In the immediate aftermath of the downing of MH17 several separatist leaders made contradicting statements, ascribing the downing to both an Ukrainian SU-25 fighter jet and the Ukrainian Air Defense. These first statements are presented in this article. Also, this article will show how the narrative of a SU-25 evolved that afternoon and evening from being downed by separatists and falling in the area of the crash sites of Grabovo and Rozsypne, to crashing near Krasnyi Luch, and finally to fleeing away in the direction of Debaltseve.

Introduction

In my previous article I reconstructed at what time the separatists arrived at the crash sites at Grabovo and Roszypne. That article also shows how around 17:00 a story was made up by Donetsk headquarters saying a SU-25 brought down MH17 and the separatists in turn brought down the fighter jet. In the hours after several separatist leaders made statements, that were not only contradictory, but also ignorant, preposterous or just plain lies.

Acknowledgments

Many thanks to @Lena_from_Kiev who corrected several of my translations and offered suggestions.
Also many thanks to @Sl0zhny who summarized Russian language videos and provided several witness statements of the 17th regarding the Su-25.

First news reports

The first report about the downing was published at the ‘Strelkov_info’ community at VKontakte: at 16:41 the first line of a post on that community stated that an AN-26 freighter plane had been downed:

В районе Снежного только что сбили Ан-26, валяется где-то за шахтой ‘Прогресс’.
Near Snizhne an AN-26 was just shot down, it’s lying somewhere beyond the ‘Progress’ mine.

This ‘Strelkov_info’ post was based on a post on the “Military reports from the south eastern front” thread at a rather obscure forum, the forum-antikvariat.ru website, that was published at 16:37 by a forum user named ‘Margo-Donetsk’. (The ‘Strelkov_info’ post and its source are dealt with in great detail in my report “Civilians were not hurt”.)

The first news site reporting on the downed plane was ridus.ru. Already at 16:46 a short news item was provided:

“The militia report, that a Ukrainian AN-26 was shot down, citizen journalists conveyed. ‘Near Snizhne an An-26 plane was just shot down, it’s lying somewhere beyond the “Progress” mine, – representatives of the militia say. Official confirmation, or refutation of the present information is not yet given.'”

Obviously the first Strelkov_info post on VKontakte, published at 16:41 EEST, was the source for this news item. The value of this early news report at ridus.ru is that it states that at that time there was no confirmation from the Donetsk People’s Republic. The news flash doesn’t state that inquiries were made, so it solely means that an official statement had not been noticed yet.

At 17:06 there’s a second news bit, within an overview of short news items at a site called dni24.com.
It is titled: “Последние новости событий 17.07.2014: На границе Украины и России ополченцы сбили еще один самолет” (Recent news events 07.17.2014: On the border of Ukraine and the Russian militia another aircraft shot down).
The only information provided is:

“A Ukrainian aircraft has been destroyed by militia on the border with Russia, according to the latest data for July 17 on the border between Ukraine and Russia militia have shot down the plane, which belonged to Ukraine.”

A little later, at 17:13, Ria Novosti publishes the first real news story, which soon after was copied by many other news sites, e.g. by Tass and RussiaToday.

The title of the Ria Novosti news story: “Transport An-26 shot down in eastern Ukraine, said eyewitnesses”.
It continues:

“According to them, the plane crashed somewhere in the “Progress” mine area, away from residential areas. “We saw him hit a rocket, there was an explosion, the plane went to the ground, leaving a black smoke. From the sky some debris fell down”, – said one of the locals.

DONETSK, July 17 – RIA Novosti. Militia on Thursday shot down another transport aircraft of the Ukrainian Air Force over the city of Torez, in the Donetsk region in eastern Ukraine, eyewitnesses of the incident reported to RIA Novosti.

‘An AN-26 was flying over the town at about 16:00 local time. We saw him hit a rocket, there was an explosion, the plane went to the ground, leaving a black smoke. From the sky some debris fell down’, – said one of the local residents. As proof of his words the interlocutors provided a video to our agency.

