MH17 and Su-25

Kindly translated by Anne-Marie de Grazia

One thesis presently gaining substance is that the Boeing of Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 might have been shot down, not by a ground-to-air missile, but by gunfire from a Sukhoï 25 (Su-25, NATO code « Frogfoot »). Supporting this thesis, photographs are circulating, one of which has been communicated to me by Olivier RIMMEL.

Picture 1


This picture is to be seen in the context of the aircraft.

Picture 2


As is, the following observations can be made:

  1. The traces of impact on this piece of the aircraft cabin appear to correspond better to the shots of the Frogfoot’s 30-mm gun than to missile splinters. The latter are – generally – distinctly more scattered, except if the explosion of the warhead occurs in very close proximity to the target (probably less than 5m). The head of the BUK missile contains an explosive charge with small cubes of steel within it. The detonation provokes the formation of a cone of splinters. If the missile detonates at 10m-15m of the target, the cone has already taken shape. But if the missile detonates at less than 5m, the splinters can be bunched.

Picture 3

AAA-Cone charge

  1. The impacts are concentrated on the upper part of the cabin. This is a point in favour of firing from a Su-25 because a BUK missile would have arrived slightly from below (even though its proportional navigational system allows it to anticipate on its target’s trajectory, and therefore, to arrive from the front). However one cannot exclude, if the missile has been fired at long range, that its proportional navigation system has made it flying over the altitude of its target.


  1. We know now that one or two Su-25 have accompanied the Boeing for several minutes. These probably were radar targets within the framework of an air-defence exercice of the Ukrainian army .
  2. We know, too, that the Ukrainian army has indeed deployed TELAR with BUK missiles in the region of Donetsk. It seems that the Kiev government feared an aerial attack on its forces engaged against the insurrection in the East of the country, in reprisals for the bombings which had occurred in Russia. The Russian government had threatened the Ukrainian government with “targeted strikes.” One can therefore consider logical both the deployment of missiles and the carrying-out of an anti-aircraft defence exercise on July 17th.
  3. But the Su-25 Frogfoot, described as a « fighter jet,» is in reality a fire-support plane (conceptually similar to the American Fairchild A-10). At an altitude of 10,000m, its excess speed over a Boeing 777 is of 25km/h to 75 km/h. In this case, with such a scant excess, the Su-25 marksman should have fired from back to front, which is not compatible with the damages recorded in the photograph. The Su-25 is an airplane which has been conceived for ground attacks, not for intercepting aircrafts at high altitude.
  4. On his blog[1], Christian Roger, Board Commander on Air France Boeing 747 ER, former leader of the « Patrouille de France » (the aerobatic demonstration team of the French Air Force) who acted as an expert for the Sharm El Sheikh crash (2004), and former President of the Air France Bureau of the SNPL, the National Union of airline pilots – 1986 / 1990, mentions two very troubling facts: the Malaysian airliner flew farther North than the air traffic lane followed by airplanes flying over Ukraine, and the Ukrainian secret services have immediately seized the recordings made by the aerial control in Kiev.
  5. It is therefore  possible, but by no means certain, that another Su-25 type airplane approached the Boeing on a collision course and that it fired, targeting the front part of the airplane.

Picture 4


  1. The investigation has so far revealed that the crew has been put out of action quasi-instantly. This is coherent both with the thesis of hypoxia following a brutal depressurization of the cockpit, and with that of the crew having been massacred, either by the shell or by missile splinters.
  2. If these were indeed shells from the 30-mm gun arming the Su-25, they are composed of depleted uranium. Residual radioactivity should be detectable on the debris. Now, it appears that such shells were used only by the Russian air-force. The Ukrainian AF was probably used wolfram-cored shells.
  3. The Ukrainian government, contrarily to its first declarations about a 40km cease-fire zone around the crash-site, is pursuing combat activities which are now preventing investigators to reach the crash-site. It appears clearly that seeking the truth is not the main concern of the Ukrainian government.
  4. The United States, who maintain being in possession of « satellite » proofs of the firing of a missile from the zone controlled by the insurgents, still refuse to release them.
  5. An American source[2], taking up on the story of the investigative journalist Robert Parry[3], mentions the possibility evoked by analysts of the CIA that the missile was fired by the Ukrainian army.
  6. The only thing one may be reasonably sure of is that, if this airplane has indeed been downed by a missile, it happened by mistake. Nobody had the intent, nor the will, to shoot down this particular airplane.
  7. But if the airplane has been shot down by gun-fire from a Su-25, this raises directly the problem of the responsibility of the pilot and of the persons who gave him the order to fire.

The tragedy of the MH17 has become the occasion of a full-blown anti-Russian hysteria and of a smear-campaign against the insurgents in Eastern Ukraine. The situation on the ground is grave enough to warrant abstaining from this kind of behaviour and to keep one’s thoughts a little bit straight on this question.






Citer ce billet
Jacques Sapir (2014, 31 juillet). MH17 and Su-25. RussEurope. Consulté le 15 juin 2024, à l’adresse

Jacques Sapir

Ses travaux de chercheur se sont orientés dans trois dimensions, l’étude de l’économie russe et de la transition, l’analyse des crises financières et des recherches théoriques sur les institutions économiques et les interactions entre les comportements individuels. Il a poursuivi ses recherches à partir de 2000 sur les interactions entre les régimes de change, la structuration des systèmes financiers et les instabilités macroéconomiques. Depuis 2007 il s'est impliqué dans l’analyse de la crise financière actuelle, et en particulier dans la crise de la zone Euro.

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