I was reading this article which is an open letter to UK Prime Minister David Cameron from former Russian President, Sergey Stepashin, and Russian Politician President, Sergey Glazyev regarding the Malaysian Airlines Flight 17 crash.

Most of it is claims with no sources or explanation to back them up.

For example, at the start of article:

every day we are seeing more evidence emerging that supports Russian President Vladimir Putin’s statement made right after the crash that the plane was downed by Ukraine’s military.

After this particular section, they refer to the plane being shot down by Ukrainian forces as fact:

[...] after they lured the Malaysian plane into a trap and downed it.

However, one part did interest me:

as well as the forced diversion of the plane from its regular flight path

Was the plane diverted from its normal path? If so, what was the the justification?

  • Stepashin was never a president and it is said in the wiki page you linked. He was a Prime Minister (briefly).
    – Andrey
    Aug 4, 2014 at 21:09

1 Answer 1


No, it was flying its usual path, same as it was flying for months before the event. Here is the path of the same flight day before (a bit to the South):

enter image description here

Here is the same flight on 13th of June (a bit to the North):

enter image description here

And here is the downed plane's flight path:

enter image description here

It is evident that such deviations are not atypical for this flight.

  • 2
    @rjzii That is within the typical deviations you can see in the flight history. Flight corridor is ~20km wide, the deviations are well within that. At the point where it went down the difference between the routes is less than 5km.
    – sashkello
    Aug 1, 2014 at 4:12
  • 2
    Very interesting! Do you think you can add that to the answers for those of us that aren't as well versed in aviation corridors?
    – rjzii
    Aug 1, 2014 at 4:14
  • 1
    @rjzii Corridors change constantly (they move it if there are weather conditions or some special situation), I wasn't able to find any definitive data of the corridor we are talking about on the day we are talking about, but I've added another picture to show that it flew through slightly different paths all the time.
    – sashkello
    Aug 1, 2014 at 4:23
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    Also, as I've been following Russian press, I should say that the claim originated from a speculation which argued that the MH17 path should have been to the south from Crimean peninsula (They weren't talking about those 5 km deviations). This is a lie, since that's a completely different flight corridor which MH17 didn't use at the time. They found some older data and apparently it flew there previously at least once, but that's all I could dig out.
    – sashkello
    Aug 1, 2014 at 4:31
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    @sashkello: You can probably find out lots about air corridors on aviation.stackexchange.com.
    – Gabe
    Aug 1, 2014 at 5:13

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