Top Leaderboard, Site wide
September 21, 2014
Truthdig: Drilling Beneath the Headlines
Help us grow by sharing
and liking Truthdig:
Sign up for Truthdig's Email NewsletterLike Truthdig on FacebookFollow Truthdig on TwitterSubscribe to Truthdig's RSS Feed

Newsletter

sign up to get updates


Truthdigger of the Week: Naomi Klein




A Chronicle of Echoes


Truthdig Bazaar
The Science Delusion

The Science Delusion

By Curtis White
$23.95

Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal?

Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal?

By Jeanette Winterson
$25.00

more items

 
Report

No One, Including Russia, Benefits From MH17 Crash

Email this item Email    Print this item Print    Share this item... Share

Posted on Jul 21, 2014

By Ivo Mijnssen

(Page 2)

These theses remain unlikely, however. The Ukrainian army has so far not employed antiaircraft weapons in this conflict because it had no necessity to do so; the rebels do not own an air force. Why Russia would have shot down the plane remains equally unclear, as Moscow could have no interest in such a scenario considering the amount of international pressure and sanctions that its support of the rebels already generates.

The theory that the rebels shot down the plane accidentally is the most likely. On the day of the crash, the separatists bragged that they had shot down a Ukrainian Antonov 26 transport plane. The Ukrainian secret service published a phone conversation between rebel commanders whose authenticity is controversial but nonetheless accepted not only by security experts but also Russian journalists.

In it, pro-Russian insurgents report to their commander with dismay that the military plane is actually a passenger plane. A little later, the commander of a rebel Cossack group sent to investigate, Nikolai Kozitsyn, callously answers the question of what the plane was even doing in this airspace with a dismissive, “they transported spies.”

Officially, rebels deny the possession of weapons capable of shooting down planes at such altitudes. Only three days prior to the Malaysian airliner, however, they had downed a Ukrainian military plane at an altitude of 6,500 meters (about 21,000 feet), which requires advanced weaponry. Russian journalist Mark Solonin therefore also suspects the rebels—mainly because they are the only side that could have shot down a plane mistakenly. Russian and Ukrainian armies would both have the expertise and infrastructure to distinguish a passenger airliner from a military plane, he argues.

Advertisement

Square, Site wide
Nonetheless, Solonin does not believe that the question of the missile’s provenience will ever be clarified beyond all doubt. “Considering the enormous chaos that ruled in the 1990s, it is impossible to reliably follow the shuffle of missiles within the vast spaces of CIS countries,” he wrote. Instead, the Russian and Ukrainian sides both own the same weaponry. The missile may have come directly from Russia, from an overrun Ukrainian army depot or from Crimea.

Solonin also believes that the strong suspicion of Russia tolerating or contributing to rebel ownership of such weapons has had and will continue to have detrimental effects on the country’s international standing, particularly as the chaotic conditions on the ground persist. What Obama and his allies, mainly in Britain and Australia, expect Russia to do is unclear, however. Obama has threatened additional sanctions against Russia if it does not cease its aid to the Eastern Ukrainian rebels. Hesitant European states, first and foremost Germany, will come under increased public and political pressure to support further-reaching sanctions than the limited ones currently in effect. This would deepen the economic crisis already beginning to be felt in Russia but also prove to be costly to the European economies.

Russia could of course do more to control its borders. It has, however, no interest in doing so, as this would abet a Ukrainian military victory. The Russian government’s main geopolitical goal is to delay and, if possible, stop Ukraine’s rapprochement with the West, which it can achieve only by keeping the situation in the East volatile.

Moreover, even if Putin wanted to reverse his stance, it would come with tremendous political risks: He has consistently presented himself as the champion of ethnic Russians in Ukraine. The vast majority of the Russian electorate would perceive a halting of support to the rebels as a betrayal. It would be a suicidal political move. Putin’s uncompromising position is enjoying unprecedented popularity. Almost 90 percent of Russians support him, according to a recent poll.

Independently of all these geopolitical considerations, one should not forget that the main goal in the next days is the identification and the repatriation of the 298 innocent victims and an investigation into the crash. Finally, there is at least some progress on this front: The rebels handed over the plane’s two black boxes to Malaysian representatives and declared a cease-fire around the crash site. The U.N. Security Council, which includes Russia, also agreed on a resolution calling for an independent investigation into the tragedy. Moreover, the train carrying the bodies has apparently started its way to Kharkiv and, afterward, to the Netherlands.


New and Improved Comments

If you have trouble leaving a comment, review this help page. Still having problems? Let us know. If you find yourself moderated, take a moment to review our comment policy.

 
Right 1, Site wide - BlogAds Premium
 
Right 2, Site wide - Blogads
 
Join the Liberal Blog Advertising Network
 
 
 
Right Skyscraper, Site Wide
 
Join the Liberal Blog Advertising Network
 

A Progressive Journal of News and Opinion   Publisher, Zuade Kaufman   Editor, Robert Scheer
© 2014 Truthdig, LLC. All rights reserved.