A new name in the case of the crash of flight MH17

As found by Bellingcat and The Insider, the transportation “Buck”, which was hit Malaysian liner, were engaged in a GRU officer Oleg Ivannikov. As it is found and what is known about him?Senior GRU officer Oleg Ivannikov, the former head of the defense Ministry of South Ossetia Andrey Laptev, a certain Andrey Ivanovich Callsign “Orion” – it’s all one and the same person, presumably involved in the transport of Russian air defense missile systems “Buk”, which in July 2014 in the sky over the Donetsk region was shot down the plane Malaysian airlines, EN route flight MH17. This is the results of the joint investigation, which held an expert journalist group Bellingcat and the Russian edition of the Insider. On Friday, may 25, this data was presented to journalists at a press conference in the Hague.

The investigation was conducted after 2016, the joint investigation team (JIT) in the case of MH17 appealed to the community to identify two key suspects in the crash. The identity of the first one with the call sign “Dolphin” Bellingcat and The Insider was established in December last year.

Now, examining information from public sources, experts found out that the second person is looking for JIT (a certain Andrey Ivanovich Callsign “Orion”), is a GRU officer Oleg Ivannikov. “Bellingcat found that during the crash MN17 Oleg Ivannikov with high probability was an officer of the Main intelligence Directorate of the Russian Ministry of defence and served there at least until the end of September 2017,” – said in an investigation published on the website Bellingcat.

How come Oleg Ivannikov

In July 2014, the security Service of Ukraine released recording of the intercepted telephone conversation between the then Deputy head of the defense Ministry of the self-proclaimed “Luhansk people’s Republic” Oleg Bugrov and a man by the name of Andrew Ivanovich Callsign “Orion”. This conversation, according to the SBU, was held on 14 July 2014. The sides apparently discussed plans to shoot down Ukrainian military aircraft.

“We already have Buk, we’ll be down,” says the record, “Orion”. Three days after this supposed conversation “Boeing” MH17 crashed near the settlement of Grabovo in the Donetsk region. All 298 people on Board were killed.

According to the SBU, under the Callsign “Orion” disappeared GRU officer, but the Ukrainian security services did not substantiate this assumption. Together with records of conversations SBU also released the phone numbers of interlocutors. According to Bellingcat and The Insider, the “Orion” is in the public databases. For example, in the application TrueCaller this number belongs to a user under the name Oreon.

The “female” voice and careless ordering

Through an unnamed Ukrainian journalist experts Bellingcat got the phone records for the number belonging to the user Oreon. Among them were Russian numbers. In an open database one of them was recorded as “Andrey Ivanovich Ivannikov, GRU from Husky”. As explained Bellingcat and The Insider, “Husky” is the name of one of the military units in the self-proclaimed “DNR”. In another database the same number is written as “Ivannikov”. This information was the first confirmation that the person with the Callsign “Orion” really is known as Andrei Ivanovich, and probably connected with the GRU, according to the website Bellingcat: “Most importantly, it gave the team of investigators hint that he may be known under the name Ivannikov”.

Continuing the search for that name in the public databases, the experts came to order in the Internet shop in the name of Oleg made on Moscow street Poliny Osipenko, 76. On this street the house numbers ends with the number 22. But if you go further, you can Balk to another building located at the address Khoroshevskoe highway, 76. Here is located the headquarters of the GRU. In 2017 a man named Oleg ordered in the online store sports a respirator, said the authors of the investigation. They, however, did not specify that the headquarters of the GRU moved Khoroshevskoe highway in 2006.

However, in another database the same phone number has been registered on Oleg V. Ivannikova, born 2 APR 1967. There was listed his home address. At the address, investigators were able to find his home phone that they called. The voice on the other end of the wire coincided with the voice of a man with the Callsign “Orion” on the record of the SBU. Not recognize it was difficult because the voice was unusually high for a man. The Insider even calls him “feminine.” This was the proof that the “Orion” and Oleg Ivannikov is one and the same person. Experts Bellingcat also found a man named Oleg Ivannikov born 2 April 1967 and lives in Moscow, a Russian official databases. It is stated that Ivannikov works in the Ministry of defence.

Who is Oleg Ivannikov

How did you find the investigation team, Ivannikov was born in Karl-Marx-Stadt in the former East Germany in the Soviet military. In the 1980s, he studied at the Kiev higher military aviation engineering school and the Moscow aviation Institute.

Since 2004 he worked in South Ossetia under the name of Andrey Laptev, and from 2006 to 2008 he headed the defence Ministry. However, he avoided publicity because he worked under a pseudonym, the investigators found. In 2008, Ivannikov, his family moved to Moscow, but kept the connection with South Ossetia, which, according to the investigation, went in 2013. However, under his real name, and car registered to the FSB.

Besides the fact that Ivannikov was involved in the fighting in the East of Ukraine, in his command was a private military company Wagner mercenaries which fought in Donbass and Syria, said in the investigation. According to Bellingcat and The Insider, he directly gave the order to the head of the PMC Dmitry Utkin.

What is he doing now Ivannikov

Where Ivannikov is now unknown. In Bellingcat I guess he could still serve in the Russian armed forces. “This morning we got a call on his home phone and talked to his wife, told DW Belingcat founder Eliot Higgins. She said that it is not with him cannot be reached in the next few weeks. I think he still does somewhere in what he did in Ukraine”.

Higgins suggested that Ivannikov was able to have a high rank in the Russian armed forces. Apparently, the expert added that in 2014 it had to do with transportation on the territory of Ukraine and back to Russia, “Beech”, which was shot down “Boeing” “Malaysian airlines”.

The joint investigation team on may 24 released the interim results of the investigation. Them they imply that the missile that shot down the plane, was released from the installation, owned by the 53rd Russian air defense missile brigade from-under Kursk. However, at a press conference on Friday, may 25, representatives of the Bellingcat stressed that they were not able to determine what role Ivannikov played in the crash of flight MN17. “We are not sure exactly where he was on the day of the crash – in Ukraine, Russia or with the column of military equipment, – said Higgins. – On phone calls, we can judge that, most likely, he was on the border with Ukraine and organized the transportation of military equipment and soldiers.”

Higgins hopes that the JIT, which for several months studying the insights Bellingcаt, subsequently will publish more detailed information about Ivannikova. He added that data provided by Bellingcat and The Insider should help the official investigation to identify the people responsible for the transportation of Russian “Buk” on the territory of Donetsk region.

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