Following the July 17th crash of Malaysian Air Flight MH 17 over the Donetsk region in southeastern Ukraine, pressure is building on Russian President Vladimir Putin to reign in the pro-Russian separatists that are believed by a growing body of world leaders to have shot down flight MH17 by means of BUK-M surface to air missile weapon with sophisticated technical support coming from Russia.
Although pro-Russian separatists in Ukraine deny taking responsibility for the downing of flight MH-17 and claim that Ukraine’s military shot down flight MH 17 because they thought it was a Russian spy plane, military experts believe that the Russian made radar guided BUK-M weapon, also known as SA-11 Gadfly, was witnessed being used by pro-Russian separatists earlier in the week in the same separatists controlled region when they shot down a Ukrainian cargo plane and has the capability to strike down Malaysian Air Flight MH 17 from its cruising altitude of 33,000 feet.
The separatists’ theory about Ukraine’s military shooting down flight MH 17, thinking it was a Russian spy jet, doesn’t seem plausible since the flight originated from the Netherlands in the west and didn’t follow a flight path through Russia.
Moreover, a large Boeing 777 commercial jet is rarely mistaken for a spy plane.
Vitaliy Nayda, a Ukraine state security official, said today in Kiev that pro-Russian separatists had at least 3 BUK-M weapons in their possession last week.
UK Prime Minister David Cameron’s office said in a statement that both the UK and Netherlands will take a closer look how their two countries approach Russia following the crash of Malaysian Air flight MH-7.
“The PM and PM Rutte agreed that the EU will need to reconsider its approach to Russia in light of evidence that pro-Russian separatists brought down the plane” PM Cameron’s statement reads.
Since the Malaysian Air plane crash over Ukraine on July 17th, pro-Russian separatists have been witnessed blocking access to the plane wreckage for investigators.
Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte told journalists on Saturday that President Putin must now take responsibility after pro-Russian separatists have blocked access to the crash site.
Russian President Vladimir Putin recently encouraged the armed separatists to cooperate with investigators.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry held a phone call with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Saturday and the two leaders pressed for investigators to gain full access to the crash site.
Kerry and Lavrov also encouraged the two sides in Ukraine to work closer towards achieving the goals of a April 17th diplomatic meeting in Geneva aimed at ending the armed conflict in Ukraine.
A statement from the April 17th Geneva meeting states that the parties would refrain from “violence, intimidation, or provocative actions” and that all “illegal armed groups will be disarmed.”
The statement further reads: “All illegal armed groups must be disarmed; all illegally seized buildings must be returned to legitimate owners; all illegally occupied streets, squares and other public places in Ukrainian cities and towns must be vacated.”
Yesterday President Obama made a case for ending the conflict in Ukraine through supporting a pathway to peace originated by the Ukrainian government.
Obama said yesterday during a White House press conference, “I think it’s important for us to recognize that this outrageous event underscores that it is time for peace and security to be restored in Ukraine. For months, we’ve supported a pathway to peace, and the Ukrainian government has reached out to all Ukrainians, put forward a peace plan, and lived up to a cease-fire, despite repeated violations by the separatists — violations that took the lives of Ukrainian soldiers and personnel.”