20 Years of Leading Analysis
 

Malaysia and Ukraine

Posted by: 2 Print Page

The downing of the Malaysia Airlines MH17 plane on Thursday over Eastern Ukraine catapults the crisis there onto the global plane. Nationals of several countries, more than half of them Dutch, are among the victims. The UN Security Council will meet in New York. An international investigation has been called for. The story dominates television news all over the world.

Given the realities of continued fighting on the ground, and the very high political stakes involved, the investigation will not prove easy. Yet, even before it has started in earnest, accusations have been made. The most widely discussed scenario in the global media is the downing of the plane by the Donetsk insurgents.

The story gaining the most traction boils down to this: after the Kiev government had moved massively against the separatists, and drove them out of their stronghold in Slavyansk, Russia stepped up cross-border supplies of heavy armaments to the insurgents, in an effort to restore the balance. This has since resulted in the downing of several Ukrainian military aircraft. The Malaysian Boeing, the conclusion is, was shot by the rebels, and by mistake.

Publicly, President Poroshenko has already blamed the Russia-supported separatists, and President Putin has put the blame on the Ukrainian government's resumption of the military operation in the east of the country. Actually, these statements may be less contradictory than they appear, but this is small comfort. Whatever the final result of the investigation, Russia is likely to face a major political and media campaign reminiscent of the 1983 shooting of the Korean Air Lines off Sakhalin island, which ushered in the most dangerous period of the Cold War after the Cuban missile crisis.

The coming UNSC debate is likely to be emotional, and acrimonious. The US Congress may press President Obama to ramp up the sanctions which he had only announced less than 24 hours before the MH17 tragedy. The daylight between the United States and the EU approaches to anti-Russian sanctions may narrow. Russia's outreach to Asia beyond China may be compromised. This will put Moscow in a difficult spot, and prompt a reaction on its part.

The only sensible step now would be to stop the fighting in Ukraine immediately and begin a political process, under the OSCE auspices and led by the Contact Group. The tragic and sudden loss of so many innocent lives should put a final point to the armed conflict. Or it may put the international conflict over Ukraine on a much higher and more dangerous level. The choice is still to be made, but the time is running out fast.

 

Comments (2)

 
 
  • Georgios
    If "The Malaysian Boeing, the conclusion is, was shot by the rebels, and by mistake." is the case then we have to ask ourselves the following:
    Who gave the right to Putin to kill around 300 innocent people?

    It is the same question that Putin asked NATO when Libyan rebels killed Gaddafi
     
     
    Reply to this post

     
    Close Panel
  • walterasgbenjamin
    "The only sensible step now would be to stop the fighting in Ukraine immediately and begin a political process, under the OSCE auspices and led by the Contact Group"
    Let see after 6 days , it is exactly the opposite that Putin has chosen: he is sending more mercenaries and equipment toUkraine. He has probably ordered the shutdown at 6,000 meters flight high of two Ukrainian fighters jets from Russia - just 6 days after the shutdown of the Malaysian airline - in exactly the same area.

    Dmitri as usual you forget one thing: the Ukrainian citizens, the Ukrainian people. They are in war against Russia. They fight for their freedoms and their goals are very simply to understand : to become member of EU and NATO. Which means the total opposite goals of Putin! Then there will be no negotiation , only war. Because Russia could not occupied all Ukraine - then Russia could not invade Ukraine - but only send 20,000 mercenaries, Russia has lost because you don't negotiate with the simple reason that you have mercenaries in place - in fine the majority of the Ukrainian citizens will reject them - even in the East of Ukraine.
     
     
    Reply to this post

     
    Close Panel
 
Carnegie Moscow Center
 
16/2 Tverskaya Moscow, 125009 Russia
Phone: +7 495 935-8904 Fax: +7 495 935-8906
Please note...

You are leaving the Carnegie–Tsinghua Center for Global Policy's website and entering another Carnegie global site.

请注意...

你将离开清华—卡内基中心网站,进入卡内基其他全球中心的网站。