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MH17: Ukraine seeks advantage in tragedy

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MH17 crash site battle rages

Paul McGeough reports from Shakhtersk in eastern war-ravaged Ukraine, where fighting between government forces and pro-Russian rebels have blocked international access to the Malaysia Airlines crash site.

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An old story does the rounds in Australian diplomatic circles about the difficulty of dealing with Russia, a tale that must leave Tony Abbott wondering.

Moscow will bluntly reject any offer (“Nyet, nyet, nyet”), frustrating negotiators on the other side and leaving them desperate for any sign of progress.

Then the Russians will make a tiny concession - happy to see the other side to trumpet even the smallest gain as a massive win.

Abbott is clearly frustrated in his attempts to secure the crash site in eastern Ukraine.

He may yet succeed, and let’s hope so for the sake of relatives of the dead.

But the harsh reality of conflict has trumped compassion and sentiment. Abbott says he has no interest getting involved in eastern European politics. He has no choice.

It’s almost a fortnight since the attack on MH17 and the Ukraine government has clearly decided to seize the chance to crush the rebellion.

Russia is under immense international pressure over suspicion of involvement in the attack, and the rebels are reeling.

Ukraine is hardly acting in the spirit of the UN Security Council resolution championed by Australia, which demands “all military activities” cease around the crash site.

But Kiev has a war to win. From the Ukrainian perspective, the best way to control the site is to reclaim its territory.

Russian leader Vladimir Putin could yet clear the obstacles, but won’t because to do so will betray his control of the rebels.

Putin might be under pressure abroad but with plenty of influential friends at home, he has little to fear.

One popular Russian daily newspaper this week claimed the Kremlin was baffled by the “myth-based demands” on Putin.

“The West’s stance is perceived in the Kremlin as insane,” it declared.

Nyet, nyet, nyet.

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16 comments

  • Prior to the last election, many voters obviously believed that Tony Abbott would be up to the task of being PM. I was never that confident in his abilities even though he was a Rhodes Scholar.

    Commenter
    adam
    Location
    yarrawonga
    Date and time
    July 30, 2014, 6:57AM
    • At last a whiff of common sense that addresses the actual realities of dealing with Russian paranoia. We have had every absurdity imaginable including conspiracy theories that the shooting down of MH17 is nothing but a dastardly plot by the government in Kiev. Meanwhile the conspirators ignore all the evidence that demonstrates Russian culpability.

      Evidence:

      Film of missile carrier well within terrorist held territory.

      Film of cranes removing the plane's infrastructure, therefore removing evidence.

      Film of plane wreckage being loaded into trucks.

      Satellite footage of Russian artillery firing into the Ukraine.

      MH 17 Black Box confirms the plane was brought down by shrapnel that caused “massive explosive decompression.

      Film of fuselage parts confirms shrapnel damage.

      Putin speaks of peace while doing nothing to further peace.

      The evidence suggests the act a war crime.

      Commenter
      Pen of hrba
      Date and time
      July 30, 2014, 9:59AM
      • @ Pen
        Interesting that now even EU & US web sites are reporting that it is the Urkainian's that are hampering the access to the crash site. The only access has been gained by dealing with the so called rebels. Even the black box was handed over by the Malaysian PM dealing with the rebels. From now on this may be the best option since the Ukrainian govt has collapsed. Yatsunyuk was the first to jump.
        This evidence that you give is farcical:
        Evidence:
        Film of missile carrier well within terrorist held territory.
        This footage has no coordinates and has even been shown to come from an area that was held by Ukrainian forces. Also Ukraine, Belarus, Kazakstan, India & Pakistan all have the BUK missle launchers from Soviet days.
        Film of plane wreckage being loaded into trucks. WHAT DOES THIS PROVE?

        Satellite footage of Russian artillery firing into the Ukraine.
        Came from a twitter account of something. Isn't the US govt more sophisticated than that?
        Film of cranes removing the plane's infrastructure, therefore removing evidence.
        These can neither be confirmed nor denied. Ukrainian Govt has been caught fabricating evidence in the past.

        MH 17 Black Box confirms the plane was brought down by shrapnel that caused “massive explosive decompression. No SURPRISES THERE.

        Film of fuselage parts confirms shrapnel damage. AS ABOVE.
        Still no answer as to why Ukrainian War plans where tailing MH17 just before explosion..

        Putin speaks of peace while doing nothing to further peace. Same for US & EU.

        The evidence suggests the act a war crime. NO KIDDING -
        JUST LIKE ALL THE EVIDENCE IN GAZA.

        In other words - right or wrong, wait till the evidence is out. I can't stand this US parroting.
        SUDDAMS WMDs & Chemical weapons ring a bell anyone ?

        Commenter
        Justincaseudidntknow
        Date and time
        July 30, 2014, 10:34AM
      • You seem to have this all nutted out, Pen.. Maybe you can help me with some questions I have:
        why was the aircraft ordered to change flight path and reduce altitude over a war zone? The storm theory does not cut it. If you were given the option of flying through an "alleged" storm or over a war zone where two military aircraft were shot down the previous week? what would you choose?
        Why the Govt. (what's left of it ) in Kiev do not release communications between MH17 and the control tower? Eye witnesses saw jet fighters trailing the plane. (but you can't trust those rebels to tell the truth..ay?) I will make a prediction, the cockpit flight recorder will be too damaged to extract pilot / co-pilot control conversations...the flight data recorder on the other hand is OK, but tells you bugger all in a case like this.