According to them, the plane crashed somewhere in the “Progress” mine area, away from residential areas.

Torez is located near the town of Snizhne and the Saur-Mogila mound, where militias have several anti-aircraft guns.”

At 17:26 this news is copied by Lenta.ru as well, but they add:

“Подтверждения этой информации от украинских военных пока не поступало.
Confirmation of this information from the Ukrainian military did not arrive yet.”

The notorious LifeNews tv news broadcast at 18:00 EEST was based on this RIA Novosti news report:

In the meantime separatists’ units had already arrived at the crash sites of Grabovo and Roszypne at approximately 16:50 to discover that a passenger plane had been downed, as I have expounded in an earlier reconstruction. That article provides an excerpt from a transcript of footage made by separatists on the afternoon of July 17th, 2014, in which a separatist commander at the Grabovo crash site says: “They say the Sukhoi (fighter) brought down the civilian plane and ours brought down the fighter.” This means that the Donetsk headquarters, where ‘they’ is referring to, had made up a story explaining why a passenger plane had been downed.

The DPR spokeswoman speaks

At 17:35 there is still no confirmation or refutation of the news. Another news site quotes DPR spokeswoman Claudia Kulbatsky:

“‘We have received this information. I can not confirm or deny information about a downed AN-26 near Snizhne’, – Kulbatsky said.”

At that time the separatists had already been present at the crash sites at Grabovo and Rozsypne for over half an hour, as I discussed in my article on the arrival of the separatists at the crash sites. They had already discovered it was a Malaysian airliner that had been downed, but the first news report on MH17 was still to be published. (The first news report was published at 17:50 and after 18:00 all major news outlets followed).
More than an hour later, at 19:03, when the news about MH17 was already well-known, Novaya Gazeta contacted Claudia Kulbatsky again. This time she responded:

“‘We have a no-fly zone since July 8th. What idiot would fly to us? Even if a civilian aircraft. We do not have weapons that can shoot down aerial targets at an altitude of 10 thousand meters.’

Kulbatsky said, she did not believe, that the plane crashed.

‘Let them show us photos. Until then we believe it is a hoax and Ukrainian propaganda lies.'”

Statement by Igor Druz, advisor to Strelkov

One of the first separatist leaders providing a statement on the downed Malaysian passenger plane was Igor Druz, advisor to Igor Strelkov, the minister of Defence and commander of the armed forces of the Donetsk People’s Republic. An account of his words can be found at kommersant.ru, published at 19:03, but his words were published already earlier in Ukrainian media, at 18:33 on forbes.net.ua, at 18:36 on telegraf.com.ua, at 18:50 on 24tv.ua, at 18:52 on the Kyiv Post and at 18:57 on vesti-ukr.com. Kommersant writes:

“Igor Druz, advisor to the Minister of Defence of the self-proclaimed DPR, said that the militias shot down two aircraft – Su-25 and AN-26. ‘The transport plane An-26 was shot down over the city. It fell into the “Progress” mine area, near the waste heap. Residential buildings are not damaged. Reconnaissance militia are working at the crash site.’ (…). Mr. Druz added that the Su-25 assault fighter was shot down near the Russian border. ‘It was hit by a portable anti-aircraft missile system. Efforts are under way to locate the crash site, ‘ – said the representative of the DNI.

Apparently Druz hadn’t been briefed yet, when he gave these statements and described the downing of both planes as independent events on separate locations. The source of his statements, however, is unclear: some of the news reports mention Russian media, others talk of social media and also the Russian Interfax press agency is given. The report echoes the second Strelkov_info post, published on VKontakte at 17:16, which mentioned the ‘Progress mine’ and also that the residential area had not been hit. However, that post did not mention “reconaissance militia” at the crash site. It also didn’t mention efforts to locate the crash site of the Sukhoi fighter jet.
Late in the evening Druz released an official statement denying having said all this.

