Chief of the Russian Land Forces' tactical air defense troops Maj. Gen. Mikhail Krush said he doubts that the Malaysian passenger liner was brought down by a Buk surface-to-air missile system.
"No one observed a Buk engaging targets in that region on that day, which provides 95 percent proof that Buk systems were not used in this concrete case," the general said in an interview with the Voyenno-Promyshlenny Kuryer military weekly to be published on Wednesday.
"This is no more than a theory for now. However, a guided missile launched by a Buk missile system leaves behind a specific smoke trail as it flies, like a comet. In daylight this trail can be clearly seen within a radius of 20-25 kilometers from the missile system. It cannot remain unnoticed. There are no eyewitnesses to confirm there was any. No one reported a launch. This is one thing," he said.
"Second. The holes left by the strike elements on the Boeing's outer skin indicate that the warhead blew up from below and sideways. A Buk missile strikes the target from above," he said.
"The damage done to the plane suggests that a different missile was used. Our guidance method is a zoom, when the missile strikes the target from above covering it with a thick cloud of fragments" the general said.
"I cannot state categorically, guided by this data, but I can suggest, using my experience, that it was not a Buk missile that hit the Boeing," the expert said.
Asked what was inside of the warhead - cubic or spherical shape charge, Krush said, "neither cubic nor spherical, but something bar-shaped. An expert will identify whether the target was hit by a Buk at first glance examining the traces it leaves. A Buk missile leaves no large holes and does not tear the plane's outer skin the way we could see on television," he said.
The general said that a concrete answer to the puzzle over who shot down the Boeing could be given after experts in surface-to-air guided missiles examine the scene.
He said at the same time that the emergence of Ukraine's 156th surface-to-air missile regiment near Donetsk was not accidental. "I think - again, this is just a theory - that this regiment's deployment near Donetsk was part of a special operation, devised by the Ukrainian side. If this regiment had not been there, only one aspect of the Boeing's destruction would have been considered - an air strike, which could only have been launched by the Ukrainian air force. There are no other aircraft in this region. Therefore, the theory proposed from the start was that the plane was shot down by a Buk missile launched by the militia. Who could have helped them in that case? Russia. Who is to blame? That simple!" Krush said.
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