Blog post claiming that July 16 GRAD and July 17 Buk launch site video are same event

Dutch blogger ( claims that a July 16 GRAD video and the RTL Nieuws (and @Wowihay, on July 17) "Buk launch site photos" are showing the same event. To prove this, the blogger attempts to geolocate the July 16 GRAD video to a pond just southeast of Torez.

Update from the blog

The blogger has made a new post making new claims about the image, which can be read here.

Eliot Higgins changed status to false

In this side-by-side comparison where the large image has been cropped you can see the cloud formations are similar in both pics. The distance between the photographer and the launch site based on earlier geolocation work is approximately 12km.


Should be noted that in the composite below, the brightness & contrast for the original image have been adjusted in PhotoShop: brightness -21, contrast -46.


Putting the images together makes a few things apparent. First, in the originally published image there's vignetting visible on the edges. This can happen with some optics when zoomed in full. Zooming would also explain the lack of wires - in the new large image, autofocus seems to have grabbed the wires sharp, leaving rest of the image blurred. This would indicate the wires are close to the photographer, and zooming dropped them out of the frame.

Eliot Higgins

One claim in this post is the cables and mast are visible in the earlier, lower resolution, zoomed in image, yet not visible in the large resolution image. This is used by the blogger to claim the second image has been purposely blurred to hide evidence of image editing. However, if you examine the cables in the foreground of the picture is appears the camera has auto-focused on those cables, causing the rest of the image to be out of focus, hence the blurring.

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Geolocation on Google Maps of [email protected]'s July report on GRAD attack

48.074740, 39.926298

Google Maps Google Maps added by Aric Toler
Verified by Bellingcat
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Google Maps is available in Gukovo, giving us a perspective roughly the same as that of the video. Facing west from the east bank of this pond, two important features from the July 16 GRAD video are visible: the telephone poles and the elevated bank that forms a sharp angle (red for poles, yellow for elevated bank):
Viewing from the opposite side of the camera's perspective (west to east), the elevated bank is seen again, along with other key features:

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[email protected]'s July geolocation of same GRAD vdeo

Blogger's geolocation of GRAD launch in Google Maps

Google Maps -- Blogger's geolocation of July 16 GRAD video Google Maps added by Aric Toler
False by Bellingcat
Eliot Higgins

More from Interpreter Mag on the video …

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In the July 16 GRAD video, to the right of the video, a very particular shape to the pond's bank can be seen: a straight, elevated bank forms an almost right angle with the pond jutting out off camera. According to the blog's geolocation, this would mean that the shape of the pond would be longer along the north bank than the south bank, with the particular elevated bank appearing east of the camera position. As the west (per geolocation) part of the pond is not shown, we cannot be certain how far it goes, and it is possible that the south bank of the pond continues along as well.

Images of bank:

However, when viewing the body of water geolocated by the blogger, it is simply impossible that any of the possible points of view accommodates the landscape shown in the video--not to mention the impossibility that any of the perspectives would also show a set of telephone poles and a road off the north bank of the pond.

In the link below, all of the possible perspectives of the video perspectives from a south bank towards a north bank are shown. None of these show the particular bank that is visible on the right of the camera's perspective.

The issue of the north/south bank and elevated bank alone--not even considering roads, the visible bush, the telephone poles, the landscape in the background, elevation, and other factors--proves that the blogger's geolocation of the July 16 GRAD video to the pond near 47.937957, 38.810909 is incorrect.


Here, the telephone poles in July 16 GRAD video can be seen.

If the blogger's geolocation is correct, then these telephone poles would be have to be located along the red fields, with the POV being the yellow arrow. None of these red fields have any sign of telephone poles, or a road for poles to be located upon.


There is clearly a road and telephone poles towards the launch site in the video. The blogger claims that the launch site was due north or north-northeast of of body of water, thus the point of view of the camera.

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