret U.S. capabilities.
So they don't have that. Considering that the US, just like the Russians, has to have the whole airspace wired, that's a telling omission.