As Vladimir Putin blames Ukraine for shooting down the Malaysian Airliner and conspiracy theorists blame the Illuminati (all those “7s”: A Boeing 777, flight MH-17, on 7/17), the evidence is building that ethnic Russian amateurs were playing with the toys that Moscow had sent to them to disrupt the Ukrainian government.
Also, the Russian separatists who control the area of the crash have removed the bodies and some of the debris, reportedly including the plane’s “black box.” Video has also emerged of anti-aircraft missile batteries being driven back across the Russian border. One of them has a missile missing.
Among many other concerns: What if other terrorists get their hands on this technology? After the jump, details about the evidence.
From Anne Applebaum, The Malaysia Airlines crash is the end of Russia’s fairy tale – The Washington Post.
Into this ambiguous and unstable situation, the Russians cynically funneled a stream of heavy weapons: machine guns and artillery and, eventually, tanks, armed personnel carriers and anti-aircraft missiles. In recent days, the separatist forces were openly using man-portable air-defense systems (MANPADS) and boasting of having taken down large Ukrainian transport planes, clearly with Russian specialist assistance. Indeed, Strelkov on Thursday afternoon reportedly boasted online of having taken down another military plane before realizing that the plane in question was MH17. The blog post was removed. In late June, several different Russian media sources published photographs of Buk anti-aircraft missiles that they said had been captured by the separatists — though they were probably outright gifts from Russia. These posts have also been removed.
This is the context within which a surface-to-air missile was aimed at a passenger plane: a lawless environment; irregular soldiers who might not be so good at reading radar; a nihilistic disregard for human life; scorn for international norms, rules or standards. Just for the record: There weren’t any Ukrainian government-controlled anti-aircraft missiles in eastern Ukraine because the separatists were not flying airplanes.
The move of the bodies came amid continued finger-pointing over responsibility for the downing of the jet liner. Washington believes that Moscow supplied missile launchers to separatists in eastern Ukraine, q U.S. official said Saturday. U.S. intelligence was “starting to get indications . . . a little more than a week ago” that the Russian launchers had been moved into Ukraine, the official said.
In addition, he said attempts were made to move the missile launchers back across the Russian border after the jet liner crashed Thursday. “We do believe they were trying to move back into Russia at least three Buk [missile launch] systems,” the official said, speaking on the condition of anonymity to discuss intelligence matters.
The comments came as a top Ukrainian counterintelligence official said his service has conclusive proof that Russia supplied the missile that brought down Flight 17.
Vitaly Nayda, counterintelligence chief at Ukraine’s security service, offered photographs and said Ukraine has evidence of the movement of three Buk M-1 antiaircraft missile systems from rebel-held territory into Russia early Friday, less than 12 hours after the plane was downed. Ukrainian officials have said that a missile from a Buk M-1 launcher was used to shoot down the aircraft.
Two of the antiaircraft systems were spotted entering Russia from Ukraine at 2 a.m. Friday, Nayda said. One had its full complement of four missiles, but the other was missing a missile, he said.