This past Sunday, July 17, Ukraine marked the solemn eight-year anniversary of Malaysian Air flight MH17 that was downed over eastern Ukraine killing all on board. The attack killed 298 people, representing citizens from 10 countries, including: 193 from the Netherlands; 43 from Malaysia; 27 from Australia; 12 from Indonesia; 10 from Great Britain; 4 from Germany; 4 from Belgium; 3 from the Philippines; 1 from Canada 1; and 1 from New Zealand.
Subsequent investigations into the act of terrorism found that active duty Russian military was responsible for the attack using a BUK missile.
An in-depth investigation that used primarily open source information, published by the journalist crew of Bellingcat, made public even the specific highways and byways that the BUK missile travelled into Ukraine, and then the route it took to exit the country after it accomplished its bloody work, where the equipment was most likely destroyed so that no evidence would remain that would demonstrate Moscow’s hand in the crime.
Valentyn Nalyvaichenko, now a Member of Parliament of Ukraine, then headed the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) and launched the initial investigation into the act of international terrorism. The SBU’s conclusion, supported by the findings of other international investigators, including those of Bellingcat, is that Russia is solely to blame for the crime, said Nalyvaichenko in an exclusive interview with the Kyiv Post.
“Beyond any doubt our investigation found that active duty Russian military shot down MH17. This was not done by proxies, and certainly not a misfire by Ukraine,” said the former SBU’s former leader who rumors say is being considered to head-up the Service again, partially due to the strong international contacts and credentials he was able to establish during the MH17 investigation.
Despite the overwhelming evidence of who is responsible for the crime, Russian news sources at the time ran a number of different stories, trying to shift the blame onto other actors.
However, Russian proxies made several foolish mistakes that made a cover-up nearly impossible, including taking photos and videos of the downed aircraft from which they were filmed picking through the wreckage and debris for valuables. Russian proxies then showed an even greater lack of forethought by putting the photos and videos on social media where they bragged that “their guys” had struck the airplane.
The SBU at the time released intercepted audio of terrorist conversations and phone calls where they hurriedly discussed the plane’s downing.
When asked about Russia’s continual denial that it was responsible for the taking of 298 lives, and whether there was any room for doubt that Russians pulled the trigger, Nalyvaichenko said that it was a “closed case of who is guilty.”
The former Ambassador, turned-SBU boss, turned-MP, said that the investigation which he led “was able to clearly demonstrate that Russia intentionally shot down a civilian aircraft. There is absolutely no doubt.”
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Sunday reminded that “Currently, Russia continues to sow grief and death on Ukrainian soil. But nothing will go unpunished! Every criminal will be brought to justice!”
A trial, now taking place in Holland, in the District Court of The Hague, is prosecuting the crimes committed as was instructed following the Dutch Public Prosecution Service’s decision of June 19, 2019. However, no accused Russian terrorists are standing in the dock at The Hague and so justice for family members may not be served.
Nalyvaichenko, his voice carrying a clear taint of frustration, pondered the lack of action against Russia since the crime eight years ago. The former top spy said that he had warned people, both inside Ukraine and abroad, that action against Russia needed to be immediately before Putin felt that he could do whatever he wanted without facing repercussions, however the SBU Director’s many warnings were not heeded which many have argued lead to the situation that currently finds itself in today.
When asked what conclusions he has reached since the terror act eight years ago, Nalyvaichenko says, “I repeat now what I did then: Russia must not be allowed to get away with crime or terrorism – it will only allow greater impunity by the Kremlin,” hoping that now the world will take his informed advice.
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