LATEST UPDATE 19 JULY 2014 08:13 UTC (09:13 Amsterdam time) | The shoot down of the Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777-200ER, flight MH17, on 17 July 2014 by apparently pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine backed by and supplied with arms by mighty Russia has gotten the Western world furious with the Russian president. Not only did Mr. Vladimir Putin blame the Ukrainian government indirectly for the disaster that killed 298 innocent air travellers and crew, many Western leaders feel that the Kremlin doesn’t do jack-squat to help stabilise the military-political-social conflict that is plaguing its once huge friend Ukraine.
While Dutch prime minister Mr. Mark Rutte, 194 passengers on board are from the Netherlands, initially keeps things balanced by emphasizing there is a need for a thorough investigation of the causes of the MH17 crash, responsible Minister of Security and Justice Mr. Ivo Opstelten on Friday 18 July 2014 admits that also the Hague thinks that the airliner was shot down by a missile, basing his statement on information provided by the Dutch (and foreign) intelligence services. Despite some uncertainty whether the Russian made Novator 9K37 Buk (9К37 Бук in Russian, NATO reporting name SA-11 Gadfly) had (in)directly supplied by Russia to the pro-Russian separatists or that even Russian military personnel was involved, Australian prime minister Mr. Tony Abbott put much of the blame on the Kremlin leadership.
Speaking on Melbourne radio station 3AW Mr. Abbott says: “This is no light thing. This is not something that can just be dismissed as a tragic accident when you have Russian proxies using Russian-supplied equipment to do terrible things – if in fact this is what turns out to have been the case.” At least 27 Australians were on board flight MH17.
The Buk/SA-11 surface-to-air missile (SAM) in question – that has according to several sources been used – is a much advanced and heavy radar-guided weapon, normally fielded as a trio or quartet of missiles on top of chassis that is also used as base for main battle tanks (MBT) or heavy armoured troop carriers, but can be mounted on a static earth-bound launcher as well. The system used against the Malaysia Airlines flight was apparently mounted on top a MBT chassis. According to Ukrainian intelligence sources – supported by a released photo – the vehicle was smuggled on a long trailer pulled by a white truck into Russia the night after it shot down the airliner.
Depending on the version of the Buk the missile can kill any airplane within 2 to 31 miles (3 – 50 km) from its launching point, meaning no passing plane is safe with about a 90 percent hit probability if no counter-measures are deployed. Commercial airliners normally fly between 30,000 and 34,000 feet or 5.5 to 6.5 miles (roughly 9 – 10.5 km) and have nothing to protect themselves against SAMs like many military aircraft have with flares, chaff and electronic countermeasures.
US White House
While the US White House has been criticising Russia’s support and wants Russian president Putin to take “concrete steps” to ease tensions, former US Secretary of State was more outspoken. “Action is needed to put Putin on notice that he has gone too fare and we are not going to stand idle by”, she said in an interview with US PBS television. US intelligence sources on Friday confirmed that the aircraft was shot down by a missile most likely fired by pro-Russian separatists.
Malaysian president, Mr. Najib Razak, said to journalist on Thursday that any wrongdoers must be held responsible.
Directly after the crash on Twitter and the Russian Facebook equivalent VK people known to be part of the pro-Russian separatists including their supposedly “defence minister” quickly claimed they just shot down an Ukrainian Air Force AN-26 in the area where flight MH17 was hit. The posts have later been removed, but being a relatively small and relatively slow moving two-engine propeller plane the Antonov AN-26 (NATO-name Curl) is by no means similar to the large fast jet airliner like the Boeing 777 in question. Over the last few months the Ukrainian military lost ten of its airplanes and helicopters – including three transport aircraft – to hostile fire while operating over Eastern Ukraine.
Meanwhile Ukrainian Foreign Minister Mr. Pavlo Klimkin on Friday 18 July ruled out that flight MH17 was shot down by an Ukrainian weapon. “Our forces did not have such missiles in the area, nor have they been seized from us by others.” Although all sides are actively practicing propaganda, if Klimkins statement holds there can only be one source of the Buk/SA-11 that eye-witnesses reportedly have seen amongst pro-Russian separatists and that is a supplier on the other side of the border, inside mighty Russia.
© 2014 Airheadsfly.com editor Marcel Burger