Press statement from the Luhansk People’s Republic

The narrative of the Ukrainian Su-25 was to be developed further very shortly afterwards: a slightly different scenario was presented by the press service of the Luhansk People’s Republic. An early publication of that scenario was given by icorpus.ru, a Strelkov fan site, at 19:26:

According to preliminary information the plane was hit by a Su-25 attack aircraft of the Ukrainian Armed Forces. The tail section fell in the village Grabovo.

Apparently also LifeNews received word of the LPR statement. LifeNews had arrived at the crash site around 19:00 as the first news crew. At first they stated that the Ukrainian Air Defense was to blame (at 19:02 and 19:11), but suddenly they changed their story to the Su-25 narrative, as tweeted at 19:23:

“По версии очевидцев, за малайзийским “боингом” двигался самолет украинских ВВС
According to eyewitnesses, the Malaysian Boeing was followed by an airplane of Ukrainian air force”

It seems as if they had become knowledgeable of the LPR statement somehow.
Yet, a few minutes later, at 19:30, LifeNews published an interesting variant. That news report says that the Malaysian Boeing was downed by a Ukrainian Su, but it also states that a “militia” pilot downed the Ukrainian Su! Their report contains this line:

“Они также утверждают, что украинский самолёт был уничтожен пилотом ополчения.
They also claim that the Ukrainian airplane has been destroyed by a militia’s pilot.”

Before the 17th there were some reports that the separatists had obtained a Ukrainian Su. E.g. on the 16th the renowned pro-Russian blogger Colonel Cassad wrote about some important developments on the territory of the Luhansk People’s Republic: “Strengthening of the air defense of the LPR, which allowed to lower the importance of enemy aviation significantly. The destruction of the radar station in April-May wasn’t in vain. The appearance of a combat-ready ‘Buk’ is a significant aid. The operational Su-25 is for now a cherry on a pie, but also not unnecessary.”
(I will not dwell on the statement regarding the possession of a Buk here, but of course it is contradicting the SBU narrative of a Buk being transported from the Russian border to Donetsk during the night of July 16th on 17th).
The Su25 was allegedly captured when it made an emergency landing in the area of Luhansk, according to this news article of July 7th, citing a statement by the LPR’s Minister of Defence, Igor Plotnitsky. [1]The story about the captured Su25 may also have been put forward to ‘mask’ the support of Russian jet fighters. In their 17:00 presser on July 7th the National Security and Defense Council made a remark about a separatist claim about a downed Su-25: “Around noon today they reported ...continue

At 19:52 Ria Novosti quoted from the press statement by the LPR:

“Witnesses who watched the flight of a passenger Boeing 777, saw the attack by a Ukrainian Air Force fighter aircraft. After that, the passenger plane broke into two pieces in the air and fell on the territory of the DPR. After the attack, the Ukrainian attack aircraft was shot down and fell on the territory of the LPR in the Krasnyi Luch area. At the moment we are searching for the downed aircraft.”

There are several places named Krasnyi Luch in Ukraine, but we may assume that it concerns the one near to Grabovo and Torez (48.139803, 38.933775), which belongs to the Luhansk oblast, hence the statement was given by the LPR.
The LPR narrative was also published by Russia Today and the text of the statement was published by Strelkov_info at 20:01.
Of course, that Sukhoi was never reported having been found.

Colonel Cassad and the fleeing Su-25

Later that evening a new version of the Su-25 narrative was given by blogger Colonel Cassad, at 00:34 on the 18th, but posted earlier in between 20:30-2055 EEST elsewhere. [2]The original url mentioned here is: http://cassad.net/category/war/211-podrobnosti-gibeli-malaziyskogo-boinga.html. This link now leads to a page on the cigr.net website, but that page is about another topic. The page may have been given a new url at this site, possibly here, but only the title of ...continue

The evidence as presented by Colonel Cassad:

“Received the audio recording of an eyewitness, which describes the details of the death of Malaysian “Boeing”. Main: 1. There were three explosions. 2. From the perishing aircraft jumped 2 people with parachutes. 3. It was recorded that the Ukrainian plane left in the direction of Debaltseve.”
(…)
“As for clarification on the parachutes, as correctly pointed out in the comments, parachutes could belong to pilots of 1 of the 2 Ukrainian aircraft, which followed “Boeing” from Kiev. According to eyewitnesses, 1 junta plane left from the crash site, and not 2. So the parachutists may well have been the pilots of the junta air force.”

