Pro-Kremlin disinformation seemingly has no limits. In Russia’s war on truth, no topic is too taboo, no claim too outrageous. But even so, amid the endless web of lies and misrepresentations, the disinformation campaign surrounding Russia’s downing of Malaysian Airlines Flight MH17 – a crime that took 289 innocent lives – stands out for its viciousness, like reported by euvsdisinfo.eu.
Since 2015, EUvsDisinfo has collected over 120 pro-Kremlin disinformation cases on MH17. The disinformation ranges from blatant insults to the memory of the deceased – claiming that the dead bodies didn’t look “fresh” and had been loaded onto the plane prior to its departure from Amsterdam – to outlandish conspiracies, like that MH17 was in fact Flight MH370, which had mysteriously disappeared over the South Pacific a few months earlier.
Above all, the relentless stream of pro-Kremlin disinformation sought to blame Ukraine and cover up the truth of Russia’s responsibility for the tragedy. And when this did not work in face of hard evidence meticulously collected by international investigators and independent journalists, Russia’s disinformation machine turned to trusty narratives invoking Russophobia (see: Russia is demonised by being blamed for the downing of MH17), moral superiority (see: Russia could not have shot down the flight MH17 because of the moral imperatives of its authorities), truth relativization (see: It is unlikely that the truth about the downing of MH17 will soon be found), and counter-accusations (see: the investigators were silent following new Russian claims on MH17).
This week is significant for everyone who wants truth and justice to prevail in the MH17 case. On Wednesday, the Joint Investigation Team announced that it will issue international arrest warrants for three Russian military and intelligence officers – Igor Girkin, Sergey Dubinskiy, Oleg Pulatov – and Ukrainian national Leonid Kharchenko, commander of the military combat unit in Donetsk. They will be prosecuted for their involvement in the murder of the 289 passengers aboard MH17, which was brought down by a Russian Buk missile. The trial will begin next March. In the meantime, the disinformation campaign surrounding MH17 is unlikely to abate, and we will be there to expose it. Pro-Kremlin outlets are already claiming that the investigation’s evidence is based on a lie, that the suspects’ names were randomly taken from social media, and that the missile type was only used in Ukraine.