Russia’s Chief of the General Staff of the Armed Forces, Lt. Gen. Andrey Kartopolov and Chief of the Air Force Main Staff, Lt. Gen. Igor Makushev participated in a media conference in Moscow on July 21, 2014. Their attempts at deflecting the blame were less than subtle. Russia’s military officials asked traditionally loaded questions along the lines of the infamous presupposition: “When did you stop beating your wife?” One of the chief claims in this presentation was cited by Russia Today as follows: “Why did #Ukraine SU-25 fly same path as #MH17, simultaneously at same altitude?”
The SU-25 is a ground attack aircraft, designed to defeat small mobile and stationary ground targets and to engage low-speed air targets at the forward edge. The Boeing 777 is certainly not a low-speed or low altitude air target. If the Ukrainian military (for some unknown reason) actually meant to target an airliner, it would likely use the SU-27, which is a long-range air superiority fighter.
Furthermore, technical specifications of the SU-25 list its service ceiling as 7,000 meters (22,965 feet) unarmed or 5,000 meters (16,000 feet) when armed to the max. The Boeing 777 was flying at the altitude of 33,000 feet. Russian military officials explained this glaring disparity by stating that the SU-25 can fly as high as 10 km (32,808 feet) “if it wants to.” Someone should notify the manufacturers that they’re selling themselves short, according to SU-25’s magic powers to overcome its own technical limitations.