Vladimir Putin Promises to Help Investigators Access MH17 Plane-Crash Site

Vladimir Putin
Vladimir Putin promised Australian Foreign minister Julie Bishop he will use his influence to help investigators access the crash-site where the Malaysian plane MH17 was shot down in Eastern Ukraine in July. The two spoke on the sidelines of the Asia-Europe summit (ASEM) in Milan, Italy,last Friday. The latest efforts by investigators to reach the site in eastern Ukraine last week proved unsuccessful. They witnessed an exchange of fire between warring parties, and considered the area unsafe to enter.

The separatists are seeking to break away from Ukraine to form an independent nation. The Russian president has been accused of supporting them by supplying weapons and soldiers. The missile that downed the plane is alleged to have come from Russia, a charge Putin denies. The European Union and western countries tried to force Putin to stop interfering in the region through sanctions. Putin reciprocated by placing sanctions against food imports from the United States, the European Union, Norway, Canada, and Australia.

Putin’s apparent lack of popularity in Europe and the west has done little to damage his appeal among countries that formed the former USSR. He received a hero’s welcome in Serbia last week when he attended the country’s military celebration marking 70 years since it was liberated by the Red Army from Nazi occupation.
“Our fathers and grandfathers fought for a good cause,” Putin told the crowd at the parade, according to the Telegraph newspaper. Several other eastern European countries have also made overtures to remain in Russia’s good books. Hungary, Slovakia, and the Czech Republic recently opposed sanctions over Russia’s support for the Ukrainian separatists. In a larger scope, Putin seems intent to stop the alliance between former soviets nations with the European Union or the west. According to a story by the Associated Press published in on YAHOONEWS, the Kremlin insists that it was promised, after the dissolution of the Soviet Union, that would not happen.

As winter approaches,pressure is mounting on Vladimir Putin to fulfill his promise to help investigators gain access to the MH17 plane-crash site. The foliage that has been covering the wreckage will soon be covered in snow, making it impossible for the investigators to find the evidence. Putin’s back- and- forth promises to help investigators access the site has won off the patience of some of the world leaders. Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbot recently promised to “shirt-front” Putin during the forthcoming G20 summit that will take place in Brisbane, Australia, in November. The expression is commonly used in the Australian Football League. It means to “knock an opponent to the ground.”

The Russian president has warned European and western leaders against blackmailing Russia through sanctions. In an interview with the Serbian newspaper Respublika last week, he reminded them that that Russia stocks a larger quantity of nuclear arms. He said sanctions will not deescalate tensions in Ukraine, but will instead bring discord between large nuclear powers and interfere with the world’s strategic stability.

With the world’s focus on containing the spread of Ebola, Vladimir Putin seems to get attention somewhat off his back in ensuring that he fulfills his promise to help investigators access the MH17 Plane-crash site. FoxNews Latino reported August 15 that the United States president Barrack Obama held a video conference with British, French, German and Italian leaders. The talks focused on steps being taken to contain Ebola. Russia’s involvement in Ukraine was not on the world leaders’ agenda.

By Benedicto Ateku

Sydney Morning Herald
photo image by Pavel Dolzhenko and Peter Ellis Flikr