A day later, in the English language version of his blog, at 02:03 on the 19th, the blogger stated:

“The ‘Boeing’ was accompanied by 2 jets of the junta air force (there are discrepancies – some sources write about a Su-25, others about Su-27) one of which was seen by the eyewitnesses near the crash site of the ‘Boeing’ as it was retreating towards Debaltsevo. What happened to the 2nd junta airplane is unknown, the 2 observed parachutes in the vicinity of the ‘Boeing’ crash site may well belong to pilots of the junta air force. Somewhat earlier there were unconfirmed messages about the shot down Su-25 and AN-26 arrived, but there are no significant confirmations for this. Strelkov didn’t make any official announcements on this topic.”

All in all, it is a rather incoherent story, as no explanation is given with regards to the whereabouts of the second aircraft or the pilots that allegedly jumped.

The tale about a Su-25 fleeing towards Debaltseve was based on a anonymous witness account that was published on YouTube in the early evening of the 17th, at 20:48, as an audio recording. The recording was uploaded by Osip Veimarn (Осип ВеймарнIt), who referred to it on his blog at 20:50 EEST. (Originally it had been uploaded by cassad.net a little earlier – see footnote 2).
It was this witness account that Colonel Cassad is referring to.

However, what that witness saw was in fact a Boeing 787 from Air India (AIC113), flying westbound (see DSB main report, p. 41). On a video registration of the flight path of MH17 by Flightradar24 the flight path of MH17 stops at approximately 01:38. To the right of it the Air India plane can be seen, coming from the east. At approximately 02:03 the Air India plane is positioned above Debaltseve (in between Yenakijeve en Alchevs’k).

Flightradar recording and Google Maps screenshot of the area

Since the speed of the video playback mentions “12x”, the real time lapse isn’t 25 seconds but 300 seconds or 5 minutes. (Of course this is just a rough calculation, but it suffices). This means that the Air India plane was seen approximately 3 minutes after MH17 had fallen (assuming the main body fell and exploded after 1,5-2 minutes after the plane was hit).
In other words, it is most plausible that the witness saw the Air India plane disappear in the direction of Debaltseve, through holes in the clouds, and perceived it to be a Ukrainian jet fighter. (Needless to say, it is extremely difficult – if not impossible – to identify the correct type of flying aircraft ànd its real height, especially when it is flying at 10 km height ànd the sky is clouded.)
The witness account most likely had become influenced by the stories about a Su-25 that had arisen after 17:00 and were put forward to blame Kiev.

More Su-25 narratives!

That same evening more accounts of one or two Su’s attacking, falling or flying were given.
These were less influential as the one cited by Colonel Cassad and they didn’t “survive” so to say.
E.g. in this one the second witness recorded tells he saw a fighter jet following the Boeing, then firing a shot at the Boeing near Grabovo pond, after which DPR men fired at the jet, but it hid out in the clouds and flew away beyond the horizon.
Another one tells a story about two “zushkas” (Zu-23 anti-aircraft cannons) firing at a “Sushka” (Su-25), but they didn’t hit the Boeing (which isn’t that strange since their firing range is about 2,5 km). After that the passenger plane started spinning. When it had been cleft in two, bodies started falling. Then the main part got spinning fast. The tail flew away in one direction, to somewhere in Grabovo, while the cockpit dropped straight down. (The last part of this account is pretty accurate though).

