All 298 people on board flight MH17 died when it crashed over the pro-Russian rebel-held area in eastern Ukraine on July 17. The good news is that CNN will have enough material for the next 3-6 months. The bad news is… everything else.
Since the tragedy, the US and other nations are growing increasingly suspicious of Russian complicity in the crash.
Secretary of State John Kerry said “it’s pretty clear” the missile that downed the commercial jetliner came from “a system that was transferred from Russia.”
As for Vladimir Putin, he pointed his finger at the pro-Western government in Ukraine, arguing Ukraine’s crackdown on separatist rebels stoked tensions that led to the disaster.
“I believe that if military operations had not resumed in eastern Ukraine on June 28, this tragedy probably could have been avoided,” Putin said, referring to the end of a 10-day-old cease-fire.
Interesting theory. And how can you not trust a guy who kills his political rivals?
Putin’s involvement aside, there has also been international outcry over the way rebels have handled the whole situation. Pro-Russian rebels have delayed access to the site, allowed untrained volunteers to comb through the area, and even seized the remains of MH17 victims and stored them in train cars, much to the dismay of the international community.
John Kerry said on television on Sunday, “Drunken separatists have been piling bodies into trucks and removing them from the site. What’s happening is really grotesque and it is contrary to everything President Putin and Russia said they would do.”
Pro-Russian rebels have since allowed Dutch investigators to examine bodies from the crashed MH17 flight at a railway station in eastern Ukraine, but internatonal investigators are still being denied full access to the wreckage at the accident site.
Meanwhile, heavy fighting broke out between the Ukrainian military and pro-Russian rebels on Monday – the first fight since Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 was shot down. Ukrainian military tanks reportedly launched an assault in Donetsk in an attempt to break the separatists’ hold of the city.
All in all, you know it’s a rough situation when it’s eclipsing an onslaught of Israeli air strikes and a (mainly civilian) Palestinian death toll of 500.