Michael MacKay, Radio Lemberg, 26.05.2018
Russia shot down Malaysian Airlines Flight 17. Putin murdered 298 people. The consequences for aggressor Russia and for the Putin regime of state terror must be severe. Sanctions on Russian individuals and entities responsible for this crime must be imposed. Russia must be declared a state sponsor of terrorism. Russia’s war against Ukraine must be called for what it is: a foreign invasion and a partial occupation by the Russian Federation of Ukraine.
The Joint Investigation Team (JIT), which is led by the Netherlands, is conducting a criminal inquiry into the crash on 17 July 2014 of Malaysian Airlines Flight 17 (MH17). The JIT had previously concluded that MH17 was shot down by a BUK missile. On May 24, the JIT announced that it is convinced that the BUK used to down MH17 originates from the 53rd Anti-Aircraft Missile Brigade, a unit of the Russian army from Kursk in the Russian Federation. Regular soldiers of the Russian army killed the passengers and crew of MH17 – not “pro-Russian separatists.”
On May 25, the governments of the Netherlands and Australia jointly announced that they are taking the step of formally holding Russia accountable for the unimaginable suffering caused by the downing of MH17. Holding Russia accountable for its part in the downing of MH17 on the basis of international law is a course of action the Netherlands and Australia are taking that is separate from the criminal investigation by the JIT and any prosecution and trial of the perpetrators that may result from it.
The open source intelligence group Bellingcat has been in the forefront of revealing the truth about what happened to MH17. Back in 2015 it was Bellingcat who demonstrated with exhaustive evidence that the perpetrators came from the Russian army’s 53rd Anti-Aircraft Missile Brigade. Bellingcat even revealed the identity of the BUK missile launcher (TELAR): it was BUK 332. On May 25, Bellingcat presented the results of a joint international open source investigation into the identity of one of the perpetrators of the downing of MH17 who is being sought by the JIT. The JIT is searching for a man known as ‘Andrey Ivanovich’ or ‘Orion.’ The Security Service of Ukraine has a phone intercept of ‘Orion’ saying “We already have a BUK – we’ll be shooting them down to hell” in a conversation recorded on 14 July 2014, three days before MH17 was shot down. Bellingcat’s investigation has established that ‘Orion’ is in fact Russian citizen Oleg Vladimirovich Ivannikov, born on 2 April 1967. At the time of the downing of MH17, Oleg Ivannikov was an officer of the Main Directorate of the General Staff of the Russian Ministry of Defence (GRU), and he served in that role until at least September 2017. Oleg Ivannikov is the same person as ‘Andrey Ivanovich Laptev’ who ran a covert operation for the Russian intelligence services to serve as a so-called ‘senior government official’ in the in the proxy statelet created in Tskhinvali Region, a part of Georgia that Russia has invaded. The Russian invasion of Georgia ties to the Russian invasion of Ukraine which ties to the Russian downing of MH17 through the person of Oleg Ivannikov.
Russia is a state sponsor of terrorism. The Russian army deliberately shot down an aircraft that turned out to be a passenger airliner with 298 people aboard. The Russian army did this from territory in Ukraine which it had invaded and occupied. Furthermore, Russia’s intelligence services created terrorist organizations as a front to try to disguise the invasion of Ukraine by foreign Muscovy as a ‘conflict in Ukraine.’ Russia created the so-called “Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR)” and “Luhansk People’s Republic (LPR)” to be the propaganda face of Putin’s war against Ukraine and to terrorize the Ukrainian population in the part of Donbas the Russian army occupies. For shooting down MH17 and for being the evil behind the “DPR” and the “LPR,” Russia must be declared a state sponsor of terrorism by every civilized Western country.
The Western mainstream press is largely ignoring Russia’s invasion of Europe in Ukraine. When they do report it, they present Kremlin propaganda as if it were the truth. That is how the fake news about “pro-Russian separatists” came about. In the course of Russia’s invasion of Crimea and Donbas, Kremlin propaganda went to great efforts to keep the Russian army in the background, and to put Crimean and Donbas criminal elements forward as the face of the ‘conflict in Ukraine.’ Western media were dead wrong about MH17, reporting the BUK missile as being fired by “pro-Russian separatists” and also reporting numerous other Kremlin lies as alternate theories of how MH17 crashed. The mainstream press should be ashamed for having served Russian information warfare against Ukraine for over four years. This must come to an end with the conclusive demonstration this week that Russia shot down MH17. Any media outlet that refers to Russian armed forces in eastern Ukraine as “pro-Russian separatists” must be considered an agent of Kremlin propaganda. Any media outlet that refers to the part of eastern Ukraine that Russia has invaded and temporarily occupies as “rebel-held territory” must be considered an agent of Kremlin propaganda.
Russia should have been severely sanctioned and declared a state sponsor of terrorism from the moment it invaded Ukraine on 20 February 2014. Instead, tepid sanctions were imposed on some minor Russian individuals and entities. Even those have been violated by greedy and immoral war profiteers, who are doing business in Russian-occupied Crimea and forging ahead with Gazprom’s Nord Stream 2 scheme to finance Putin’s War. The conclusion that regular armed forces of the Russian Federation shot down MH17 should lead to action: severe economic sanctions on Russia; declare Russia a state sponsor of terrorism; declare the war in Ukraine to be an international conflict and Russia to be the aggressor; declare Crimea and part of Donbas to be territories of Ukraine under temporary Russian occupation. It has been over four years since Russia invaded Ukraine. It is well past time to stop Russian aggression. It is well past time to stop Putin’s War.