By Paul Roderick Gregory,
Around 4:20 pm, a Malaysian 777 carrying 295 passengers and crew disappeared over east Ukrainian air space a few miles from the Russian border. It disappeared in virtually the same location as the Ukrainian military transport AN-26 shot down by a missile a few days before.
The social website of the self-appointed military commander, Colonel Igor Strelkov, of the self-proclaimed Peoples Republic of Donetsk, first celebrated the downing of the plane with the following 5:07 pm announcement on the Strelkov web site (see image):
â€œIn the Torez region, they have destroyed an AN-26 transport plane. Its wreckage landed near the â€˜Progressâ€™ mine. This will teach them: Do not fly in â€˜our skies.â€™ And here is the video confirming the â€˜crash of the bird.â€™ The bird fell on open fields. It did not damage inhabited sectors. Peaceful people did not suffer. And there is information about a second destroyed plane, looks like a SU.â€ (With widespread wreckage perhaps those on the scene thought they had shot two for one?).
Shortly thereafter, the Strelkov website issued an announcement with capitalized letters: ATTENTION. This announcement declared that the news of the downing of the AN-26 was not official but came from residents and militia members on the scene. The only official announcements are published under the banner: Strelkov INFORMS. In other words, Strelkov asks his readers to forget the earlier announcement of the successful downing of a fascist Ukrainian plane.
Ukraine intelligence services intercepted a series of purported phone calls (available on You Tube) from officers of the separatists to their superiors.
I provide only excerpts. Readers can listen to the You Tube with English translation.
The first call, from field commander â€œBes (Demon)â€ to Russian military intelligence colonel, Vasiliy Geranin, reported that a plane had been downed some 15 minutes earlier. Bes did not know the details but his people were going to photograph the site.
â€œMajorâ€ then reported to â€œGrekâ€ at 5:32 pm that the plane had been destroyed by â€œKazaksâ€ at the check point Chernukhino and that the wreckage was that of a civilian plane, with a catering kitchen, bodies, chairs, documents. When asked whether the plane carried weapons, the answer was â€œno weapons.â€
The third call at 5:42 from â€œWarriorâ€ to â€œKozitsin,â€ â€œWarriorâ€ confirmed that it was a civilian plane, although the downed plane had earlier been called an AN-26 transport, that there was â€œa sea of bodiesâ€ of women and children and Indonesian university students, and was marked as an civilian Malaysian carrier. â€œKozitsinâ€ showed little concern and declared â€œthe plane must have carried spies. We are in a war after all.â€
The story that Russian mercenaries shot down the 777 by mistake makes complete sense. It appears to be confirmed by the commanding separatist officers and by those on the ground. It shows the shift in mood from celebration to foreboding as they learn they had killed hundreds of civilians.
As to the availability of Buk missiles at check points like Chernukhino, the Associated Press reported that a similar launcher was seen by its journalists near the eastern Ukrainian town of Snizhne earlier Thursday. The Buk missile system can fire missiles up to an altitude of 22,000 meters (72,000 feet).
In its July assessment, the state department warned that Russia continues to accumulate significant amounts of equipment at a deployment site in southwest Russia. This equipment includes tanks of a type no longer used by the Russian military, as well as armored vehicles, multiple rocket launchers, artillery, and air defense systemsâ€¦.More advanced air defense systems have also arrived at this site. The state department warned that: â€œWe are concerned much of this equipment will be transferred to separatists, as we are confident Russia has already delivered tanks and multiple rocket launchers to them from this site.â€
The Telegraph reports that Ukraine will present evidence of Russian military involvement in the Malaysian Air 777 crash. The military leader of the terrorists Igor Girkin (Strelkov) commented directly after the plane crash, believing that it was a Ukrainian jet that had been destroyed. As noted above, he later attempted to retract his earlier statement. Per The Telegraph, the Associated Press is reporting that one of its journalists saw a launcher that resembled a Russian BUK systemâ€”the kind that Ukrainian government says carried out the strikeâ€” in the vicinity.
Putinâ€™s propaganda machine will launch a furious effort to blame Ukraine, the CIA, the U.S. State Department, or dark forces that have it in for Malaysian Airlines. It will find many conspiracy buffs to support its wild yarns. However, the true story is simple: The Russian mercenaries, having celebrated their downing of two Ukrainian air force planes, were ready for another triumph. They set their radar sights on an incoming plan which they assumed to be a Ukrainian military transport and shot it down. Within a few minutes, the separatist authorities and their Kremlin handlers knew they had shot down a civilian plane. They did not seem that shaken. As officer Kozikhin retorted: â€œWell the plane must have carried spies. Do they not know there is a war going on?â€
Will the Russian downing of the Malaysian Air 777 and the loss of almost three hundred innocent lives make a difference in Russiaâ€™s war against Ukraine? Yes. If Putin has any sense, he will withdraw all his officers and intelligence agents from the scene. He will try to convince the world this was not Russiaâ€™s fault, but he cannot succeed in so doing. The attention of the world is now on east Ukraine, and news reporters can scarcely be denied free access. Even if denied access, there is plenty of evidence in the form of You Tubes, intelligence reports, and eyewitness accounts that prove that Russia had already invaded Ukraine with tens of thousands of troops and heavy military equipment â€“ facts that the West did not see or did not want to see. I doubt that the Russian public will be so enamored with Putin once they learn that his loyal peopleâ€™s militias marauding in east Ukraine killed three hundred innocent people.
With respect to Putin, there are two interpretations: One is that he controls Russia almost single handedly with his noted vertical of power. If so, he must be held personally responsible for what his agents did. The second interpretation is that Russia is falling apart as mercenaries move themselves and heavy military equipment at will within Russia and across its borders.
Neither places Mr. Putin in an exactly favorable light. Letâ€™s see how he squirms out of this.
PS: Attached is the video of heavy military equipment including missiles purportedly fleeing the scene from which the Malaysian 777 was shot down.