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Saturday, 19 July 2014

Doubts And Finger-Pointing Envelope Malaysia Air Crash Over Eastern Ukraine

Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, according to the airline, included 154 people from the Netherlands, 27 Australians, 23 Malaysian nationals, 11 from Indonesia, six from Britain, and a reported 23 from the United States. Additional information continues to filter out, but as of now there are still many unanswered questions.

The tragic story of the Malaysian Airlines jet Flight 17 continues to dominate world headlines. It is a story in a state of flux, with new details surfacing each hour.
What is known is this: 298 innocent people are dead, with finger pointing on the part of Ukrainian government officials, who blame pro-Russian separatists in the eastern half of that country for the attack, the most recent in the five-month conflict.
In a statement aired today, Ukraines prime minister, Arseniy P. Yatsenyuk, asserted that Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 had been shot down by Russian-led terrorists, guilty of a crime against humanity.
Yatsenyuk pleaded with the international community help Ukraine to bring to justice all these bastards who committed this international crime.
Also at todays United Nations Security Council meeting, Ukraines United Nations ambassador, Yuriy Sergeyev, faulted separatist rebels for the crash, claiming they used antiaircraft missile technology supplied to terrorists from Russia.
At the same meeting,Samantha Power, the United States ambassador, decried the violence, saying the aircraft was likely downed by a surface-to-air missile, an SA-11, operated from a separatist-held location in eastern Ukraine.
Power also suggested that the advanced nature of the antiaircraft technology used to by terrorists to bring down the plane was likely operated by trained Russian military.
It is unlikely that the separatists could effectively operate the system without assistance from knowledgeable personnel, thus we cannot rule out technical assistance from Russian personnel in operating the systems, Power said.
Pro-Russian separatists deny shooting down the aircraft, although the Ukrainian government releasedThursdaywhat they describe as convincing evidence, in the form of exchanges between rebel forces in the east, with Russian military officials hours after the plane was brought down.
Translation of the audio provided by the English-languageKyiv Post, alleged the recording opens with a separatist rebel commander, Igor Belzer, telling Russian military officials We have just shot down a plane.
Further fanning the political flames, other reports, which surfacedThursday, cite a Donetsk commander, Igor Strelkov, who claimed online that he had downed a plane he thought was Ukrainian.
According to The Interpreter Magazine, a Russian-to-English translation journal, the commander described the incident saying, We warned them dont fly in our sky.
Theories also surfaced that the planes take down may have in fact been an accident.Kyiv Postexplains that phone calls from pro-separatists arriving at the scene express confusion upon discovering that the plane was a passenger aircraft. One particular caller details finding absolutely no weapons, instead civilian items, medical equipment, towels, and toilet paper.
Supporting this theory, Mike Morell, the former Deputy Director of the CIA told CBS News “I think what happened here was the separatists, who have shot down a couple of aircraft this week, believed they were targeting a Ukrainian military transport and they just made a mistake.”
Russian President Vladimir Putin, countering reports of Russian involvement, blamed Ukraine for the downed Boeing 777-200 aircraft.
Further, RIA Novosti, the official Russian news agency, reportedThursdaythat Russian President Putin spoke with the Malaysian prime minister, Najib Razak. Officials from the country also said that though flight safety over Ukraine was outside their responsibility, they sought active involvement the investigation.
Like so many stories of this magnitude, early reporting on this event was a confusing mix of messages. The BBC, VOA, CNN, and the Washington Post reported it as a rocket attack that led to a downed plane in Ukraines eastern half. However, the New York Times, Americas newspaper of record, reported it as an ordinary airplane crash.
Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 was a commercial passenger jet filled with mostly tourists, some scientists, educators, and analysts that started out from Amsterdam, in the Netherlands, bound for Malaysia. The passengers on board, according to the airline, included 154 people from the Netherlands, 27 Australians, 23 Malaysian nationals, 11 from Indonesia, six from Britain, and a reported 23 from the United States. Additional information continues to filter out, but as of now there are still many unanswered questions.
Malaysia was not the final destination for Flight 17. It was scheduled to continue on to Melbourne, Australia from the South Asian country.
Of note, at least 20 of those on board were to take part in the International Conference on AIDS in Melbourne, including members from the medical community who are experts on HIV/AIDS.
As in much of the rest of the world, the story of Flight 17 dominates the Australian press, withSaturdayset to be a national day of mourning across that country.
Across the globe, President Obama has both condemned the “outrage of unspeakable proportions” as well as expressed support for the Ukrainian government and security forces. I directed my national security team to stay in close contact with the Ukrainian government, Obama said. The United States will offer any assistance we can to determine what happened and why.
Echoing this, Malaysias prime minister, Najib Razak, said, We will find out precisely what happened to this flight. No stone will be left unturned, if it transpires that the plane was indeed shot down, we insist that the perpetrators must swiftly be brought to justice.”
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