Khodakovsky, Reuters, and the Magic BUK–UPDATE

Suspicions confirmed:
Vineyard item #1

Reuters today published a rather skimpy item claiming that a certain Igor (name incorrect, see update) Khodakovsky, a Donetsk militia commander, had admitted that they had a BUK surface-to-air missile launcher.

Now I’ve been following this story since roughly the Euromaidan protests in growing fascination and horror at the incredible media war going on over it.

Most of the western media is long on assertions and short on evidence, but in the age of camphones and twitter, there are amazing amounts of raw data coming from the boots on the ground in the war.

So, Reuters item here: Reuters BUK admission

And a transcript of Khodakovsky’s rebuttal here:
Buk Rebuttal

Now, there is another interesting angle to this. This in from Strelkov on the 17th July:
Strelkov 7-17-2014

The story with Mr. Khodakovsky continues. Somewhat earlier he was stripped of the direct command of the “Vostok” battalion (which was reformed into a brigade, so it has to be called now the “Vostok” brigade), which was operationally reassigned to Strelkov and his headquarters that rely on the conceal of the commanders. Over Khodakovsky, who used to be the minister of the state security of the DPR, a representative of the “Bloody Gebnya” (i.e., KGB) emerged, lieutenant-general Antyufeev who is currently cleansing the consequences of the work of those who were involved with the attempts to surrender Donetsk. A few days ago Mr. Khodakovsky was explicitly offered to determine with whom he is – either with Akhmetov or with the DPR. Because no agreement in good faith was apparently reached, then according to the data of the source, Mr. Khodakovsky today scribbled a paper about resigning from all positions in the security block of the DPR, which was dropped on the table of the political leadership of the DPR. Will it be given motion is not yet clear, but it is quite probable that in the nearest time Mr. Khodakovsky may depart from the deck of the military and political leaders of the DPR, similarly to how recently the former Mayor of Donetsk Mr. Lukyanchenko fell out of it and ran into Kiev.
UPD: Mr. Strelkov already confirmed the fact of the resignation of Mr. Khodakovsky from the position of the Minister of State Security of the DPR, so the source once again confirmed its high degree of privity.
Strelkov: Indeed, Mr. Khodakovsky resigned from the position of the minister. But he continues to command “Vostok” and nobody is going to remove him.
This way Mr. Khodakovsky now remains just a field commander and dropped out of the political deck of the top of the DPR. One more consequence of the retreat from Slavyansk.

Now, a little background, much stripped down from what I can glean from various machine-translations and opinion pieces.For some time, Strelkov had been holding Slavyansk against a fairly ineffective Ukrainian army, until Poroshenko called his partial ceasefire and used the time to move in massive reinforcements. Hence, Strelkov pulled back to Donetsk and Lugansk.
However, for weeks prior he had periodically expressed frustration about the lack of defensive activity in Donetsk, and so when he arrived he discovered that the mayor had been plotting with Ukrainian oligarchs and Kiev to turn the entire area over to them. It apparently was suspected that this Khodakovsky was involved in that plot in some way, and he “turned in his resignation” and was busted back to field commander. It’s not clear why he wasn’t arrested–Strelkov is a man of few words under these trying circumstances, but comments in various russian-language blogs express suspicion that he’s a double agent. It’s said he was previously a member of SBU, the Ukraine intelligence service. At the same time, on the 16th, there was a very decisive battle with the Ukraine army that did enormous damage to it in the zone along the Russian border (which Strelkov refers to as “The Cauldron”, and is held by the Ukie army. The following day was the plane crash.

So, given all of the above, Khodakovsky, at best, completely denies having said any such thing to Reuters and maintains that Reuters has video if they choose to attempt to prove that he did. Or he made have made a hasty and likely false statement from resentment at being busted and then recanted. Or–he may be a double agent. In any case, even *with* video and transcript from Reuters, if they publish it, I would take this story with an entire salt block.

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