After the tragedy of MH370 could it get any worse for Malaysian Airlines? Yes, in a word. One of their aircraft was today shot down by a Russian SA11 or SA17 surface-to-air missile over Eastern Ukraine. The Ukrainian separatists were even bragging about it on Twitter (they thought it was a military Il-76) and there has now been serious evidence of Russian officers involvement in the crime. The SA11 and SA17 were recently supplied to the Ukrainian separatists by Russia but such weapons are complex and you need to be trained to know to operate them. They are not shoulder-launched firecrackers but big, truck-launched missiles that are intended to bring down aircraft at 10+km altitude. They targeted innocent Malaysian MH17 and scored a direct hit. I hope they feel very proud of the devastation they have brought to the families of 295 innocent bystanders of their puerile conflict. But, exactly what great triumph have they achieved? A blow for Ukraine? A vote for Russia? A crime against humanity? Yes, that’s it.
It’s about time Russia was brought to account for these crimes that it has commissioned. War by proxy is dirty and demeaning; it demeans everyone involved in it. Mr Putin: Sort this matter out right now and retrieve something of a reputation. If you do not you will be heading into the same sewer as so many of your illustrious predescesors, Czars and dictators.