Russian missile hit MH17
15 months after the crash of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17, the cause has been determined: the plane was shot down with a Russian Buk missile. This findings was announced along with the presentation of the report by the Dutch Safety Board on Tuesday. The blame clearly lies with the Kremlin, some commentators write. Others fault the airline for the crash.
The trail leads to the Kremlin
Although the report put out by the Dutch Safety Board does not name anyone as responsible for the MH17 crash Moscow is clearly to blame, writes the centre-left Daily Dagens Nyheter: "The Dutch wanted to convene an international tribunal under the auspices of the UN to investigate the crash. But Moscow vetoed the plan, which is understandable when you've got something to hide. ... The separatist rebellion in eastern Ukraine was initiated, led and armed by the Kremlin. Thousands of soldiers were sent in to help. The whole time President Putin denied he had anything to do with the events. ... We'll never know whether Ukrainian rebels or the Russian military pressed the button and killed the 298 people on board flight MH17. The families of the murdered passengers deserve the truth, but they won't hear it from the Kremlin. Putin's system is founded on deception, vis-à-vis his own population as much as vis-à-vis the rest of the world."
Airlines underestimated the danger
The final report clearly exposes the failures of the airlines, the liberal daily Savon Sanomat explains: "The question of guilt has not been clarified. Perhaps we will get more clarity once the ongoing criminal investigation concludes in the course of the next few years. But the Dutch investigators' report has uncovered one serious mistake. Even though there had been fighting in eastern Ukraine and several military aircraft had already been shot down in the region, the prevailing view was that civilian air travel could continue as usual. This was what the Ukrainian authorities, Malaysia Airlines and another 60 airlines whose planes were flying at a height of around 10 kilometres in the air space over eastern Ukraine believed. That way of thinking must never be repeated."
Ukraine may have survived only thanks to crash
Although the report on the MH17 crash does not clearly pin the blame on pro-Russian separatists, they have paid a high price for the tragedy, columnist Mary Dejevsky writes in the centre-left daily The Guardian: "With hindsight, it may turn out that the price paid by the rebels was even higher, in that this catastrophic mistake - for it was a mistake - ultimately cost them their lifeline from Moscow. .... Moscow's support - always in my view exaggerated - started to wane from last autumn. As Putin has switched his attention to Syria, the east Ukrainian rebels have largely been cut adrift. The Minsk-2 ceasefire is holding; and a political settlement could be on the cards. The perverse longer-term result of MH17 could even be the survival of Ukraine (minus Crimea) as a unitary state."
Increase international pressure on Moscow
Following the report on the cause of the crash the search for the culprits may now be the biggest challenge, the centre-left daily De Volkskrant predicts: "Whatever the Netherlands claims regarding MH17, Russia will deny it and do everything possible to throw a spanner in the works. It has already effectively done so by vetoing the Netherlands' efforts to have a UN tribunal set up to prosecute the culprits. This doesn't exactly increase the chances of a successful criminal prosecution. … Only persistent international pressure on Moscow can increase the Netherlands' chances of success in the long journey it faces."