Foreign media digest 17-19 of July 2014

Oleg Tsarev, one of the leaders of the breakaway Donetsk People’s Republic, said the rebels did not shoot the Malaysia plane down, Simon Shuster correspondent writes.
“We don’t have weapons that can take down a plane from that altitude,” he told TIME, minutes after news of the crash broke.
But only three weeks ago they had plenty of those weapons. At the end of June, the Russian state media had congratulated the rebels on their latest military acquisition – a set of Russian-made BUK missile launchers seized from a Ukrainian air force base, the edition writes. “The Donetsk resistance fighters have captured an anti-aircraft military station,” declared the Kremlin’s main television network Vesti.
“The rebels quickly seemed to put their new rockets to work. The downing of Ukrainian military aircraft has become almost commonplace in recent days,” the author writes. He says that Russian media trumpeted another rebel strike late on Thursday afternoon, claiming that a Ukrainian AN-24 had gone down over the town of Torez. That was just a few hours before reports first emerged in the Russian media that Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 had been shot down over the town of Torez, just near the Russian border with Ukraine,” the article writes. When journalists asked Tsarev about BUK missiles that the rebels acquired in June, he said “I have no more information for you,” and hung up the phone,” the edition states.
It’s now emerged that many of the passengers were HIV experts, on their way to a conference in Melbourne. 108 delegates were on the plane. The victims, which have left the international HIV research community in mourning, included staff from the World Health Organisation and medical researchers, health workers and activists who were due to attend the twentieth International Aids Conference. Dr Lange, a Dutchman, who was on board with his wife Jacqueline van Tongeren, was a former president of the International Aids Society and has been researching HIV for 30 years. He has authored more than 350 papers and helped lead the fight for the availability of affordable treatments across Asia and Africa.
His government plans to “analyse information carefully”. Shinzo Abe, the Japanese prime minister, told reporters when he arrived at his office Friday morning. “I pray for the victims. The cause needs to be investigated, and Japan will do what it can with the international community.”
Australia, which has at least 27 citizens on the plane, said Russian support for Ukrainian separatists put it in line for some of the blame. “They are Russian proxies, essentially,” Prime Minister Tony Abbott said, “If, as now seems certain, it’s been brought down by a Russian-supplied surface-to-air missile, Russia bears a heavy share of responsibility.”


One U.S. official said Washington strongly suspected the Malaysian Airlines Boeing 777 was downed by a sophisticated surface-to-air missile fired by Ukrainian separatists backed by Moscow. There are no evidences that Ukrainian army could fire the missile, official told anonymously.
The Wall Street Journal:
The U.S. agencies are divided over whether the missile was launched by the Russian military or by pro-Russia separatist rebels, who officials say lack the expertise on their own to bring down a commercial airline in midflight. Ukraine, which also has sophisticated antiaircraft weaponry, said it hadn’t shot any such missiles at any time during the conflict. “All roads lead to the Russians to some degree,” said a U.S. official.
Financial Times:
The jet was shot down from the ground, Washington senior official told. Though US authorities have not been able to conclude where the missile was fired from and have not directly accused anyone of shooting down the jet, experts think the jet was shot down by pro-Russian separatists.
The Guardian:
The huge loss of life threatens to have wide-ranging and unpredictable consequences, coming just after the US imposed further sanctions on Russia for continuing to provide weapons to the rebels. Defence and security experts said the Russian-made Buk surface-to-air missile system, known to be in the hands of pro-Russia fighters in Ukraine, was most likely used.
The New York Times:
There are reasons to believe that persons who are responsible for the situation, thought they had shot down a military jet and was shocked to understand that they downed a passenger jet. Despite the catastrophe’s reasons, shooting plane with the representatives of 9 countries will lead to international crisis.
Washington Post:
U.S. intelligence officials confirmed, but could not identify the origins of, the missile strike that led to the deadliest downing of a civilian passenger plane in recent decades.
The chairman of the German-Ukrainian Parliamentary Group in the Bundestag Karl-Georg Wellmann asks tough economic sanctions against Russia if it is responsible for the downing of the passenger plane over eastern Ukraine. “The Western community must react with the utmost determination, if Russia’s involvement in the downing is confirmed,” he told Handelsblatt. First of all Russia should be sanctioned with “the wider sanctions of the third level”. He stands for the full investigation of the tragedy. “Circumstantial evidences, however, suggest that Russia is responsible for the tragedy,” Wellmann adds. He reminds that on July 16 a Ukrainian jet had already been shot down. Today’s crash also happened in a rebel-controlled area. This was done by professionals, amateurs do not have such equipment and skills to kill at the altitude of 10,000 meters,” German MP points out. “Russia is waging an asymmetric war with Ukraine,” he adds.
An incident with a crushed jet “dramatically illustrates how far the madness in eastern Ukraine is now advanced. Moscow fueled the tension irresponsibly to keep blackmailing Ukraine. Kyiv suspects millions of its citizens in terrorism and tries to regain the control in the eastern regions, despite all casualties, rich and powerful Ukrainians foment the conflict to save their earnings.” That’s why, the author is sure, “the international community should give a straight answer to show all sides of the conflict that there is no alternative as to start negotiations as soon as possible.”
The prime suspect for the shooting down Boeing 777 goes by the name Igor Girkin (dubbed Strelkov, or shooter), who is the former Russian intelligence officer, The Malaysian Times writes. The edition reminds his message in social media after the catastrophe happened. “We did warn you – do not fly in our sky.” But that post has now been deleted as it has become clear the jet was from Malaysia Airlines.

