As for the destruction of flight MH17, on Saturday the US embassy in Kiev issued an unusually blunt and detailed account of events that is unlikely to be contradicted by the criminal investigation to come: “We assess that flight MH17 was likely downed by a SA-11 surface-to-air missile from separatist-controlled territory in eastern Ukraine. We base this judgment on several factors.
“Over the past month, we have detected an increasing amount of heavy weaponry to separatist fighters crossing the border from Russia into Ukraine. Last weekend, Russia sent a convoy of military equipment with up to 150 vehicles including tanks, armoured personnel carriers, artillery and multiple rocket launchers to the separatist. We also have information indicating that Russia is providing training to separatist fighters at a facility in south-west Russia, and this effort included training on air defence systems.
“Pro-Russian separatist fighters have demonstrated proficiency with surface-to-air missile systems and have downed more than a dozen aircraft over the past few months, including two large transport aircraft.
“At the time that flight MH17 dropped out of contact, we detected a surface-to-air missile (SAM) launch from a separatist-controlled area in south-eastern Ukraine. We believe this missile was an SA-11…
“Social media postings on Thursday show an SA-11 system travelling through the separatist-controlled towns of Torez and Snizhne, near the crash site and assessed location of the SAM launch …
“Ukraine also operates SA-11 systems, but we are confident no Ukrainian air defence systems were within range of the crash. Ukrainian forces have also not fired a single surface-to-air missile during the conflict, despite often complaining about violations of their airspace by Russian military aircraft.
“Shortly after the crash, separatists – including the self-proclaimed “Defence Minister” of the Donetsk people’s republic, Igor Strelkov – claimed responsibility for shooting down a military transport plane on social media …
“Audio data provided to the press by the Ukrainian security service was evaluated by intelligence community analysts who confirmed these were authentic conversations between known separatist leaders, based on comparing the Ukraine-released internet audio to recordings of known separatists.”
Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/comment/mh17-vladimir-putin-will-lose-ukraine-through-stupidity-20140723-zw1bb.html#ixzz38LTtRRws
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