Since then several versions have been given, mostly speaking of 1 or 2 jets attacking, firing board cannons and/or launching missiles, but sometimes the stories even expand to 3 or 4 jets. It’s not worth discussing these later versions here any further. (Maybe Joost Niemöller or Billy Six can provide an overview on that?!)

The most important point is that the original narrative concerned one downed Su-25, that fell near the AN-26 (which happened to be a Boeing 777). In the next version the Su-25 got away but was downed in the area of Krasnyi Luch. And finally – from the witness audio recording – it got away, flying in the direction of Debaltseve.

The single Su-25 aircraft scenario was more or less sanctioned by the Russian Ministry of Defence in its July 21st press conference, when they showed a radar video recording and stated that a Ukrainian aircraft had climbed towards MH17. At the press conference the female translator says “it is supposed that it was Su-25”:

In the English language transcript it was translated as: “purposed Su-25”, but the original Russian text says “предположительно Су-25”, which may be translated as “presumably [the] Su-25”.

A Ukrainian Buk – of course!

One or more Su-25’s attacking MH17 wasn’t the only explanation given that evening.
Early in the evening, at 18:51, the first deputy prime minister of the DPR, Andrei Purgin, was quoted saying that the Boeing could have been shot down by Ukrainian military. “In the area where the Boeing crashed, are very serious fights. There is constant shooting”. Also, he denied that the separatists were in possession of a Buk.
On the “Russia 24” tv channel, Purgin added that Ukrainian military might have mistaken MH17 for a Russian spy plane.
(His statements were also published by Ria Novosti at 20:00).

A bit later, at 19:00, Alexander Borodai, the DPR’s prime minister, told Ria Novosti that the plane downed near Torez was smaller than the Boeing:

“‘If this is indeed a passenger liner, we didn’t do it’, – assured Boroday. According to him, the aircraft crashed in Torez is much smaller than a Boeing. In addition, the Prime Minister recalled, Kiev closed the sky over the DPR and LPR to civilian planes.

Borodai also stated that the militia did not have weapons that can bring down a plane from an altitude of 10.000 meters. The same message was given by Sergey Kavtaradze, a member of the DPR’s security council, also at 19:00.

At 19:36 gazeta.ru reports on Boroday tweeting about civil aviation over the territory of the DPR (4).[3]The separatists and also the Russians were well aware that Ukrainian radar systems in East Ukraine were not able to cover the entire area, so it seems. Not only Borodai’s tweet, but also statements from the Russian Ministry of Defence testify to that. E.g. on July 18th already the Russian ...continue The tweet was sent from the (now gone) account @Dnr_Novorussia :

“Полеты гражданской авиации на востоке Украине невозможны, там разрушена инфраструктура связи
Civil aviation flights in eastern Ukraine are not possible, the communication infrastructure is destroyed there”

Speaking to Interfax, as published at 20:03, Borodai blamed Kiev and called the downing a provocation by the Ukrainian military:

“‘We confirm the fall of a passenger plane near Donetsk. Representatives of the DPR went to the crash site to search for the liner’, – Borodai said to ‘Interfax’. According to him, the incident ‘is nothing else, than a provocation of the Ukrainian military'”.

The examples given show that journalists were busy calling separatist leaders to get their statements, but apparently the latter became fed up with that quite soon. At 20:01 Simon Shuster, reporter for Time magazine tweets: “Spoke to Ukraine separatist leader Tsarev. Says they don’t have the weapons to take down #MH17. Hung up when asked about their BUK missiles”.
Mashable’s Christopher Miller had the same experience: “When Mashable called Alexander Borodai, self-declared prime minister of Donetsk People’s Republic, to ask if the group was responsible for shooting down the plane, to which he responded: ‘Listen, we don’t have these weapons [to down the 777].’ Then he hung up.”

Nevertheless, later that evening, when Borodai visited the crash site at Grabovo he was interviewed once more by LifeNews. In this news report Borodai is quoted saying:

Regarding versions, everything is unambiguous. This was done by Ukrainian Air Force or the Air Defense. All, of course, will blame us, but we don’t have the required weapon in order to shoot down aircraft at this altitude.

