Laaneots: Rebels Were Aiming for a Transport Plane
Retired Estonian General Ants Laaneots said the Russian separatists who he believes shot down Malaysia Airways flight MH17 in eastern Ukraine Thursday was a Ukrainian government IL-76, a large transport aircraft.
He said now it is certain the aircraft, who had 298 people on board, was shot down by a Russian Buk-M surface-to-air missile system. That information comes from communications intercepted and taped by Ukrainian intelligence services.
The tapes show, Laaneots said, that the fact that the downed aircraft was civilian came as a surprise to the separatists.
Moscow is currently trying to blame the Ukrainian government, which does not have such capabilities in that part of the country as the separatists have no air force.
One version, he said, is that the separatists asked Moscow for approval to shoot down a IL-76, which was duly given, or, the aircraft was shot down as Moscow has demanded that a no-fly-zone be implemented over the area, as Ukrainian forces have successfully used air cover.
Laaneots said the same system was used to shoot down a AN-26 a few days ago, adding that the system can not be used by amateurs and a team must have been dispatched from Russia to operate the Buk missile battery.
Russia has shot itself in the foot, and are trying to cover it up, having given separatists orders to find the black box and transport it across the Russian border.
Moscow made another huge mistake in sending a TV crew to capture footage of the crash site of yet another downed Ukrainian military aircraft, but the crew was met with a shock. The footage did air, Laaneots said.