Not too long ago the world was shocked by a disaster in the Ukrainian air. Flight MH17 was shot down by a rocket from the battlefield in the Donetsk province in Ukraine. A what seemed to be safe airspace wasn”t as safe as predicted. For many people in the west, especially in the Netherlands, this was the last straw and the sanctions on Russia were taken up a notch. Although the investigation of this crash was still ongoing, people started blaming Russia for this disaster and to this day 79% still does (nu.nl (juli 2015a). Was Russia simply an easy target to blame for all this, or is there more to this accusation? What were the factor leading to this accusation?
It all started even before the investigation. Many rumored the plain was shot down with a rocket launched from the territory of Pro-Russian seperatists in Ukraine. This raises the question if Russia really did not have anything to do with this as chances are the rocket was launched by Russian allies. Not to long after the crash the US government issued a statement in which they adressed Russia as the manufacturer of the rocket that shot the MH17 (nu.nl (2014a)). Although they later issued a statement saying no Russian could have been present at the time of launch (nu.nl(2014b)), they sparked the anger in the homelands of the passengers of MH17.
Another reason for concern in this process turned up when the news that the researchers did not feel safe at all in at the crash site, leading to them returning home due to safety issues (nu.nl(2014c)) & (nu.nl(2014d)). In the Dutch parliament this became a urgent issue on the agenda and so the Dutch people felt the Pro-Russian seperatists and with them the Russians were hindering the investigation.
Besides all this, Russia has been criticising the whole investigation since the beginning (nu.nl (2014e) & (nu.nl(2014f) & (nu.nl(2015b)), eventually even blocking a UN -resolution that called for a MH17 tribunal (nu.nl(2015c). This lead to much suspicion and many people wondered why Russia would do so much effort to intervene in this investigation.
The next step in generating the now common suspicion toward Russia in this perticular case happenend april 2015. The Ukrainian intelligence agencies claimed they recognised an Russian ex-military officer in the eveidence presented in the MH17 crash. This military officer supposedly left the Russian army in 2014 to join the cause of the Urkainian seperatists (nu.nl (2015d). Many see this as a conformation Russia has much to do with this crash as they believe, due to the reasons presented higher up in this article, Russia still has ties with this ex-military officer and think he is there under the command of Russia.
Finally in October 2015 the Dutch investigation board for safety (OVV) published a report as a result of the investigations of the MH17 which stated the following: The plane was indeed shot down by a BUK-Rocket (nu.nl(2015e)). In later interviews with the director of the OVV he stated the BUK-rocket was fored from seperatist-controlled land (nu.nl(2015f)). This lead many, including several governments, to the conclusion the seperatists did fire the rocket. According a study from the US (Kellman(2014) , this perticular BUK-rocket was very likely of Russian manufacturer. It had to be either imported from Russia by Russians, or it had to be stolen. According to the authors of this study it is far more likely it was given to them by the Russians and according to this studiy the Russians are to blame for this disaster. They are however somewhat biased in my opinion.
In summary, it is not at all weird Russia ins blamed for this crash, though many of the media was very biased as it was a true national disaster in the Netherlands and every small thing was blown up to epic proportions, many of them pointing out Russia was to blame. Whether or not Russia really is to blame has not been proven yet in my opinion, although their some to be some evidence for that conclusion.
Kellmann, B.(2014). MH17 and the threat to Aviation. Asil Insights. Vol. 18(19) Available at: http://www.asil.org/insights/volume/18/issue/19/mh17-and-missile-threat-aviation. Viewed on 18 October 2015
nu.nl (2014a). Rusland Leverde Raketsysteem waarmee MH17 is neergehaald. Available at: http://www.nu.nl/algemeen/3832863/rusland-leverde-raketsysteem-waarmee-mh17-neergehaald.html .
nu.nl (2014b). Neerschieten MH17 gebeurde zonder Rusland. Available at: http://www.nu.nl/algemeen/3834973/neerschieten-mh17-gebeurde-zonder-rusland.html . Viewed on [18 October 2015]
nu.nl (2014c). Onderzoeksteam keek bewust niet naar oorzaak MH17. Available at: http://www.nu.nl/algemeen/3850026/onderzoeksteam-keek-bewust-niet-oorzaak-mh17.html . Viewed on [18 october 2015]
nu.nl (2014d). Forensisch experts niet naar rampplek MH17. Available at: http://www.nu.nl/algemeen/3838396/forensische-experts-niet-rampplek-mh17.html . Viewed on [18 October 2015]
nu.nl (2014e). Rusland vindt onderzoek naar vliegramp MH17 niet transparant. Available at http://www.nu.nl/algemeen/4001536/rusland-vindt-onderzoek-vliegramp-mh17-niet-transparant.html . Viewed on [18 October 2015]
nu.nl (2014f). Chronologie van de MH17-ramp in Oost-Oekraine. Available at: http://www.nu.nl/vliegramp-oekraine/3833579/chronologie-van-mh17-ramp-in-oost-oekraine.html . Viewed on [18 October 2015]
nu.nl (2015a). Meeste Nederlanders houden Rusland verantwoordelijk voor MH17. Available at: http://www.nu.nl/algemeen/4099337/meeste-nederlanders-houden-rusland-verantwoordelijk-mh17.html . Viewed on [18 October 2015]
nu.nl (2015b). Poetin noemt oproep trubunaal ‘contraproductief’. Available at: http://www.nu.nl/algemeen/4089393/poetin-noemt-oproep-tribunaal-mh17-contraproductief.html . Viewed on [18 October 2015]
nu.nl (2015c). Rusland blokkeert MH17 tribunaal in Veiligheidsraad. Available at: http://www.nu.nl/algemeen/4097495/rusland-blokkeert-mh17-tribunaal-in-veiligheidsraad.html . Viewed on: [18 October 2015]
nu.nl (2015d) Russische ex-officier herkend op opname van OM over MH17. Available at: http://www.nu.nl/algemeen/4023132/russische-ex-officier-herkend-opname-van-mh17.html . Viewed on [18 October 2015]
nu.nl (2015e). Conclusies van de Onderzoeksraad over ramp MH17. Available at: http://www.nu.nl/selectie/4144508/conclusies-van-onderzoeksraad-ramp-mh17.html . Viewed on [18 October 2015]
nu.nl (2015f). Voorzitter OVV stelt dat BUK-raket uit pro-Russisch gebied kwam. Available at: http://www.nu.nl/vliegramp-oekraine/4144667/voorzitter-ovv-stelt-buk-raket-pro-russisch-gebied-kwam.html . Viewed on: [18 October 2015]