The article also contains a video recording of the interview. (A transcript made by Lena_from_Kiev is added at the end of this article). In addition to the article text quoted above, it’s interesting to note that Borodai doesn’t want to comment on a Su or on parachutists seen.

Meanwhile Russian news media had also contributed to the Ukrainian Air Defense scenario, reporting that – “according to reconnaissance data” – the day before a Buk batallion had been transferred near Donetsk. That narrative was also sanctioned by the Russian Ministry of Defence in their press conference on July 21st.

The next day, when visiting the crash site, Pavel Gubarev, the self-proclaimed “People’s governor” of the Donetsk region, said that the plane had been shot at over the Dnjepropetrovsk region by a Buk and flew another 200-300 km to fall in the area of Torez. (Accounts of this statements can also be found here, here and here).

Pavel Gubarev explaining how MH17 was hit at Dnjepropetrovsk to fall at Grabovo

Gubarev claimed that militia didn’t have a Buk. He also wrongly claimed that for altitudes over 5 km a Buk TELAR needs an additional radar that the militia hadn’t. Therefore “this object was shot down with Buk and radar, also if trajectory of fall from 10 km is calculated, and if you look at engines – they are melted, and look at airplane parts, traces in earth, i.e. there was a trajectory of the fall, if this trajectory is plotted from the height 10 km then a very amazing fact appears that the plane was shot down about 200-300 km from the crash site. If trajectory from takeoff to destination is plotted then it turns out that it’s Dnepropetrovsk region.” Amazing it is.

Finally, Fyodor Berezin, deputy Minister of Defense of the DPR, on the 18th stated that the Ukrainian Air Defense shot down the plane, because it would have required a complete Buk battery, consisting of 4 vehicles, which the militia didn’t possess: “Yes, we have one defect launcher. But even if it was serviceable, one unit is not enough to bring down the plane. It needs a whole range of resources: four launchers and apparatus for target detection and missile guidance. All this is in other machines. (…) We don’t have this complex in its entirety. (…) This plane was shot down by Ukrainian armed forces.”
Of course – Berezin ought to know, as he was educated at the Soviet Union Engels higher anti-aircraft missile command school.
And let’s also keep in mind, that Berezin – an awarded science fiction writer – allegedly was nicknamed “Bibliotekar”. Later that day, this nickname would be mentioned in the intercepts released by the Ukrainian secret service (SBU).

Bibliotekar Fyodor Berezin SBU intercepts

Conclusion

The statements by the separatist leaders in the immediate aftermath of the downing of MH17 are either ignorant, preposterous or plain lies.
The narrative of the Su-25 evolved from being downed by separatists and falling in the area of the crash sites of Grabovo and Rozsypne, to crashing near Krasnyi Luch, and finally to fleeing away in the direction of Debaltseve.
At the same time a second claim was given, namely that a Ukrainian Buk had downed MH17.
Both scenarios were legitimized in the Russian Ministry of Defence press conference on July 21st.
Since then many variants on the Su storyline have been raised by Russian media and many, many witnesses of the Su(‘s) have been brought forward.
All in all, the underlying strategy seems to be that “nothing is true and everything is possible”.

Transcript of the interview with Alexander Borodai, by @Lena_from_Kiev

B: Before that there were messages that some Il or Su airplane had flown there. What can be done? [shrug] Of course, DPR will be blamed. DPR has only MANPADS and anti-aircraft units with max reached height 2.5 – 3 km. But as far as I know, the airplane was at altitude 10600 m. I.e. it was a strike of either aviation or serious air defense. It’s known that we haven’t got any airplanes.

I: What’s it for for Kiev?

B: Provocation. In order to blame us. It’s not for the first time for Kiev to shoot down civilian aircrafts. Do you remember that case?

I: Israeli.

