How long is it possible to conceal a war crime? On July 17th, 2014, Malaysia Airlines flight MH-17 was torn out of the sky while flying over eastern Ukraine. Immediate speculation pointed to a Soviet-designed missile system, and as the investigation into the cause of the crash continues, those early suspicions have been confirmed. Now that there's a rough consensus on what shot down the civilian plane, the argument has moved on to whom. Open-source intelligence analysts Bellingcat yesterday released a report linking that missile launch to Russia's 53rd Anti-Aircraft Missile Brigade.
Russia is not an easy neighbor for a country to have. In 2008 they invaded parts of nearby Georgia, protecting splinter republics that exist to this day. Last year, shortly after the Winter Olympics and a protest movement in Ukraine that drove out a Russian-aligned president, Russia seized the Crimean peninsula from Ukraine, and continues to funnel arms and fighters to separatists in Eastern Ukraine as they fight against the Ukrainian government. So it's perhaps no surprise that in little Estonia, which borders Russia on the east, a company named Terramil is making simple-to-install modular underground bomb shelters.
On July 17th, Malaysian Airlines flight MH-17 from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur fell out of the sky over eastern Ukraine. The crash killed everyone on board the plane, including 15 crew members and 283 passengers. Today, less than two months after the fact, the Dutch Safety Board published their preliminary investigation into the crash. Their findings strongly reinforce evidence that a sudden attack destroyed the plane in mid-air, sending it crashing into farmland in the middle of a civil war below.
Following the downing of Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 over separatist-held eastern Ukraine, Russian state-owned media started focusing a lot on a strange little plane. The Sukhoi Su-25 "Frogfoot" is a jet fighter from the late Cold War, designed to support ground troops from closer overhead, and in the MH17 tragedy, what the Su-25 can and can't do is a centerpiece of Russian denials.
On Thursday, July 18th, Malaysian Airlines flight MH-17 was struck by a missile. The United States believes the missile was a Soviet-designed Buk, and American infrared satellites pinpoint the location of that missile's launch to territory in Eastern Ukraine held by Russian-backed separatists. Is it possible that, while Cold War technology launched the missile, and modern technology identified where it was launched, future laser technology could shoot missiles out of the sky?
Earlier today, Malaysia Airlines flight MH-17, flying from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur, was shot down over Eastern Ukraine, killing all 295 people on board. Following Ukraine's ouster of Russian-backed President Viktor Yanukovich, and the subsequent seizure of Crimea from Ukraine by Russia, a violent and armed separatist movement emerged in Eastern Ukraine, centered around the city of Donetsk. These Donetsk rebels, with help from a certain foreign backer, have successfully shot down several Ukrainian military aircraft. Now, it looks like intentionally or not, they destroyed a civilian aircraft.