According to a source in law enforcement agencies of Ukraine, on the day of the disaster with Boeing 777 of Malaysia Airlines near Donetsk, Ukrainian air defense units practiced missile launch system. Although no live missile start was foreseen, an unauthorized launch happened by mistake.
A source in the Ukrainian law enforcement agencies told RIA Novosti that “On July 17 the commander of the 156th anti-aircraft missile regiment was ordered to carry out the training of combat crews to provide cover for ground troop operation in the suburbs of Donetsk.” They had to deploy battalions, lock on targets and perform the whole algorithm in tracking and “virtual” destruction of targets by missile air defense system “Buk-M1.”
He noted that the battery commander received the actual keys that unblock the missile launch system but the real rocket launch was not ordered or expected.
“To participate in a training session in Dnipropetrovsk, the airbase of Kulbakino 229 Brigade Combat Aviation in Nikolayev sent two Su-25. They were orderd to conduct aerial reconnaissance and identify control targets within a concentration of Ukrainian Army group west of Donetsk,” – said the agency source.
“Upon entering the training zone one of the aircraft was picked by Buk radars and the combat crew of the missile battery located near Zaroschenskoe started to follow it. Apparently, in a tragic accident the Malaysian Boeing and Su-25 flight routes traversed and, despite the difference in altitudes, matched and merged on the screen at one point that was fatal to the civil flight – at the moment of convergence of targets the tracking system automatically continues to track that which has the largest area,” – said the source.
According to the source, it is not known why there was an unauthorized missile launch. “This issue is investigated by SBU, who took the battery commander and the crew into custody,” – he concluded.
The Boeing 777 of Malaysia Airlines was flying from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur and crashed on July 17 in the Donetsk region of Ukraine, in the area of fighting between local militias and government troops. All 298 people aboard were killed.