Russian President Vladimir Putin would have the world believe the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 was just a casualty of war, which only occurred because Ukrainian forces had launched military operations in that area.
Putin’s penchant for ignoring and fabricating the truth apparently knows no bounds.
In fact, the overwhelming evidence collected since when 298 passengers and crew aboard that airliner perished near the Russia-Ukraine border points to a sophisticated surface-to-air missile fired by separatists as the cause of this calamity.
Yes, Ukrainian forces were engaged in that area, trying to quell an uprising in their country by Russian-backed rebels attempting to take control of an eastern portion of this sovereign nation.
Secretary of State John Kerry, in building a case for Russia’s direct involvement in this tragedy, has indicated a video of an SA-11 launcher, with one of its missiles missing and leaving the likely launch site, has been authenticated. Audio recordings provided by Ukraine’s intelligence service immediately after the missile launch indicate rebel commanders believed they had taken down a Ukrainian military plane, only realizing later what had actually occurred.
And while Putin applies damage control from Moscow, rebel forces on the ground kept investigators at bay. They also reportedly found the airliner’s black boxes and even taken custody of corpses, packing them in body bags and onto refrigerated train cars.
International forensic teams are just now getting limited access to the crash scene, which obviously had already been picked apart by rebels. This has become more of a humanitarian mission, with preservation and transportation of the bodies to the proper authorities a top priority.
Even with access to the airliner’s voice recorders, not much information would likely be derived. It was mere seconds between missile launch and contact. The crew and passengers wouldn’t have known what hit them.
Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott put it best, calling actions by rebel forces controlling the crash area “absolutely shambolic.”
But what price will the West make Putin pay for his destabilizing support of these separatists and his duplicitous behavior?
While the U.S. has applied further economic sanctions, most European countries, which rely on Russia for their energy needs, have been reluctant to follow suit.
At some point, in addition to further isolation, Russia must suffer economically for its role in this tragedy and overall goal of destabilizing Ukraine.
It’s really the European Union’s call. Impose further sanctions or expect more the same from Putin.
— The Sun of Lowell (Mass.)