Monday, July 21, 2014

In court of public opinion, Putin goes on trial

By Anthony Faiola — July 20 at 3:05 PM , WashPost

BERLIN — Investigators are still far from an official judgment of what brought down a Malaysia Airlines flight in eastern Ukraine, killing all 298 passengers and crew onboard. But in the global court of public opinion, the verdict appears to be rendered.

Vladimir Putin is guilty.

The Russian president could once claim a semblance of a role as a global statesman. But with the downing of a commercial airliner by what U.S. and Ukrainian officials suggest was a Russian missile, supplied to pro-Moscow rebels, Putin was facing a personal barrage of worldwide condemnation that threatened to result in further sanctions on Russia if it did not rapidly change course in Ukraine.

Australia has raised the prospect of banning Putin from a meeting of the Group of 20, the world’s most powerful nations, in November if he did not exert more pressure on the rebels who left corpses strewn on the ground for days, contaminated the crash site and hampered an international investigation. Britain, meanwhile, openly accused the Russian leader of sponsoring “terrorism.” U.S. Secretary of State John F. Kerry, appearing on multiple political talk shows Sunday, called this a “moment of truth” for Russia.

(More here.)

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