Friday, July 24, 2015

How We Know Russia Shot Down MH17

James Miller and Michael Weiss, The Daily Beast

One year after 298 civilians fell to earth over eastern Ukraine, Putin’s regime is still denying culpability. Here’s definitive evidence to the contrary.

It’s been a year since Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 was shot out of the sky, killing all 298 civilians onboard. The results of the official inquiry have yet to be released, and while the fact that this Boeing 777 was immolated has not been disputed, various theories have been floated by the Ukrainian government, the Russian government, and other interested parties as to how it was and who ultimately bears responsibility for this tragedy.

The vast majority of the evidence adds credibility to the theory that an anti-aircraft Buk missile launcher, controlled by either Russian soldiers or Russian-backed fighters and fired from a field south of the town of Snezhnoye, destroyed the commercial airliner. The Buk is an advanced weapons system capable of destroying military aircraft or even ballistic missiles at an altitude up to 82,000 feet, and so its presence on Ukraine’s battlefield was always set to change both the scope and intensity of the conflict. But it suspiciously arrived in the arsenal of the Russian-backed fighters at a time when the Ukrainian military was making rapid gains and was perhaps closing in on a military solution to the conflict.

Before MH17

After Russia’s illegal annexation of Crimea in March 2014, bands of pro-Russian fighters began to seize police stations, government buildings, and other strategic areas across eastern Ukraine. Even at that time there was evidence that these raids were organized or led by men who were associated with or members of the Russian military. Initially, the Ukrainian military, left in serious disrepair by the ousted Yanukovych government, was hesitant to respond to this threat. It’s likely that the Ukrainian interim government was initially concerned about a possible counter-revolution launched by disloyal members of the police, military, and security apparatus. Whatever the cause, the “separatists” began to take control of large parts of eastern Ukraine.

The Ukrainian military began its “Anti-Terror Operation,” or ATO, in April to reclaim territory that had been seized by the pro-Russian insurgents, many of whom were operating under the command of Russian citizens (and probably Russian soldiers) who arrived to fight against the new government in Kiev. On June 7, Ukraine elected its first post-revolution president, Petro Poroshenko, who won partially as a result of his pledge to restore order quickly to eastern Ukraine. The ATO had already started to gain momentum throughout May but, perhaps feeling that it had survived the aftermath of a sometimes violent revolution and now had a public mandate to act, the Poroshenko government mobilized the military to confront the separatist threat even more forcefully.

(More here.)

1 Comments:

Blogger Tom Koch said...

It appears that the 1980s are now calling to ask for their foreign policy back, ...

8:20 AM  

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