Russia is taking a different line than most of the world regarding the Malaysian passenger plane shot down Thursday.
Ukraine and the West have presented a mountain of evidence indicating that pro-Russian separatists shot down Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 with a Russian-supplied Buk missile system.
In a statement on Monday, Russia's Ministry of Defense began laying the case for blame on the West. It claims it saw MH17 detour from its route at the same time a Ukrainian warplane flew overhead and a U.S. satellite flew over Ukraine. And it said Ukraine had four SA-11 Buk missile systems on the ground in separatist territory.
The ministry claimed that Russia has not delivered any SA-11 BUK missile systems to separatists in Ukraine "or any other weapons."
The U.S., on the other hand, asserts that it has "detected an increasing amount of heavy weaponry to separatist fighters crossing the border from Russia into Ukraine," in addition to gathering "information indicating that Russia is providing training to separatist fighters at a facility in southwest Russia, and this effort included training on air defense systems."
Russia's Defense Ministry also said the military has not detected the launch of any missiles near MH17's flight path, and asked the U.S. to share images "if they have them."
The Russians also demanded an explanation from Ukraine's government, saying a Ukrainian warplane flew within two to three miles of MH17. It somewhat pointed the finger at Kiev, saying that Ukraine had surface-to-air missiles near separatist-controlled areas at the time of the crash.
In a late-night statement issued Sunday, Russian President Vladimir Putin urged other countries that have pointed the finger at Russia to not "use the tragedy to pursue their own political goals." He repeated his blame of Ukraine, saying the tragedy could have been avoided if Ukraine's military had not increased the scope of operations against pro-Russian separatists in late June.
The Russian military took accusations a bit further Monday, hinting at some strange speculations. The spokesman asked: "Is it a coincidence that the time of the MH17 crash is the same as a U.S. satellite flew over Ukraine?"
Basically, Russia is suggesting that a Ukrainian Su-25 fighter plane shot down MH17. But, as The Interpreter notes, a Ukrainian Su-25 fighter jet with no ordinance can only fly as high as 23,000, while MH17 was cruising at about 33,000 feet.
"By this logic, even if the Su-25 was flying directly under MH17 it would be at least 3 kilometers way," The Interpreter notes. "How does that fit with the claims that the Russian government is making?"
On July 17, Malaysia Flight MH17 went down in the town of Torez, located in separatist-controlled territory in eastern Ukraine. All 298 people on board were killed. Russia immediately held Ukraine's government responsible, while evidence mounted that Russian separatists mistook the civilian passenger plane for a Ukrainian military aircraft.
The West has so far said that pro-Russian separatists are to blame for both shooting down the plane and for subsequently disrupting the international investigation. On Sunday, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry went on all five Sunday-morning talk shows and laid out the evidence in a prosecutorial style.
Kerry said Ukraine did not have a missile system in the vicinity of the crash. The U.S. State Department has pointed the finger at Moscow for weeks for meddling in Ukraine, citing a major flow of weapons from Russia to southeastern Ukraine over the past month, including "150 vehicles with armed personnel carrier, multiple rocket launchers, tanks, artillery."
"We also know to a certainty that the social media immediately afterwards saw reports of separatists bragging about knocking down a plane, and then the so-called defense minister, self-appointed of the People’s Republic of Donetsk, Igor Strelkov, posted a social media report bragging about the shoot-down of a transport plane – at which point when it became clear it was civilian, they pulled down that particular report," Kerry said.
This article originally appeared at Business Insider.
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