Investigation shows MH17 brought down by Russian missile, surprising nobody

Here’s one you probably didn’t see coming… unless you lived somewhere outside of Russia at least. A team of Dutch investigators has concluded an exhaustive investigation into the downing of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 a little more than two years ago and released their findings. In what will no doubt be shocking news, the Russian missile fired from a Russian missile launcher over a section of land being contested by the Russians may have had something to do with Russia. (NBC News)

The missile that downed Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 was fire from a Russian launcher in an area of Ukraine controlled by pro-Moscow rebels, a Dutch-led team of investigators and prosecutors said Wednesday.

The surface-to-air missile hit the Boeing 777 en route from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur killing 298 people in July 2014, breaking it apart in midair and scattering wreckage over several miles of fields.

At the time of the disaster, pro-Russian separatists were fighting Ukrainian government forces in the area.

Vladimir Putin will continue to deny this, of course, and why wouldn’t he? He needs to keep up appearances at home, and making out the Ukrainians as the bad guys is a sure fire winner in his domestic PR campaign. As for the rest of the world… not so much.

Where were the Ukrainian forces supposed to find a Buk missile launcher, to say nothing of a crew qualified to operate it? And if they’d gotten hold of one, the Russians would have made an issue of it before then and taken steps to either secure or destroy it. Add to that the mountain of evidence which was reported in global news sources throughout the aftermath of the incident. Local witnesses were posting pictures to social media of the equipment leaving Russia, going into the area under attack and then returning after the plane was shot down. Communications between Russian units were intercepted in which the movement of the launcher was discussed. How many clues did we really need?

Here’s the animation of the incident developed by the Dutch team. (NBC News)

The remaining question here is one of accountability. Will these results allow the family members of those lost in the crash to sue the Russian government for damages? (Keeping in mind that there was one American onboard.) I wouldn’t hold my breath over that one because paying out damages would be tantamount to an admission of guilt on Putin’s part. If history has taught us anything, that’s really not his style.