Bellingcat claims to have identified second Russian official in MH17 probe

A reconstruction of the wreckage of MH17 by the Dutch Safety Board.
A reconstruction of the wreckage of MH17 by the Dutch Safety Board.

Online investigation group Bellingcat said on Friday it had identified a second Russian military official who had a major role in the downing of flight MH17 over eastern Ukraine in 2014.

The collective says its research points the finger at Oleg Ivannikov, who operated under the code name Orion. Ivannikov was in charge of the armed forces in the ‘people’s republic of Lugansk’, a rebel-held area in eastern Ukraine, Bellingcat said.

Telephone taps and other evidence have led Bellingcat to conclude that he was directly involved in moving the Buk missile system to and from Ukraine.

Bellingcat earlier identified the source of the missile system as the 53ste anti-aircraft missile brigade, which the Dutch investigation team confirmed on Thursday.

Last December, Bellingcat said it had identified a man heard speaking on a number of intercepted phone calls as Russian general Nikolai Fedorovich Tkachev following voice analysis.

The identity of the owner of the voice, known as Delfin, is considered key to the investigation and in 2016 the investigation team appealed for help in identifying him and Orion, whom Bellingcat now claims to have found

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