B: Yes. On July 15 Ukrainian air force officially announced that they have brought their air force and air defense into full combat readiness because aggression of Russia was being prepared.
Which didn’t happen. Of course, we will allow all expert agencies to come here. The talk is now that a humanitarian truce will be arranged at first for 2-3 days, then we’ll see. For as much time as will be necessary, frankly speaking.
In order to clarify what happened regarding this tragedy.
What else can be said? I express condolences to relatives of all.

I: Alexander Jurjevich, there was a version that an Ukrainian Su has been shot down. Is fate known? And in turn, militia shot down the Su too, somebody was seen who ejected with a parachute. Is that person’s fate known? What work is being done?
Is that person being searched for urgently? Because essentially it’s a main witness.

B: I haven’t a complete commentary because all info is fragmentary and will be verified by our law enforcement agencies, and correspondingly only after that I’ll be able to give any elaborate commentary, or representatives of law enforcement agencies will be able to give elaborate commentaries. I’m astonished regarding this of Ukrainian authorities: they understand that a war is going on, they use aviation, and at the same time they send airplanes overhead along passageways. It’s potentially dangerous. They talk about possible Russian aggression, that they have brought their air force and air defense into full combat readiness, and after that in the place where they have brought their air force and air defense into full combat readiness, they open an air passageway for civilian airplanes.

I consider that unreasonable. It smells like planned provocation. Any technical specialist will tell that MANPADS and anti-aircraft units can’t reach such altitude.
We haven’t got any other anti-aircraft weaponry. Unfortunately.

Yesterday I was between Marjinka and Stepanovka. Airspace was continuously combed by enemy airplanes. We had MANPADS but enemy airplanes were at altitudes 5-6 km. We couldn’t shoot them down with MANPADS, they bombed us without hindrance. Unfortunately.

I: Are civilian airplanes flying here all the time or was it only one-time occurence?

B: Frankly, I don’t know. Nobody of us knows because airspace is not ours, so nobody of us was interested in aviation safety.

Originally published on September 17th, 2016

Notes   [ + ]

1. The story about the captured Su25 may also have been put forward to ‘mask’ the support of Russian jet fighters. In their 17:00 presser on July 7th the National Security and Defense Council made a remark about a separatist claim about a downed Su-25:
“Around noon today they reported about the alleged downed plane of the Ukrainian armed forces SU-25. According to the information received from the ATO forces, no aircraft was shot down.”
But there is no mention of an emergency landing or a Su25 captured.
2. The original url mentioned here is: http://cassad.net/category/war/211-podrobnosti-gibeli-malaziyskogo-boinga.html. This link now leads to a page on the cigr.net website, but that page is about another topic. The page may have been given a new url at this site, possibly here, but only the title of the page is left now. This page has a timestamp of 21:30, equalling 20:30 EEST. Also the witness audio file was posted here, but that page (with timestamp 20:37 EEST) is now empty as well.
A copy of the original url mentioned can found at an archive, where the page only shows a screenshot of the video with the witness statements, which links to http://cassad.net/tv/get_file/1/492011542e8a002abacdc3887da1508e/0/471/471.mp4/ (now gone too).
Beneath the screenshot there’s a link to this page, which contains a fragment of the text with a timestamp of 21:55 (20:55 EEST).
The current cigr.net website also contains this page with an overview of news regarding MH17, providing the same fragment linking to the original url, and citing the same part of the text at 20:55 EEST.
The text of the original source was reposted by Strelkov_info at 21:40 and also copied in a comment at a forum at 21:57.
From these data I assume that the post was originally published before 20:55 EEST, possibly at a page with the timestamp of 20:30 EEST.
3. The separatists and also the Russians were well aware that Ukrainian radar systems in East Ukraine were not able to cover the entire area, so it seems. Not only Borodai’s tweet, but also statements from the Russian Ministry of Defence testify to that. E.g. on July 18th already the Russian Ministry of Defence raised 10 questions, of which the 7th concerns radar coverage:
7. Why was airspace over the warzone not closed for civilian flights, especially since the area was not entirely covered by radar navigatio systems?