An accident became the reason for Russians to think about their own defense, The Washington Post writes. The edition underlines that Russia’s deputy defense spokesman told Russia 24 TV news channel to “the crash must be thoroughly investigated together with the representatives from international organizations.” Associated Press informs that most of the airline’s black boxes were in the hands of separatists. The agency says, this fact was confirmed by pro-Russian gunmen. Russian news agencies and Reuters also reported about it.
The state press agency of the People’s Republic of China Xinhua published a comment wrote by their journalist (nobody from China officials was mentioned) with warnings about hasty conclusion on airliner crash. The commentator criticized officials from the United States, Australia and Great Britain and warned about the consequences of the one-sided accusation of Ukrainian rebels and Russia.
The edition writes US criticizes Kremlin’s arming of rebels. “Putin has gone too far,” Hillary Clinton said while commenting the death of 298 passengers of Boeing 777 in a missile strike.
The US has pointedly criticised Russian arming of rebels in Ukraine as the world demanded answers over the shooting down of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 by a suspected Russian-made missile, resulting in the death of all 298 people on board the civilian airliner. The leaders of countries from the whole world were shocked and outraged by photos and videos from the plane crash site, the newspaper writes and underlines US security service informed the jet’s been brought down by a surface-to-air missile.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Friday it was too soon to make any decisions about imposing tougher sanctions against Russia after the downing of a Malaysian airliner in eastern Ukraine. “It’s perhaps premature to draw conclusions before we have access to the remains of the plane,” she said.
The distraught father of a brilliant maths student killed on Flight MH17 yesterday accused Vladimir Putin of his murder. Simon Mayne’s son Richard, 20, was one of ten Britons on the Malaysia Airlines jet downed by a missile in eastern Ukraine.
Fighting back tears, Mr Mayne said he had little doubt the Russian president was responsible for the loss of 298 lives. ‘If Putin wanted to speak out he would do so, he would sort them [the rebels] out,’ said the 53-year-old teacher and company director.
“We will turn every stone and if it becomes clear that this was an attack I will be personally responsible for guaranteeing that the people responsible will be determined,” Dutch Prime Minister said.
Ukraine’s SBU security service has confiscated recordings of conversations between Ukrainian air traffic control officers and the crew of the doomed airliner, a source in Kiev has told Interfax news agency.
Thomas Greminger, says that OSCE monitors were only given limited access to the plane crash site in Ukraine. He says they were stopped by local illegal armed groups.
Switzerland currently holds the chairmanship of the OSCE and is spearheading diplomatic efforts.
Hours before the crash, Russia had announced its own airspace restrictions near eastern Ukraine, closing below 32,000 feet the route Flight 17 would have taken through Russia.
CDU foreign policy expert and deputy head of CDU fraction Andreas Schockenhoff thinks the situation is so serious,we need to think about a United Nations peacekeeping mission with a special mandate.
Sir Malcolm Rifkind, the former Foreign Secretary, said sanctions against Moscow should be dramatically toughened if it is established that Russians supplied weaponry brought down the plane.
Sweden Le Matin thinks Ukrainians could shoot down a plane, hoping to crash Putin’s jet.
Canadian newspaper thinks Western world’s weak reaction to Russia’s “unprecedented outraged behavior” became the reason for the tragedy in Ukraine. “If tougher sanctions were implemented weeks ago, would it be possible that Putin left Ukraine and the plane would peacefully land in Kuala Lumpur?” the observer asked rhetorically.
The newly-appointed defence secretary Michael Fallon has warned Russian leader Vladimir Putin to “get out of east Ukraine” in the wake of the shooting down of flight MH17. “If Russia is the principal culprit, we can take further action against them and make it clear this kind of sponsored war is completely unacceptable. It is sponsored terrorism as far as people of east Ukraine are concerned,” he adds.
He said Mr Putin needs to “move his troops away from the border and stop interfering,” adding: “They need to get out of east Ukraine and leave Ukraine to the Ukrainians.”
Fallon also admits Britain’s politics in resolving Ukrainian conflict was effective in recent times.
Australia’s Foreign Minister Julie Bishop called for a full, thorough and independent international investigation into the flight, which was shot down over Ukraine. “We want to have access to the MH17 crash site. We are currently choosing members of our office in Warsaw to be sent to the crash site,” she said. She commented on the information that terrorists had found black boxes from the plane. “Regardless of the circumstances we urges separatists to co-operate with an investigation into this crash. If they have taken the black box, it must be returned to authorities immediately.” “This accident underlines an urge necessity to deescalate the tension in eastern Ukraine,” she added.

