Moneron Island

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Moneron is a Russian Island and is a part of the Sakhalin Oblast.


Moneron Island

Moneron is an unpopulated island just 4 1/2 miles long and 3 1/2 miles wide 24 miles due west of Sakhalin Island; the only land mass in the whole Tatar (Tsushima) straits. On its east side, its Soviet claimed 12 mile territorial boundary meets the west side of Sakhalin Island's 12 mile territorial boundary forming a contiguous 24 mile expansive of Soviet territory. Diagonally to the northwest of Moneron, at a distance of 41 nm, is the Sakhalin's port city of Nevelsk.

Recent History

On Sept. 1, 1983 Korean Airlines Flight 007, carrying 269 people, including Congressman from Georgia, Larry McDonald, was attacked by a Soviet Sukhoi 15 interceptor and was tracked by Soviet radar descending in spirals over the only land mass in the whole Tatar strait, Moneron Island. The Boeing 747 Jumbo jet had flown five minutes at 16,242 ft. altitude until it was directly over Moneron Island where it began its 3-minute spiral descent.

Gen. Anatoly Kornukov, Commander of Sokol Air Base, Sakhalin: Gerasimenko, cut the horseplay at the command post, what is that noise there? I repeat the combat task: fire missiles, fire on target 60-65 destroy target 60–65.

Lt. Col. Gerasimenko: Wilco.

Kornukov: Comply and get Tarasov here. Take control of the MiG 23 from Smyrnykh, call sign 163, call sign 163, he is behind the target at the moment. Destroy the target!

Gerasimenko: Task received. Destroy target 60–65 with missile fire, accept control of fighter from Smyrnykh.

Kornukov: Carry out the task, destroy [it]! [1]

Soviet Mi-8 Rescue Helicopter
Marshal Nikolai Ogarkov on September 9, 1983, giving the Soviet version of the shoot-down of Korean Airlines Flight 007

Moneron Island was the destination for the convergence of Soviet helicopters, KGB patrol boats, to be sent from Sakhalin, and civilian trawlers, if any be in the inmmediate vicinity of the island itslelf. These were ordered within in one half hour of the shootdown (for mission orders, see [2]). Among the first proponents of this deception was Marshal Nicolay Ogarkov, U.S.S.R. Chief of General Staff, when he stated on September 9, 1983, at a press conference, "We could not give the precise answer about the spot where it [KAL 007] fell because we ourselves did not know the spot in the first place." The following transcripts expose the lie of the Soviets:

Lt. Col. Novoseletski: So, the task. They say it has violated the State border again now? Titovnin: Well, it is the area of Moneron, of course, over our territory. Novoseletski: Get it! Get it! Go ahead bring in the MiG 23."

Lt. Col. Novoseltski,Acting Chief of Staff, Smirnykh Air Base, (18:47): Prepare whatever helicopters there are. Rescue helicopters., Lt. Col. Titovnin: Rescue?, Novoseltski: Yes. And there will probably be a task set for the area where the target was lost., Titovnin: Roger., Is this to be done through your SAR [Search and Rescue]?, Novoseletski: Eh?, Titovnin: Assign the task to Chaika through your SAR, Comrade Colonel, Khomutovo [Civilian and military airport at Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk City in southern Sakhalin] does not come under us and neither does Novoaleksandrovska. We have nothing here., Novoseletski: Very well., Titovnin: Novoaleksandrovska must be brought to readiness and Khomutovo. The border guards and KGB are at Khomutovo.

Gen. Strogov, Deputy Commander for the Far East Military District (18:55): "The border guards. What ships do we now have near Moneron Island, if they are civilians, send [them] there immediately.".[3]

That at least one Soviet naval rescue mission had been ordered even before KAL007 had reached the surface of the waters off Moneron is attested by the following - taken from the Izvestia testimony of a Soviet Naval Specialist who had been involved in the rescue mission:

"When we learned that the aircraft had been attacked, and that weapons had been used, we began to analyse when it might possibly come down. Ships were ordered to the anticipated [emphasis added] area. Several ships headed there at once at full speed..."

After Action Report Map

The exact point of set down of KAL 007 might have been east of Moneron and west of Sakhalin islands. This is suggested by one report concerning Congressman Larry McDonald: After KAL 007 was reported gone missing, there was a report conveyed via phone by Orville Brockman, the Washington office spokesman of the Federal Aviation Administration to Tommy Toles, the press secretary of Cong. Larry McDonald. This report was that the FAA representative in Tokyo,. Dennis Wilhelm had been informed by a Mr. Tanaka of the Japanese Civil Aviation Bureau (Counter-part to the FAA) that "Japanese self-defense radar force confirms that the Hokkaido radar followed Air Korea to a landing in Soviet territory on the island of Sakhalinska S-a-k-h-a-l-i-n-s-k-a and it is confirmed by the manifest that Congressman McDonald is on board". This report would indicate that KAL 007 had made a 180 degree turn as it would have had to do so to land on Sakhalinsk Island after having already passed it (as it had been attacked in international waters just outside the 12 mile Soviet claimed territorial border west of Sakhalin), or it could, on the other hand indicate the arcing eastern heading portion of KAL 007's spiral descent around 4 1/2NM by 3 1/2NM Moneron Island to a landing east of Moneron and West of Sakhalin (Moneron and Sakhalin islands are slightly less than 24 nautical miles from each other and the lines of their respective 12 mile territorial borders intersect - see After Action Report map). The statement "to a landing in Soviet territory on the island of Sakhalinska" under this view would describe a report by Japnese self-defense force, and possibly by its reporting radar station, which was inexact but rather sufficient to indicate the general area in this sector. The Hokkaido tapes are not in the public domain.

See also