295 people died today in an airplane crash in Eastern Ukraine. Malaysia Airlines MH17 crashed in the Donetsk region of the conflict torn country on Thursday afternoon. Reuters is now reporting that the airplane was, in fact, shot down by a Buk ground-to-air missile, meaning that the attack was probably intentional, though it’s not clear what motive may have brought on the assault.
The aircraft was shot down just 20 miles away from the Russian border as it made its way from Amsterdam in the Netherlands to Malaysia’s Kuala Lumpur. Ukrainian security forces are fighting pro-Russian rebels in the area today, and that conflict may be the source of the missile which caused the tragedy.
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Ukraine accuses along partisan lines
According to Zero-Hedge, both sides in the Ukrainian conflict have already denied involvement in the death of the 295 people. The Ukrainian government is blaming the rebels for the disaster, while rebel groups have outright denied involvements in the tragedy. Violence between rebel groups and the Ukrainian government has been continuing for months.
As both sides accuse each other, the international community, and news media, is becoming restless. The blame game, which will at some point give way to an official investigation into the circumstances surrounding the crash, has already begun, even though there is no clear answer to where the missile that shot down the Malaysian Airline flight MH17 came from.
Russian missile takes down Malaysian Airlines’ plane
The Buk ground-to-air missile is a Russian design, first used by the Soviet Union during the Cold War. The weapon is used on a mobile SAM vehicle. Several types of those weapons have ended up in Ukranian hands over the years, in the wake of the collapse of the Soviet Union and various arms deals in the last two decades. That means that the missile used in this morning’s attack will be extremely difficult to track to an assailant.
Both sides in Ukraine’s conflict have access to the kind of weapon used to take down the Boeing, but recent incidents have involved the country’s separatist rebels. It is unclear, because of Ukrainian military secrecy, what kind of missiles were used in the recent shooting down of a transport plane belonging to the country’s central government.
On Monday the Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko warned that “In the last three days, Ukraine’s armed forces have been attacked with Russian multiple-rocket launchers,”
The conflict in the Ukraine has already taken many lives but this, a clear indication of the effect of the violence on the rest of the world, may be the most savage tragedy yet. The 295 people that died in this morning’s attack included 280 passengers and 15 crew that had nothing to do with the conflict in the country.