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Instagram Account Indicts Russian Involvement In Ukraine


Malaysian Airlines Flight 17 Evidence On Social Media

A Russian soldier has posted pictures on his Instagram account that show him operating military equipment inside Ukraine, including a missile launcher system suspiciously similar to the model used in the recent Malaysia Airlines shooting. Again and again illicit activities are posted on social media, and their wrongdoers are caught out. We’ve seen it with countless burglar blunders, where logged in Facebook accounts have revealed the thief’s identity, but this is an altogether more internationally pressing case.

His selfies and hashtag descriptions seem to indict Russia’s involvement in the tragic incident, a claim they have strongly denied. The Instagram account suggests the soldier was inside Ukraine earlier in July, working on a Buk missile launcher. The images have prompted fresh allegations that Moscow is providing military support to the Ukrainian rebels.

Instagram’s geolocating tool automatically shows the position from which a user’s photos were uploaded. According to Sotkin’s photo map, the photos were taken about 9 miles from the base in Voloshino, Russia, where he appears to be stationed.

In the early hours of July 5 however, Sotkin posted another photograph from the village of Krasnyi Derkul on the Ukrainian side of the border. Ukraine has accused rebels of firing mortars at a border point there at this time, which matches with Sotkin’s location and activities.

Most incriminatingly, Sotkin posted a photo in which he claimed to be working on a Buk missile launcher. Ukrainian and U.S. officials say rebels used a Buk to shoot down Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 two weeks ago, killing all 298 on board.

Several internet users, however, said “buk” was Russian slang for a laptop computer, pointing out Mr Sotkin used an “emoji” of a laptop after the word.

Nothing directly links Sotkin to the Malaysia Airlines atrocity, but the images online are seemingly incriminating enough for many to renew their accusations against Russia. As a result of these online leaks, Russian MPs are now preparing legislative changes in order to crack down on servicemen who post secret military information on social media, after a series of recent embarrassments.

President Putin will wish to put a stop to these impeaching photos being posted to social media – however, for the rest of those trying to decipher what really happened in the Malaysia Airlines shooting, and the conflict in Ukraine in itself, the online community will continue to scrutinise any evidence that emerges.

Katie Rowley

Recent graduate and now interning as content editor, when she's not writing articles Katie can quite likely be found festival-ing, holiday-ing or reading a book (dedicated English student that she is). Follow her @KatieAtSMF.

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Instagram Account Indicts Russian Involvement In Ukraine Reviewed by Anonymous on Friday, August 01, 2014 Rating: 5
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