Malaysia Airlines MH17 Shootdown: Russian Photo Shows Ukraine Jet Firing At Plane — Is It A Fake?

Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 shootdown satellite photo

Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 was shot down by a Ukraine fighter jet, Russia claims — and now the Russians say they have proof.

The day Russian President Vladimir Putin arrived at the G20 summit meeting in Brisbane, Australia, accompanied by four menacing Russian warships, and just three days after Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott confronted Putin in a face-to-face meeting about the Malaysia Airlines MH17 shootdown, Russian state TV broadcast a satellite photo that its says shows the exact moment the commercial Boeing 777-200 was blasted out of the sky by a military jet.

If authentic, the new photo would be an extraordinary bombshell — albeit one whose release appears rather conveniently timed. Though Dutch investigators who are in charge of the inquest into the MH17 disaster have refused to point the finger at a culprit, both United States and German intelligence services have named Russian-backed rebels in eastern Ukraine as the perpetrators of the shootdown — which they say was carried out with a Russian-made Buk anti-aircraft missile launcher.

On Tuesday, Abbott told Putin that Australia has the same information, and he demanded an apology from Putin, as well as monetary compensation for families of the victims.

Russia, on the other hand, says that a fighter jet flown by the Ukrainian military shot down the Malaysia Airlines 777 with an air-to-air missile.

On Friday, Russia’s government-run Channel One TV network said that the new satellite photo proves the Russian version of the Malaysia Airlines MH17 shootdown is the real one.

According to the Russian news agency TASS, the photo was supplied by a person calling himself, oddly “George Beatle,” who claimed to be an air traffic controller with 20 years experience.

Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 shootdown satellite photo

The photo shows Flight MH17 near the top of the image. An enlarged highlight shows what Channel One called a Soviet-made Mig-29 fighter plane firing on the Malaysia Airlines passenger plane.

Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 shootdown satellite photo

But skeptics immediately began picking the photo apart, saying that it was not only a fake but a poor quality fake.

Not only is the supposed Ukraine figher plane not what the Russian media said it was, but neither is the alleged Malaysia Airlines plane purported to be Flight MH17, the online critics quickly pointed out.

“To start, the image has been posted on a Russian message board on October 15th, claiming to originate from WikiLeaks,” wrote Veli-Pekka Kivimäki, a military and defense blogger. The “George Beatle” who allegedly sent the photo to Channel One included it in an e-mail dated November 9.

“It is clear that the satellite map imagery is created from a composite of different satellite map imagery,” Kivimäki continued. “Part of the imagery is from historical Google Earth imagery, dated 28/08/2012 (co-ords 47°57’12.22″N, 37°50’4.09″E).”

The image of the Boeing 777 in the photo, according to the critics, came from a Google image search for “boeing top view.”

Despite the claims of the government-operated Russian media, Kivimäki concludes that “the material reported by Channel One TV cannot be deemed credible” as proof that the Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 shootdown was the work of a military fighter jet, as Russia wants the world to believe.