KIEV, Ukraine – Following the downing of a commercial airliner carrying 298 people over rebel-riddled Eastern Ukraine, it was immediately unclear how the key players in this ongoing dispute would react. Over a week later, it is clear that this incident will escalate the fighting, rather than push both sides to step back and talk.
Crash site of MH17, where the investigation into the cause of the disaster continues. (Photo courtesy of Daily Mail)
Caption. (Photo Courtesy of Source)
In just one week since the downing of flight MH17, the crisis in Eastern Ukraine has already managed to escalate. First, the rebels claimed they would back off and allow for an uninterrupted international investigation into the crash scene, but there are reports of rebels and Russians allegedly stealing parts from the plane or impeding the recovery of the bodies for identification and return to their families.
Second, although Russia has been cleared by the United States from direct cause of the plane’s disastrous crash, it is still believed that the plane’s finale came from a surface-to-air BUK missile fired by pro-Russian rebels in Eastern Ukraine. Separatist commander of the Vostok Battalion in Ukraine, Alexander Khodakovsky, has admit that the pro-Russian rebel possessed surface-to-air BUK missiles, but that the rebels may have returned the missiles to Russia to hide the evidence from international investigators. Further, pro-Russian rebels shot down another two planes this week, this time Ukrainian fighter jets.
Pro-Russian rebels have also detained a CNN freelance journalist in Eastern Ukraine on Tuesday. Anton Skiba was staying at a hotel in Donetsk covering the MH17 crash site when rebels abducted the reporter outside of his hotel.
Russia has also been accused by the United States and Ukraine of firing artillery into Ukraine. This would be a direct attack from Russia towards Ukraine and a “clear escalation” in the conflict, Army Col. Steve Warren, a Pentagon spokesman, said.
All of the recent events have proven too much for Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk, as he folded under the pressure and announced his resignation on Thursday. With escalations by Russia and uncertainty of the future and pressure on Kiev growing by the day, this resignation could not have come at a worse time for Kiev.
As the Dutch continue to fly bodies of MH17 victims out of Ukraine and Australia is attempting to secure the plane crash site in order to ensure a successful and untainted investigation into the crash, the rest of the European Union questions whether they should involve themselves more by imposing stricter sanctions on Russia. The United States is also tossing about ideas as to possible sanctions to impose onto Russia. While many countries were seeking earlier to keep out of the conflict, the scope of the crisis seems to be growing more and more with each new incident, and it is beginning to draw serious discussions throughout the globe as to whether leaving Ukraine and Russia to handle this on their own may not be the best solution afterall.
For more information, please see:
The Washington Post – Ukraine’s prime minister resigns as coalition falls apart – 24 July 2014
USA Today – Russian military fires artillery into eastern Ukraine – 24 July 2014
The Washington Post – If the West doesn’t do more for Ukraine now, it might soon be too late – 24 July 2014