An investigation reveals that a Russian general was involved in the MH17 crash that killed 298 people. Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 was a scheduled passenger flight from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur that was shot down on 17 July 2014 while flying over eastern Ukraine.
The British investigative publication Bellingcat, in cooperation with The Insider has been able to identify the person of “Vladimir Ivanovich” as one of the top officials within Russia’s FSB security service: Colonel General Andrey Ivanovich Burlaka.
The Dutch-led Joint Investigation Team made public 23 telephone intercepts from the days before the shootdown which appeared to prove the close involvement of Russian officials with fostering and funding the war in Eastern Ukraine, as well as providing direct military support to the militants. The Dutch-led Joint Investigation Team appealed to witnesses and the public for help in identifying the official, who was only referred to in the calls as “Vladimir Ivanovich”.
The Dutch Public Prosecution Service charged four people. All of them were former commanders of the military forces in the so-called Donetsk People’s Republic (a.k.a. the DNR).
Following the investigation, the journalists have identified “Vladimir Ivanovich” as Col. General Andrey Ivanovich Burlaka, who serves as Chief of the Operational Staff of the FSB’s Border Service, and is the first deputy to the head of the Border Service of FSB, who in turn is first deputy to the head of the FSB, Alexander Bortnikov. This makes Andrey Burlaka one of the senior-most officers in the FSB, two positions removed from the director, via his direct boss, army general Vladimir Kulishov. He held this same position at the time of the MH17 shoot-down.
Calls published by the JIT illustrate how Burlaka, working under the pseudonym “Vladimir Ivanovich”, was the direct contact for militant leaders of the so-called Donetsk People’s Republic (DNR) at the time of the MH17 downing in July 2014. In one call, for example, then-Prime Minister of the DNR, Aleksandr Borodai, requests direct assistance from Burlaka in the form of Russian helicopter support in a battle near a town on the border. In another call between separatist fighters, one man notes that Burlaka — “the FSB guy based in Rostov” — was chosen by Russian Defense Minister Shoigu as the person who decides “who gets what” from the Russian military.