This is pretty significant news. In July 2014, a Malaysia Airlines 777-200 crashed while enroute from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur, killing all 298 people onboard. This left the world in shock, not just because it appeared that the plane was shot down, but also because this was the second Malaysia 777 to crash in a matter of months.
It’s a shame that nearly 300 innocent peoples’ lives were taken, yet no one has been held accountable. Up until now, one of the prevailing theories has been that Russia supplied the missiles that shot down MH17 to a rebel group near the border between Russia & Ukraine. However, it looks like Russia’s involvement was more direct than that.
Today a press conference was held in Utrecht, where a Dutch official that was part of the Joint Investigation Team (JIT) shared their conclusion, after years of investigating. Specifically, they found that MH17 was shot down directly by Russian armed forces in rebel-held territory in Ukraine. Per BBC:
“All the vehicles in a convoy carrying the missile were part of the Russian armed forces.”
He restated the JIT’s conclusion that the plane had been destroyed by a Russian-made Buk missile, adding that it had been supplied by the country’s 53rd anti-aircraft brigade in Kursk.
At a news conference in the Dutch city of Utrecht, the investigators also showed social media pictures which they said traced the route the missile convoy had taken to reach eastern Ukraine.
While Russia supplying the weapons would be bad enough, the fact that it was directly the Russian armed forces that brought down a civilian plane operating an international flight is major. Not surprisingly, Russia has repeatedly denied that their forces were involved in any way in this incident. In 2016 a Kremlin spokesperson said “We cannot accept as final truth of what they say. I bet you haven’t seen any proof.”
This is a level of international politics that’s above my pay grade, so I’m not sure what exactly happens from here. Isn’t this an act of war, or something? A country’s armed forces shot down a plane carrying nearly 300 innocent civilians. Shouldn’t there be some accountability here for the lives that were lost? This is just so tragic. It’s bad enough to lose loved ones in an accident like this, it must be even worse to feel like there has been no justice.
Then again, with how tense relations already are with Russia, I worry what the end result would be here if trying to “do the right thing” and hold the groups who shot down this plane accountable.
What do you make of these findings, and do you think there will be any accountability here?