Separatist in the east of Ukraine have all possibilities to shoot down Malaysian passenger jet, Mika Aaltola, director of the Finnish Institute of Foreign Affairs said in an interview to YLE, one of the major Finnish TV channel. Aaltola says earlier separatists had possibilities to shoot down two Ukrainian military jets. Expert underlines one of the jet was a cargo-type airplane, which flies at high altitude. “It proves they are able to shoot down planes at high altitudes. But we need to take into consideration the fact that they need a big air defence battery, and they need professional to deal with military weapons. So, there are two questions: where did they get a missile launcher and who showed them how to operate,” Aaltola said. He thinks, Russia should bear a responsibility for the accident. The tragedy, which happened on 17 July, could speed up end of Ukrainian crisis.

German Chancellor Angela Merker said that those who is responsible for crashing Malaysia passenger jet over Ukraine needs to bear a responsibility. Moscow must take responsibility for advancing a peace process in Ukraine, where a truce is needed to allow an investigation into the crash of an airliner close to the Russian border, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Friday. For the West, there was no alternative to seeking dialogue with Putin over Ukraine, Merkel told a news conference in Berlin. “These events have once again shown us that what is required is a political solution. I see no alternative as to sit and talk with Russia’s president Vladimir Putin. We have some difficulties in our partnership, and we need to pull through,” Merkel said.”

US President Obama has said in a press conference that there is evidence the Malaysia Airlines flight was shot down by a surface-to-air-missile.
President Obama says the plane was shot by a surface-to-air missile. “The shot was taken from the territory that was controlled by the Russian separatists,” he said.
US President said they didn’t want to go ahead of the facts until a thorough investigation would be made with the representatives from Russia. One of the key conditions is to guarantee a bilateral ceasefire and give access to the plan crash site. He underlines terrorists couldn’t have shot down the plane without Russia’s military help. According to his words, we do not have time for playing games and Russia’s president Vladimir Putin has to make a decision whether he supports separatists or cooperates with Ukrainian authorities to resolve the conflict in eastern Ukraine.