Aric Toler Profile picture
May 25, 2018 16 tweets 8 min read Twitter logo Read on Twitter
We at @bellingcat have finally published our report revealing the identity of #MH17 person of interest 'Andrei Ivanovich' (Orion) -- it's GRU officer Oleg Ivannikov, who previously served as Minister of Defense of South Ossetia (yes, seriously).…
Ivannikov served as Minister of Defense in South Ossetia from 2006-8 under the pseudonym of 'Andrei Ivanovich Laptev'. In 2012, he headed up a new think tank focusing on the breakaway republics of Georgia before going to Ukraine in 2014.…
We made the discovery by a series of connections from the phone number published in the original intercepted phone conversations related to MH17.
Ivannikov slipped up once in ordering a tactical mask to GRU headquarters by using his real name (Oleg) and Moscow phone number. The list of orders was leaked online after the website went defunct.
We have a handful of photographs of Ivannikov/Laptev. See @the_ins_ru's article for more information on him (по-русски)
While Ivannikov/Laptev served as South Ossetian Minister of Defense from 2006-8, there was not a *single* photograph, audio recording, or video of him. Not a single one. He purposefully avoided any public appearance.…
In 2012, "Laptev" endorsed David Sanakoyev as a South Ossetian presidential candidate. In this endorsement, we found out he has the same birth year and background as Ivannikov. "Laptev" later headed up the same think tank that Ivannikov publicly led.
In our investigation, @the_ins_ru contacted David Sanakoyev, who confirmed that "Laptev" has the same distinct, high-pitched voice as Ivannikov/Orion.
We also reached out to a number of sources who were in South Ossetia in 2006-8 who confirmed that Ivannikov and Laptev are the same person.…
After resigning as South Ossetian Defense Minister, Ivannikov published a dissertation on the information environment in Russia's 'near abroad', specifically the north Caucasus. It's a terribly written and boring thing.…
In 2014, Ivannikov went to Ukraine, where he again used the pseudonym "Andrei Ivanovich" (minus the Laptev this time). There, he worked with (or, over) Plotnitsky in organizing military operations and supply from Russia. He also was in charge of Wagner there.
Along with about a half-dozen sources from former mercenaries/fighters in eastern Ukraine, we know a lot of this from a recent interview published by Ridus, where a fighter described how 'Andrei Ivanovich' actually ran the show in the LNR in 2014-5.…
To get a voice sample, @the_ins_ru called Ivannikov a few times. The first time, he yells he can't come to the phone. Th second time, we get a good voice sample. The third time, his wife says he's gone on assignment for a month+. Where is he now? Who knows!
Use the widget we made about mid-way through the article below ("Compare voices of Andrey Ivanovich and Oleg Ivannikov") to hear the two voices loop. They're obviously the same person, with a very distinct, high-pitched voice.…
In sum:
Russia sent a high-ranking GRU officerto Luhansk to run the show in 2014-5 (Ivannikov even sent recommendations to Surkov on who should lead the LNR).
We've unmasked him -- he is still an active officer -- and also revealed his him as an ex-South Ossetian Defense Minister
Bellingcat report (English):…
Bellingcat report (на русском языке):…
The Insider report (на русском языке):
Press conference:

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More from @AricToler

May 24, 2018
This will probably be boring to most, but oh well. I just woke up in the US and am watching the (already over) @JITMH17 press conference, and will tweet out observations/screenshots/etc. as I watch.
Starts out with a bang, as we see Buk 332 in all of its glory. Very interesting reconstruction of all of the tiny details and damage marks on the Buk. See the @bellingcat report on all of these little details here:…
Woooah, they are not messing around. They named the 53rd immediately.
Read 36 tweets

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