One year ago, at 16:20 July 17, 2014, the Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 was shot down by a BUK surface-to-air missile system. All the 298 persons on board died, 193 from the Netherlands, 43 from Malaysia, 27 from Australia, 12 from Indonesia, 10 from United Kingdom, 4 from Belgium, 4 from Germany, 3 from Philippines, 1 from Canada and 1 from New Zealand. 80 of the passengers were under 18 years old.
This Malaysian Airlines Boeing 777 was the one shot down July 17, 2014
Of all the disastrous decisions Mr Putin has made since February 18, 2014, the order to shoot down a civilian plane in Ukraine was the biggest one. The evidence of Russia’s guilt is overwhelming, as these sources show: Ukraine@War Blog, Bellingcat, Daily Beast, RTLNieuws.
The Dutch Safety Board Commission will present its report in October. The first leaks, published by CNN, show that the MH17 was shot down by a BUK missile system operated by separatists close to Snizhne, a city which was – and still is – under their control. We will have to wait for the final report, but I believe that the conclusion will be as follows:
- “Separatist” soldiers led by Igor Girkin conducted the operation
- The target was supposed to be a Ukrainian An-26 military plane
- Due to incomplete knowledge of the advance system, the separatist operators shot down the wrong plane
- There will be no conclusion of the origin of the missile system, but “most likely” it was of Russian origin
Five countries, Netherlands, Malaysia, Belgium, Australia and Ukraine, have called for a tribunal to prosecute the persons suspected of the terrorist act. As could be expected, Russia is strongly against such a tribunal, and will do what they can to prevent the UNSC establishing such an instrument. If it will be established, Russia will veto any UN resolution and USA will not insist on transferring the voting to the UN General Assembly.
All the heat will be projected on the separatists in general, and Mr Girkin in particular. There will be an international demand of his extradition to the Netherlands, a request which Kremlin of course will turn down. Russia will probably propose to put Girkin before a Russian trial.
The two persons responsible for the terrorist act, Putin and defense minister Shoigu, will of course not be prosecuted. This topic is just too big to letting Putka lose face, and the members of the Dutch Commission have already been told to concentrate on the “separatists”. Russian diplomats may well have informed their Dutch colleagues that no spotlight in this case should be put on Kremlin. One of their arguments might have been that if any fingers are being pointed at Putin & Co, Russia will have to go to war. Not on Ukraine, but on selected EU countries. That seems reasonable. If an international tribunal digs deep enough and find clear evidence that the shooting down of MH17 was orchestrated and ordered by the very top in the Russian military (read: Putin as Commander-in Chief and Shoigu as Defense Minister), then Russia must be declared a terrorist state. Even some of today’s dubious allies of Russia will not be seen in such company. In such a situation the Kremlin power club will have nothing to lose, since all their bank accounts will be arrested, Russia will be cut off from the SWIFT system and its status will sink lower than the current pariah level.
Again, this case is just too big for letting the truth come to the surface. It is much easier to use the so-called “separatists” as scapegoats. As far as my own opinion concerns, I so far stick to the theory launched by the Ukrainian security service SBU.