We’re watching a tragedy unfurl in the far east of Ukraine as news becomes available of the crash of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17. It appears that all 295 people on board have been killed.
The Wall Street Journal is reporting that US intelligence sources claim that a ground-to-air missile brought down the aircraft. If these reports are confirmed, we can be fairly sure that those sources already know the location from which the missile was fired. Its launch signature was almost certainly plotted by satellites monitoring the ongoing civil war in the region. I doubt very much that it was Ukraine that fired the missile, as it has never yet used ground-to-air missiles – there haven’t been any suitable targets for them, as the separatists don’t have their own aircraft. I’d say the odds are more in favor of this being a missile fired by either Russian forces, or by Donetsk separatists (who were seen by Associated Press journalists to be in possession of at least one Buk missile system a couple of days ago – what’s more, near where the airliner is reported to have crashed). A separatist Web site also published claims (since taken down) that suggest their involvement. Finally, the fact that the plane’s flight recorders have allegedly been sent to Moscow seems like an attempt at a cover-up. After all, the investigation is supposed to be conducted by the nation in which the wreckage falls – and that wasn’t inside Russia. One wonders whether the data recorders will be examined for any evidence of Russian or separatist involvement, and any such evidence deleted before – if ever – they’re returned to more appropriate authorities.
This might be the trigger to a major upsurge of hostilities in the region, both military and economic. The consequences might extend far beyond the location of the tragedy, affecting all of Europe and the entire Russian sphere of influence – and possibly the entire world. While we pray for the souls of those who’ve died, let’s also pray for what peace may still be had there. It’s going to be a very worrying few days as the details emerge.