The British newspapers, like the British government, are pinning the blame for the Malaysian Airlines disaster on Putin. Most Americans, whether Democrats or Republicans, would see things the way these UK headlines do:
“Putin is a pariah – he must be treated as such”
“Britain and America implicate Russia in Flight MH17 missile attack”
“Two British families killed by ‘Putin the terrorist'”
And over a column written by Prime Minister David Cameron, this headline: “This is an outrage made in Moscow”
However, some well-informed conservatives in Britain are pointing the finger for the war in Ukraine not at Putin, but at the empire builders of the European Union.
Peter Hitchens, a leading British conservative commentator, summed up the argument in today’s Mail on Sunday
“…those who began the current war in Ukraine – the direct cause of the frightful murder of so many innocents on Flight MH17 on Thursday – really have no excuse. There is no doubt about who they were. In any war, the aggressor is the one who makes the first move into neutral or disputed territory.”
“And that aggressor was the European Union, which rivals China as the world’s most expansionist power, swallowing countries the way performing seals swallow fish (16 gulped down since 1995).”
“Ignoring repeated and increasingly urgent warnings from Moscow, the EU – backed by the USA – sought to bring Ukraine into its orbit. It did so through violence and illegality, an armed mob and the overthrow of an elected president.”
As for the question of Vladimir Putin arming the pro-Russian militia with Buk missiles – one of which may, or may not, the evidence is not clear yet, have downed the Malaysia Airlines flight – evidence points in another direction: that the missiles were not supplied by Putin, but were among the arms stolen by the militia from a Ukrainian military unit at the end of June.
“The [Buk] missile is on the Ukrainian Army inventory, it has been reported in the area… Breakaway fighters have claimed to be in possession of them, after Military unit A1402 (Donetsk SAM regiment) was captured on 29 June or thereabouts…”
“The missile itself is sophisticated, but comes in a ready-to-launch package, typically on a tracked vehicle. It can also operate with a radar tracker on a separate vehicle. But, although the launcher is a substantial piece of equipment, it is a semi-automatic system and simple to operate.”
At the end of last month, Russia media reported that the pro-Russian separatists had seized control of substantial Ukrainian arms:
“The self-defense forces of Donetsk People’s Republic seized control of a Ukrainian anti-air military installation…’The forces of Donetsk People’s Republic assumed control of A-1402 military base,’ the militia’s representative said.”
“According to him, it is an anti-aircraft missile forces facility equipped with Buk mobile surface-to-air missile systems. During the last several days the militia took control of two internal security troops’ installations in eastern Ukraine.”
In other words, if it were pro-Russian militia who shot down the Malaysia Airlines flight, and so far the facts are not yet established, the evidence is that the missile involved was indeed supplied by Russia, but supplied to the Kiev government, not to the militia.
It has all been part of what Hitchens calls “a filthy little war has been under way in Eastern Ukraine. Many innocents have died, unnoticed in the West. Neither side has anything to boast of – last Tuesday 11 innocent civilians died in an airstrike on a block of flats in the town of Snizhne, which Ukraine is unconvincingly trying to blame on Russia.”