World Attention Looks to Vladimir Putin’s Response to MH17 Tragedy
Hrabove, Ukraine – With world shock over the downing of Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 over this troubled region of Eastern Ukraine, the attention is shifting to Russian President Vladimir Putin. It is well known that Russia is backing the rebels stirring up insurgency in this part of the Ukraine in a bid to foster another Russian annexation of this former soviet state. However, it is not clear how Putin will respond to this incident. His actions carry a far reaching effect and in a worst-case scenario could incite a war between Russia and the Ukraine.
Dr. Peter Jennings, head of the Australian Strategic Policy Institute, has expertise in this region of the world and concludes that if Putin plays dumb and denies any knowledge or responsibility for the actions of the Ukrainian separatists who downed flight MH17, he would likely incur further sanctions from the west. Maybe. However, the sanctions handed down thus far would hardly make Putin quake in his valenkis (traditional Russian felt boots). President Obama previously issued sanctions against the US-based assets of several Russian diplomats none of whom had any US-based assets to begin with.
Dr. Jennings suggested that unless Russia sternly rebukes and distances itself from the separatists, they would incur more sanctions from the West. He suggested an immediate consequence would be to revoke Putin’s invitation to the upcoming G20 Summit in Brisbane, Australia. Quite likely it is wishful thinking that Putin will feel the sting of rebuke from having his participation in an international tea party revoked. The fact is that Western Europe heavily depends on Russian oil and natural gas. The United States’ satellite space program is absolutely dependent on Russian-made RD-180 rockets. It is these interdependencies which will temper any meaningful sanctions against Russia. Given that Putin has heavily invested military might in retaking the Ukraine piece by piece, it is unlikely he will abandon that regardless of the 298 lives lost aboard flight MH17.
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People walk amongst the debris at the crash site of a passenger plane near the village of Grabovo, Ukraine, on Thursday. Officials in Amsterdam, where the flight to Kuala Lampur originated, said one Canadian was among 295 people on the flight. (Dmitry Lovetsky/Associated Press)
Malaysian Plane was Hit by Missle
The crash of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 on the Ukraine-Russian border Thursday was caused by a missle, according to US military intelligence reports. The Boeing 777 was flying from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur and was carrying 295 passengers. There were no survivors.
The scatter pattern of the wreckage indicated the plane broke up in the air and not by impact. Twenty-two bodies have been located at the crash site, with some reports of other bodies being found up to seven miles away. Personal belongings and passports littered the area around the main concentration of wreckage, while a Russian video feed showed bloody body parts.
The surface-to-air missle struck Flight 17 after it had reached 33,000 feet. The prime minister of Malaysia stated the flight route was considered safe, and the plane did not send out a distress call before the event. Both the Ukrainian and Russian governments have denied responsibility for the incident, with Russian president Vladimir Putin posting public condolences to the families who had loved ones on the plane.
The Ukrainian government claims to have evidence the Russian military played a part in shooting down the jet. Security officials have turned over two recorded phone conversations the first of which occurred between Igor Bezler, a rebel commander, and an unnamed officer with Russian intelligence. The second call was between two rebels, one of whom was at the crash site. This conversation indicated the missle attack came from “insurgents,” who were located a few miles away from where the plane went down.
US Vice President Joe Biden stated the plane was “blown out of the sky,” and that it was “no accident.” An earlier theory explored the possibility that Flight 17 was mistaken on radar for another plane in the area, which was the true target. This is now considered unlikely.
President Barack Obama had a lengthy phone discussion with Putin shortly after Flight 17 crashed. In a public statement a short while later, Obama said the incident was a “terrible tragedy.”
Who Was On Board?
— John Baird (@HonJohnBaird) July 17, 2014
Of the 295 passengers, 154 have been identified as Dutch. There were also 27 Australians, 23 Malaysians, 11 Indonesians, six British, four Germans, four Belgians, three Fillipinos and one Canadian citizen. Forty-seven other casualities have not yet been identified.
- 154 Dutch passengers.
- 27 from Australia.
- 23 from Malaysia.
- 11 Indonesians.
- Six from the United Kingdom.
- Four from Germany.
- Four from Belgium.
- Three from the Philippines.
The crash of Flight 17 comes on the 18th anniversary of TWA Flight 800, which crashed into Long Island Sound shortly after takeoff on July 17, 1996.
Photos of Deadly Crash Emerge
Photos reportedly showing the crash site — even some of bodies scattered on a field — began appearing on Twitter close to an hour after initial reports of the incident.
Here’s one from Russia Today:
— RT (@RT_com) July 17, 2014
— Huffington Post (@HuffingtonPost) July 17, 2014
— BBC Breaking News (@BBCBreaking) July 17, 2014
On The Web:
Russian President Vladimir Putins response to MH17 crash could it spark war
Video shows debris raining down on Ukraine after Malaysia Airlines passenger jet shot down