Ukraine’s government says that rebels sponsored by Russia are responsible for the shooting down of Malaysian Flight MH17, the airplane that crashed in the Donetsk region of the crisis region earlier today killing at least 295 people. The missile system used in the shooting down of flight MH17 is a Soviet or Russian Federation design that is held in significant number used by the Ukrainian military.
The editor of Interpreter Magazine, James Miller, pointed to an obscure news story from late June concerning a missile system like the one that caused today’s tragedy. According to a Russian report militias in the Donetsk region captured a Buk Surface to Air Missile system at the end of June.
Buk Surface Missile system lost to militia
According to the report, which is dated June 29, 2014, the militias that captured the Buk SAM system were stationed around Donetsk. If the militias did in fact manage to get their hands on the complex piece of military technology, this morning’s incident may have been an accident based on an inability to used the weapon properly.
Militias in the area have been fighting for the Donetsk People’s Republic, a self-proclaimed state that is seeking to separate itself from the Ukraine. Ukrainian armed forces have, at the same time been trying to reintegrate the parts of the country that have, in all practicality, ceased to operate under the rule of the central government.
The role of the Russian government in the conflict is controversial Since that country’s annexation of the Crimea began in the first quarter of this year, rumors have circulated about its involvement in the military supply of the rebels in the eastern regions of Ukraine, particularly Donetsk and Luhansk.
If those claiming that the Russian government is supplying Ukrainian rebels are right, they may have handed over the SAM device for use on Ukrainian planes and planted a report of its capture in order to prevent substantiated accusations of military supply.
Flight MH17: Governments refuse to close airspace
Malaysian Flight MH17, which was reported missing by the airline earlier today, was shot down by a BUK Surface to Air Missile, or SAM, according to several news agencies. The crash caused the deaths of the 280 passengers and 15 members of the crew that boarded the plane in Amsterdam. The plane was on its way toward Malaysia, with its flight schedule promising a landing in Kuala Lumup at 06:10 local time.
Despite the conflict that has been going on in the east of Ukraine for the last few months, and the number of aircraft that have been reported shot down in the country’s aircraft in recent weeks, no move was made to close off the country’s airspace to international commercial flights.
Apart from the various missile attacks that Ukraine has reported on its planes, the country’s government said earlier today that the Russian Air Force had shot down one of its jets over Ukrainian territory. The involvement of Russia in Ukraine’s air space, and the possibility that it supplied rebels with a Buk SAM system, may dominate conversations about the tragedy.