As reported here yesterday, Paris Match claim to have taken a photograph of the BUK system, widely believed to have shot down MH17:
According to the French magazine, the photograph they took was taken as the BUK and trailer were arriving in Snizhne on the morning of 17 July, a few hours before the crash of the Malaysia Airlines MH17. (“en train d’arriver dans la ville de Snijne le matin du 17 juillet, quelques heures avant le crash du vol Malaysia Airlines MH17.”)
Paris-Match claimed it was taken by their team of photographers in Snizhne, but it turns out to have been taken in Donetsk, 75km away:
We know this because the phone number on the truck panel (050 471 4180) leads straight to this construction company:
According to Paris-Match, the proprietor of this establishment claimed “rebels” had stolen a number of his vehicles earlier in the month. If we go from here to towards Snizhne we find the location of the Paris-Match photo, near a car dealership on Makiivske Highway on the outskirts of Donetsk:
(This particular geolocation was probably first made by a “Chris Postal” according to the very pro-Kiev Ukraineatwar blog)
Now, this BUK and trailer may well be the same ones seen in the towns of Zuhres, Torez and Snizhne on the day of the crash, and which have been widely suggested as the probable launch vehicle.
Paris-Match also included the infamous Lugansk video, which was published by the SBU (Ukrainian equivalent of the KGB) and which the SBU claimed was taken in Krasnodon, near the Russian border, when it was actually taken in Lugansk (at an unknown time) at an intersection and on a route which is not a logical route to Russia.
After informing Paris-Match of the mistake regarding the video location, the author of the article Alfred De Montesquiou has now got back and explained:
Hello, indeed, it appears there was a mixup in caption : the picture was taken leaving Donetsk on road to Snijne, not in actual Snijne
I’d like to recommend another article by Alfred De Montesquiou relating to the situation in Ukraine.
(Article substantially updated 29/07/2014)
Paris Match have amended their article to confirm that the photo was taken in Donetsk. However, as of 29/07 they still have not corrected the Krasnodon location for the video.
Update 1/8/2014 As we know
1) Paris Match have said that their photographers took this vital photograph.
2) Paris Match say there was some kind of mix-up in locations accounting for them saying it was in Snizhne rather than Donetsk (75km away).
4) This is an incredible error to make in a matter of this seriousness, but these things do happen.
3) We have pointed out Paris Match’s error with regard to the SBU-provided “Krasnodon” clip – actually in Lugansk – but they still haven’t corrected it, saying this is because it was officially provided information.
4) We have asked Paris Match for a copy of the photograph to check EXIF data etc and will update everyone when we receive a response.
Alfred De Montesquiou has told HRI that it was coincidence that the BUK was seen by Paris Match on that morning as lots of journalists were heading out towards Snizhne that day as there was fighting in the area.
Update 5/8/2014 The company from whcih the truck was allegedly stolen appears to be a construction compny (not truck hire) http://3051562.biz-gid.com/ (h/t SZ on bellingcat)
Update 28/09/2016 The JIT investigation team provided a copy of the original video from which the “Paris-Match” stills were extracted today (relevant section at 3.10):
It is clear from this footage that the images were not photos but from a hand operated video camera. At the end of the footage the operator moves the camera down below the dash, as if not to alert any of the occupants of the convoy that they were being filmed.