Russian President Vladimir Putin is blaming the Ukraine for the Malaysian plane shot down, but the separatists are largely pro-Russian. To make Putin’s claim even more idiotic is the fact that there is a recording between a separatist and a Russian major shows that there was a recognition that they shot a passenger plane down, thinking it was a military plane.
Among the dead are 154 Dutch nationals, 45 Malaysians (including 15 crew members), 27 Australians, 12 Indonesians, nine Britons, four Germans, four Belgians, three Filipinos and one Canadian. There are 41 passengers whose nationalities have not been disclosed.
Over the last couple of months, pro-Russian separatists have been downing Ukrainian military planes with increasing regularity—and mounting casualties on the Ukrainian side. Just earlier Thursday, separatists had shot down another one. All of that seemed to undermine the narrative, propagated by the Kremlin, that the separatists were just a ragtag people’s militia who didn’t stand a chance against a proper, organized military. The constant downing of Ukrainian jets showed that these men were equipped with some pretty serious stuff: You can’t really shoot down a jet with a Kalashnikov.
And, in fact, Russian a state media report from late June indicates the rebels got a hold of a Buk missile system, a Russian/Soviet surface-to-air missile system. Rebels are now denying that they shot down the plane, but there are now screenshots floating around the Russian-language internet from what seems to be the Facebook page of Igor Strelkov, a rebel leader in eastern Ukraine, showing plumes of smoke and bragging about shooting down a Ukrainian military Antonov plane shortly before MH17 fell. “Don’t fly in our skies,” he reportedly wrote. If that’s true, it would seem rebels downed the jetliner, having mistaken it for a Ukrainian military jet. Source: New Republic
Radio Free Europe reports that the social media site purportedly belonging to a separatist leader claimed the insurgents had shot down an aircraft. That came before reports surfaced that the Malaysian jet had crashed in eastern Ukraine.
In a post on VKontakte, Russia’s largest social media site, which has since been taken down, separatist leader Igor Girkin, aka Strelkov, wrote: “In the vicinity of Torez, we just downed a plane, an AN-26. It is lying somewhere in the Progress Mine. We have issued warnings not to fly in our airspace. We have video confirming. The bird fell on a waste heap. Residential areas were not hit. Civilians were not injured.”
Vladimir Putin may not have supplied this missile but he bears some culpability for the mess that is unfolding daily on the Ukrainian border. This plane crash should be a game-changer, since there were foreign nationals on-board. There are also unconfirmed reports that there were Americans on board.