On the first anniversary of the shooting down of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 (MH17), the Ukrainian prime minister has said Russia has a long term plan to destroy Ukraine. He added that he expects the fighting to pick up again soon after a recent lull.
“Putin’s aim is to kill the Ukrainian project, just to eliminate Ukraine — I have no doubt,” said Arseniy Yatsenyuk, 41, to The Times following a meeting with David Cameron on a visit to London. “For Putin, Ukraine is the battlefield against the free world.”
Russia is thought to be shielding the men who downed MH17, killing 298 civilians including 80 children. There is strong evidence to suggest it supplied the advanced anti-aircraft missile system to the rebels.
“We will do everything to bring those bastards to justice, and those who were behind the scenes too… We are absolutely sure that MH17 was shot down with the clear support of Russian-led terrorists and, allegedly, Russian regular military forces,” said Yatsenyuk.
New footage emerged in Australia today of the immediate aftermath of the crash via The Sydney Daily Telegraph. It shows Russian-backed rebels handling bodies and rummaging through the bags of dead passengers as they express shock that the aircraft they brought down, killing 283 civilians, was a commercial one.
There are two ongoing investigations going into the downing of MH17; one Dutch and one Australian. A draft resolution will be presented to the UN Security Council this Tuesday which calls for a tribunal to be set up. Russia, however, will be able to veto the resolution when it reaches the Security Council.
Mr. Yatsenyuk, a former lawyer and economist, said that Russia’s resistance to uncovering the truth about MH17, coupled with their persistent flouting of the peace agreement and the massing of troops on the boarder, indicates the conflict will escalate soon.
“From classified and unclassified sources and satellite images, you can easily see that Russia has stationed tens of thousands of soldiers and Russian-led guerrillas in Donetsk and Luhansk. They are still supplying tanks, howitzers, even SA-11s and SA-22s [surface-to-air missiles]. Russia has created a massive military group in the east of Ukraine,” he said.
He described a “full-spectrum” war Russia is waging on Ukraine, ranging from hacking Twitter accounts of military intelligence officers to depriving the nation of gas and undermining the government in Kiev.
“Putin is a very dangerous political animal,” he said. “We must not underestimate him.”
— Christopher Miller (@ChristopherJM) July 17, 2015