U.S. Officials: Russia ‘Created the Conditions’ for Malaysia Airlines Crash

New intelligence finds no direct link between the air disaster and the Russian government, but it likely won’t quell concerns about some association.

A pro-Russia rebel looks at wreckage from Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 lying in a field on July 22, 2014 in Grabovo, Ukraine.
National Journal
Marina Koren
July 22, 2014, 1:25 p.m.

On Monday, Pres­id­ent Obama wondered aloud what pro-Rus­si­an sep­ar­at­ists were “try­ing to hide” fol­low­ing the down­ing of a ci­vil­ian jet­liner in east­ern Ukraine. On Tues­day, U.S. in­tel­li­gence of­fi­cials said it was their re­spons­ib­il­ity for the crash, which killed all 298 people on board.

The new in­tel con­cluded that sep­ar­at­ists likely struck the plane down mis­take. U.S. of­fi­cials said they found no evid­ence of dir­ect Rus­si­an gov­ern­ment in­volve­ment in the shoot­ing down of Malay­sia Air­lines Flight 17.

The As­so­ci­ated Press re­ports:

They say the pas­sen­ger jet was likely felled by an SA-11 sur­face-to-air mis­sile fired by Rus­si­an-backed sep­ar­at­ists in east­ern Ukraine and that Rus­sia “cre­ated the con­di­tions” for the down­ing by arm­ing the sep­ar­at­ists.

The of­fi­cials likely mean that Rus­sia “cre­ated the con­di­tions” pre­ced­ing the plane crash by fo­ment­ing civil un­rest in east­ern Ukraine, a re­gion that has been locked in tur­moil since Rus­si­an Pres­id­ent Vladi­mir Putin an­nexed the Crimean pen­in­sula in March. But a primary part of Rus­sia’s sup­port in the in­sur­rec­tion has come in the form of heavy-duty weapons, which could have in­cluded mis­siles such as the one that shot down MH17.

U.S. of­fi­cials told the AP on Tues­day that they don’t know wheth­er any Rus­si­ans were present at the mis­sile launch. They also would not say wheth­er the sep­ar­at­ists who pulled the trig­ger were trained in Rus­sia.

One U.S. in­tel­li­gence of­fi­cial told The Wall Street Journ­al on Tues­day that Rus­sia has con­tin­ued to sup­ply sep­ar­at­ists in east­ern Ukraine with tanks and rock­et launch­ers after last week’s crash. “We don’t think they have stopped,” the of­fi­cial said. “We think they con­tin­ue to do it.”

At least for now, these Rus­si­an-gen­er­ated “con­di­tions” aren’t go­ing away.

What We're Following See More »
CHARM OFFENSIVE
Pence Is Trump’s Man on Capitol Hill
28 minutes ago
THE LATEST

"Spurred by VP pick Mike Pence, a former congressman with close ties to many lawmakers, the Trump campaign in recent weeks has stepped up its courtship of wary Capitol Hill Republicans. And the efforts appear to be bearing fruit." Central to the charm offensive: invitations to more than a dozen "Senate and House members into his family’s private box for some power-schmoozing with him and his kids" during the Republican National Convention.

Source:
PAUL RYAN: STOP IT
Trump Encourages More Spying by Russia
32 minutes ago
THE LATEST

Donald Trump essentially encouraged more Russian espionage against Democrats in a press conference this morning. "Russia, if you’re listening, I hope you’re able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing,” he said. “I think you will probably be rewarded mightily by our press.” That prompted Brendan Buck, spokesman for House Speaker Paul Ryan to say: “Russia is a global menace led by a devious thug. Putin should stay out of this election.”

Source:
ONE MORE INVESTIGATION
IRS Investigating Clinton Foundation
2 hours ago
WHY WE CARE

Investigations are never far from the Clintons, and here's another: At the behest of "dozens" of Republican lawmakers, the IRS is opening a fraud investigation into the Clinton Foundation."The move signals a shift from the IRS's announcement last year that it would not look into allegations of financial irregularities at the well-connected charity."

Source:
INFIGHTING AMONG COMMISSIONERS TO BLAME
Report Details Terrible Morale at FEC
2 hours ago
THE DETAILS

"Bickering commissioners, ineffective managers and lousy internal communication rank among the top reasons why the Federal Election Commission" has some of the worst morale in the federal government. That's the conclusion of an inspector general's report, which put "the most blame on the FEC’s six commissioners: three Democratic appointees and three Republican appointees who have regularly criticized one another and frequently (but not exclusively) deadlocked on high-profile political issues before them."

Source:
TRADE DEALS BACK IN THE NEWS
UAW President: Clinton Promised to Renegotiate NAFTA
2 hours ago
THE DETAILS

On Tuesday, Dennis Williams, the president of the United Auto Workers, said that Hillary Clinton has told him that she will renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement if elected president. Trade deals, especially NAFTA, have played a prominent role in the campaign, with Clinton receiving heat both from her Democratic rival Bernie Sanders and GOP nominee Donald Trump. The Clinton campaign did not comment on Williams's comments, though that didn't stop the Trump campaign from weighing in. Hillary Clinton "will never renegotiate Bill Clinton's NAFTA," said Stephen Miller, senior policy adviser to Trump.

Source:
×