On 8 August 2014, the Security Services of Ukraine (SBU) held a press conference at the Ukraine Crisis Media Centre in central Kyiv describing how they believed that Malaysian Airlines Flight 17 (MH17) was not the true target of the missile launch that killed 298 people on 17 July 2014, but instead Aeroflot Flight 2074 (AFL2074/SU2074). The intent of the downing of the airliner was for a Russian casus belli to invade Ukraine — openly, rather through covert support. The SBU and other Ukrainian government institutions quickly abandoned this theory and no longer refer to it when addressing the downing of MH17; however, a number of analysts and the former head of the SBU have continued to raise the Aeroflot conspiracy theory over the past few years.
As will be detailed in this article, the SBU’s August 2014 assertion that an Aeroflot plane was the intended target for the missile that instead downed MH17 has little basis in reality and has been supported most ardently by then-head of the SBU Valentyn Nalyvaichenko, who was relieved of his duty as the head of the SBU in 2015 and is now the leader of a Ukrainian opposition political party. This conspiracy theory would not be worthy of serious discussion if it were not for Nalyvaichenko and a number of Western, Russian, and Ukrainian analysts who have supported it over the past four years.Read more