The Dutch Safety Board has released a preliminary report of the shootdown of Malaysian Airline flight MH17 on 17 July 2014. The report states that the cockpit area of the Boeing 777 airliner was hit with “a large number of high energy objects”. The report does not identify nor speculate what these objects were. However, a close examination of evidence available on the internet, including photographs of the wreckage coupled with information from the preliminary report, all but confirms that the aircraft was shot down by another aircraft using rapid fire machine cannon of some 30mm calibre. This contradicts earlier speculation that the aircraft was downed by a surface to air missile (SAM).
Some experts who have said the airliner was brought down by a SAM have pointed out that the BUK anti-aircraft missile system is a radar guided weapon that can be fitted with a proximity fuse that detonates the warhead as the missile closes in on its target. While the BUK missile system does indeed have this capability, it does not account for the uniform size of the round holes that are shown on the cockpit skin debris which are consistent with 30mm diameter cannon shells. The BUK system warhead is a conventional fragmentation high explosive device that would have peppered the target with irregular sized and jagged holes and not the round holes that can clearly be seen in the films and photographs of the wreckage.
Some earlier reports suggested that a Ukrainian Sukhoi Su25 may have been responsible for the shootdown. This scenario was refuted by the Ukrainian government and its Western allies who argued that the Su25 was incapable of reaching the 33,000 feet altitude that MH17 was cruising at. Wikipedia’s article on the Su25 states that the service ceiling at best for this aircraft is just under 23,000 feet. However, the authoritative Military Today website states that the SU25’s service ceiling is 10kms which, oddly, is almost 33,000 feet. The upshot is that it is well within the realms of reality for the Su25 to have shot down MH17.
The next consideration is; why was the airliner shot down? It is generally agreed that, regardless of who was responsible for shooting it down, it almost certainly was a tragic case of misidentification. Once realised it was a terrible mistake, every effort was made by whoever did it to cover up their responsibility with all sides then blaming each other for the deed.
The Ukrainian-Russian separatists who have been widely blamed for the shootdown certainly have had a recent history of shooting down Ukrainian military aircraft and helicopters but there is no explanation from the Ukrainians or their Western allies as to why separatists would have shot it down apart from the possibility that the separatists mistook it for a Ukrainian troop transport. But then why would the separatists assume that when the aircraft was flying high over the disputed area of the eastern Ukraine and heading toward Russia. The separatists would have had no reason to assume it was a Ukrainian aircraft. The Russians certainly wouldn’t have shot down a civilian aircraft no matter where it was from. The Ukrainians too would not have shot down any aircraft flying in that direction and at that height even if they believed it was carrying the Russian president Vladimir Putin – or at least the Ukrainian government wouldn’t have attempted to shoot down the Russian president. But what about the Ukrainian ultra-nationalist neo-Nazis in the military? Would they have unilaterally attempted it or even committed the crime with an understanding from the government that they would be disowned and the government’s role in the affair denied if they were caught out?
The Russians, no matter how much the West is trying to stir things up against them, would never have left themselves exposed to such a heinous crime. Nor would the Russian separatists, who have no access to the Ukraine Air Force’s Su25’s, have any reason to shoot down any aircraft under these particular circumstances. That leaves only the Ukrainian nationalists. And, since the US and Europe are their allies, there’s no reason for them to dig too deeply either.