MH17 disaster - a price to pay?

14 October 2015 6:17 pm

And so the Dutch Safety Board released the results of its14-month-long investigation into the physical cause of MH17's crash, concluding as expected that a Russian-made BUK missile brought the plane down.

The report itself is an exercise in neutrality, setting out the 320-square-kilometre zone from which the missile might have been launched. At the same time, it does not shed any light which parts of that territory were controlled by the rebels or the Ukrainian government at the time. Nor does it tell us who fired the BUK. All of that will be left to the criminal investigation next year.

Along the way, there has been all sorts of obstruction. The Russian backed rebels limited access to the site and seized the bodies, the Russians vetoed a United Nations Security Council draft resolution to set up an international tribunal to prosecute those suspected of downing the airliner and the Russian company that manufactures the BUK has denounced the investigation claiming it misidentified the missile use and the direction it was launched from.

It’s been a messy and dirty business and it’s likely to continue. Moscow has reacted angrily to the report. It claims it has "serious doubts” about the goal of an investigation conducted in the Netherlands.

One thing for sure, no matter who shot the plane down, Russia’s reputation is now in tatters. But with Russia now getting itself more deeply mired in Syria, and needing some allies, a settlement with the Ukraine might be a possibility as it seeks to salvage its standing in the global community.

The great irony would be if the MH17 and the lives on board were to be the price to pay.