Between Ukraine airline officials keeping planes flying too low and the pilot diverting his plane into the vicinity of the military transport, MH17’s fate was sealed.
Flight MH17 memorial at Amsterdam Airport. (Photo: Roman Boed / Flickr)
Yesterday I posted that Russian Premier Vladimir Putin may have been making some sense when he blamed Ukraine for the destruction of MH17. Putin had said that “certainly, the state over whose territory this occurred bears responsibility for this awful tragedy.” Apparently he was referring to flawed decisions about flight path and air traffic by Ukraine aviation officials. As the Wall Street Journal reported:
Ukraine intelligence officials said they knew three days before the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 that rebels in the east of the country possessed sophisticated air-defense systems capable of felling a jetliner at altitudes in excess of where the Boeing 777 was flying. Continue reading
The Russian prime minister may still bear much of the blame, though.
Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin sought to shift the blame back to Ukraine (Photo: Remy Steinegger / Flickr)
Russian Federation Prime Minister Vladimir Putin had said about the shooting down of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17:
I want to note that this tragedy would not have happened if there were peace on this land, if the military actions had not been renewed in south-east Ukraine. And, certainly, the state over whose territory this occurred bears responsibility for this awful tragedy. Continue reading
Russia’s foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov, has said that Russia will “respond” (read that as “attack Ukraine”) in the event that Russia’s “legitimate” interests, including Russian citizens, are attacked.
Assume for the moment that the Ukrainians are right and the various masked occupiers of towns in eastern Ukraine are, in fact, Russian special forces. If that’s the case, then Ukrainian action to drive off the occupiers would potentially result in the death of one or more Russian citizens (the alleged special forces).
And if we take Lavrov’s words literally, then we would have a situation wherein Ukrainian self-defense against Russian incursions could be used to justify a Russian invasion of Ukraine.
Ukraine crisis shows that Russia has come a long way from military operations in which casualties to civilians were of little concern.
“Western experts,” reports Michael Gordon in the New York Times on April 21, see Russia’s military, “disparaged for its decline since the fall of the Soviet Union,” now “skillfully employing 21st-century tactics” in East Ukraine “that combine cyberwarfare, an energetic information campaign and the use of highly trained special operation troops to seize the initiative from the West.”
Many were initially caught off-guard when “the Russians used a so-called snap military exercise to distract attention and hide their preparations. … specially trained troops, without identifying patches, moved quickly to secure key installations. Continue reading