Proper sanctions must now be imposed on Russia and its businesses – they cannot be allowed to laugh in the face of 298 deaths
In the latest twist in Russia’s propaganda war, the Putin government, such as it is, is accusing the Ukraine government of shooting down Malaysia Airline flight #MH17. Ukraine, along with most other countries involved in this matter, accuse Russia of complicity in the act by aiding the rebels with weapons and tactical support, including a surface-to-air missile launcher with warheads.
You don’t have to be a renowned sleuth to work out the inconsistencies in the argument and behaviours of the Russians. This dastardly act took place on Thursday last and, after four days of prevarication, removing parts of the downed aircraft, refusing legitimate air accident experts access to conduct their forensic investigation, threatening journalists that descended on the area to gather information and holding on to the flight recorders thereby impeding any proper analysis of this crime, the Russian response is that a Ukraine military fighter jet shot down flight MH17. Putin on Thursday blamed the tragedy on Kiev’s three-month military operation and said its new leaders were solely responsible for security across the strategic nation, and have been since its 1991 independence, the geopolitical separator between Russia and the West.
At a July 21 press conference, held amid mounting evidence that MH17 had been downed by a Buk missile fired by pro-Russian separatists.Putin’s administration claimed that an Su-25 with air-to-air missiles had been detected within three to five kilometers of the Malaysia Airlines jet. But according to a British aviation expert, Russia’s claim that a Ukrainian Su-25 fighter jet was responsible for downing Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 are a flight of fantasy. “Loaded with missiles and bombs, [the Su-25's] maximum altitude is five kilometers,” says David Gleave, an aviation and safety researcher at Loughborough University. “We know that MH17 was flying at 10 kilometers high.”
If Russia hadn’t sent in BUK surface-to-air missile equipment and they knew that the rebels could not have carried out this atrocity, why has there been such delay in their response? Why haven’t they brought forward the evidence to substantiate their claims? More to the point, why were they virtually silent for three days, the same three days in which the rebels picked and pulled apart the wreckage of MH17? It is completely and utterly illogical – risible even – to claim that the Ukraine military shot down the plane whilst doing everything you can to frustrate the evidence-gathering process that would, were the Russian being truthful, substantiate their accusation.
The fact that Putin has surrounded himself with a coterie of his ex-colleagues, all ex-KGB agents and driven by conspiracy theories, is likely to be something to do with the mixed messages received from the Russian government. First elected in 1999, Putin is now remote from reality. His wealth has burgeoned since becoming president. His autobiography speaks of humble beginnings, including early years in a communal apartment, shared by several families, in Leningrad. That hasn’t deterred Putin from enriching himself as the latest estimates put his wealth at over £40bn.
Putin has run his country by selling the idea of a ‘New Russia’, where military glories punctuate the political timeline. Russian TV is driven by government propaganda. Lives are controlled. Andrei Borisovich Zubov, a Russian historian and political scientist, Doctor of History, and a former Professor of the Moscow State Institute of International Relations, lost his position for criticising Putin over the annexation of Crimea. Wherever you look in Russia, Putin’s world you cane see the KGB-style tentacles reaching out to manage the public and stifle news that the President doesn’t want to hear.
No matter how much Putin’s apparatchiks try and skew this catastrophe in their favour, the evidence is there for all to see, and for those that still can’t bring themselves to understand that, I ask: If the Kyev government downed MH17, why set about destroying the evidence?