        Why did Kiev move BUK launchers to the region days before when the rebels don't have an air-force?
        You seem very willing to accept the version of events from an administration ( U.S State Dept.) which has a proven track record of lies. Look up "Operation Northwoods" a DE-classified C.I.A document laying out plans to shoot down a commercial air-liner and blame it on Cuba....sounds eerily familiar! No conspiracy, this document was released after 30 years. Oh and remember all those so sure about the Iraq war? Well they look pretty stupid now.

        Commenter
        Billy Rueben
        Location
        Avondale Heights
        Date and time
        July 30, 2014, 10:59AM
      • Justincaseudidntknow

        Hi, Alexander Khodakovsky, a high-ranking rebel leader of Vostok battalion has confirmed the existence of a Buk missile system controlled by separatist rebels. “That Buk I know about. I heard about it. I think they sent it back. Because I found out about it at exactly the moment that I found out that this tragedy had taken place. They probably sent it back in order to remove proof of its presence” (Alexander Khodakovsky, July 25, 2014).

        In regard to the cranes removing evidence I suggest that you review the filmed evidence at
        http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/ukraine/10981757/MH17-crucial-evidence-at-crash-site-may-already-be-lost.html

        You must ask yourself why Russia has 15000 troops, tanks, missile carriers, and heavy artillery on the Ukraine border.

        An SU 25 has a service ceiling of 22.000 feet, 11,000 feet below MH17. It has a maximum speed of 975 Kph, the normal cruising speed of a Boeing 777 is over 900 Kph, I will you to work out the maths. Further the type of air to air missile such as the kh-23 is far too small to have inflicted the shrapnel damage evidenced so far on MH17.

        Commenter
        Pen of hrba
        Date and time
        July 30, 2014, 12:05PM
      • Justin,
        Interesting that websites are reporting the turnbacks are due to safety from fighting issues, and nothing to do with Ukrainians turning people back. Both have been involved, although the terrorists tend to be more protective/tetchy/whatever you want to call it. Your claim about the only access being through the rebels is farcical.
        Your rebuttals are equally farcical

        -Denial of evidence because it came from twitter! Well, gee, you're commenting on a post too - guess that's too high tech and not credible. And incidentally, the details are elsewhere as well, but if you've got to scratch for a rebuttal...
        - Denial of film of cranes removing the plane's infrastructure, therefore removing evidence.
        as "These can neither be confirmed nor denied."
        Huh? The evidence is plain to see, there's no doubt, so your response just sounds like denial. Russia has been caught denying much evidence and facts in the past.
        - Putin speaks of peace while doing nothing to further peace. Same for US & EU.
        So Russia doesn't do what it promises, while US and EU provide monitoring teams, support UN resolutions, provide investigators and do what they can. They're doing far more than Russia, what else do you think they should be doing? As distinct from Russia, which is doing far less than it pledges and needs to.

        Sure, the evidence isn't conclusive - but there's a lot more pointing one way than the other.

        Commenter
        TheBigM
        Date and time
        July 30, 2014, 12:48PM
    • Just for the record, guys, Abbott is not leading the attempts to secure the crash site. You'd think so, reading the Australian press, but it's the Dutch and Malaysians. And speaking of strident posturing for domestic political gain, shouldn't the Ukraine's hindering of the investigation be labelled "unacceptable" if not "criminal"?

      Commenter
      Company loves misery
      Date and time
      July 30, 2014, 10:40AM
      • Yes, one could be forgiven for all the chest beating that it is being led by this regime.
        Thankfully it's only a click away to International News sites where he doesn't rate a mention, any mention.
        How much more milking do we have to endure?

        Commenter
        A country gal
        Date and time
        July 30, 2014, 11:08AM
      • You read the Dutch and Malayasian press do you and watch their TV?

        Anyone with an ounce of intelligence and paying attention to the media are very well aware that the Dutch are in charge of making relevant decisions on the advice of the OSCE who have organised all visits previously. and are liaising with the Rebels.

        They would also be aware that the Ukranians are taking advantage of the situation to further their war with the rebels which is what the above article is about.

        But hey the Abbott haters do not comment on content ; only use it as another excuse to regurgitate thei bile.

        Commenter
        Andie
        Date and time
        July 30, 2014, 1:09PM
    • It is good to see that the west is to impose further sanctions on Russia in light of Russian atrocities continuing on their merry old ways. Of course France will deliver a brand spanking new French Mistral class helicopter carrier warship to Russia despite the sanctions. A Mistral can carrier up 900 troops and 13 tanks in addition to helicopters. At the price 1.1 billion euros it seems the price of delivery of this furtherance of the Russian war machine is worth far more than 298 lives. We had the Maginot Line and now this, will the French never learn from their own inane stupidities. One wonders of French logic, any fool can see that the Russian rebel held corridor is a defensive strip immediately to the north of Russian sea bases in Crimea and the Sea of Azkov. Therefore the French are supplying the Russians with the capability of defending annexed Ukraine territory by sea and land.
      Meanwhile, Putin continues to wail it was not us, it must have been those Nazis in Kiev, who have just had democratic elections.

      While this farce worthy of a Cleese comedy sketch continues, Abbott is left floundering and wondering what to do next about Putin, I suggest another trip to Paris may be useful to his cause.

      Commenter
      Pen of hrba
      Date and time
      July 30, 2014, 10:57AM

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