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MH17 – presumtion för skuld

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21 krasch4The crash of Malaysian airliner flight MH17 caused a political hurricane – an investigation on the ground has not started yet, but the White House pointed at pro-Russian rebels, reportedly backed by Russian President Vladimir Putin, to be responsible for the tragedy. The Inquisition-like disdain to the presumption of innocence signifies that the catastrophe was not an accident as was the others that happened the same week, but a fatality instrumentalized by the USA and their allies in pursuit of geopolitical goals in Ukraine. This powerful political dimension aims to convict Russia, leaving a narrow path for the actual truth to be established – the crash will remain a mystery.

While the critically minded blogosphere is modelling different scenarios of the catastrophe and analyzing its inconsistencies, the European political class anticipates the long-term consequences of the accident which, irrespective of an actual cause, has been attributed to the Russian president, presumably supplying the rebels with the BUK missiles – a hypothetical instrument of the crime. The demonizing of President Putin has become a well-established trend during his third mandate, particularly since the Maidan Square protests, culminating in a massive campaign by western mass media, labelling him as the ‘murderer’ of the MH17 passengers. Pleasing a lot of hard-liners nostalgic for the Cold War days, this strategy does not lead to a resolution of the security problems in Ukraine, sidelining the search for solutions to a political blame-game.
The attitude towards the investigation of the plane crash divides the Old and the New World and beyond, drawing lines across the European continent with Poland and Batics obsessed by the USSR phantoms. While the US is calling for immediate sanctions against Russia, the Europeans are trying to win time, as the sectoral restrictive measures would back-fire on many, if not all, of the EU economies. Such as step is especially controversial in the light of new revelations of Russian defence ministry claiming Ukrainian military training activities on the date of the accident.  The situation is reminiscent of the 2001 Russian airplane that was shot down by a missile on the way back from Tel-Aviv, leaving 77 dead – the Ukrainian authorities later admitted a mistake during military training.
However following the ‘presumtion of guilt’ logic, this week 15 persons and 18 entities joined the established EU blacklist of Russian officials, responsible according to the EU leaders for the ”destablization” of Ukraine and ”annexation” of the Crimea. This blame is vigorously denied by Russians, who claiming that the West is responsible for the coup d’état in Kiev, causing the chain reactions leading to the profound crisis in the Ukrainian statehood.
Furthermore, the sectoral sanctions in financial, defence and energy sectors against Russia remain as disputable as the level of integration of Russia into the European economies – the policy pursued for the past half-a-century is not to be dismantled without grave mutual losses. President Herman van Rompuy, who invited the member states to sanction Russia in a written procedure, is anticipating his pension in a couple of months, but the politicians in the EU capitals will consider the implications of the sectoral sanctions on the well-being of their electorate.
Some of the EU members are still climbing out of recession, would they be able to withstand such a blow? Will the policy of sanctions against Russians, who consider it to be unjust, be conducted on false premises? The sanctions would certainly not revive the Cold War in the absence of ideological confrontation, but they will start a new era of harsh trade wars, provoked by the US need to conquer the hearts of Europeans for signature of the free trade agreement – the TTIP.
The major divide between the US and the EU towards Russia is rooted in the economy, as the EU is inter-dependent with Russia, thus vulnerable vis-à-vis to the rapidly degrading situation in Ukraine – the major gas transit to the EU. Unlike the US, pursuing the policy of retaining of Russia with various intensities, Europe has a keen interest in the development of relations with the East, both the neighbourhood and Russia – an established strategic partner. However, the European zeal to speed up the signature of the Association Agreement with Ukraine to report the achievement by the end of the political cycle, has triggered further dramatic events in Ukraine.
The public attitude is increasingly confused by the info-wars, seeking refuge in conspiracies. President Poroshenko is the biggest beneficiary of the accident, giving him an opportunity to label his political opponents, rejecting his ascendancy in Kiev as a coup-d’état, as ‘terrorists’, reinvigorating the military crackdown in the south-east. The shadow of the crime cast on the rebels, will unleash his hand completely, although he did not pay much attention to the methods of convicting his political opponents previously.
Paradoxically, Poroshenko’s advantages at the same time are illusions, fading away in close-up, that reveal his incapacity to guarantee security to the European and international endeavours. It is rubbing off on the reputation of the Ukraine, bringing considerable financial losses while the air companies begin to avoid the Ukrainian sky. Blaming the Kremlin for the failures of Ukrainian government to guarantee security of flights, including an adequate assessment of the situation in the sky of the south east, the West is diminishing the authorities in Kiev.
Att peka på den ryske presidenten som ansvarig återför Ukraina på ett visst sätt till den ukrainska socialistiska sovjetrepublikens mönster, med Kreml i befäl, vilket bidrar till bilden av Ukraina som en misslyckad stat, som under 24 år av självständighet inte kunde bygga sin egen funktionella stat.
Passionerna för framtiden för förbindelserna mellan EU och Ryssland svävar högt, men det finns knappast någon som kan förutse hur lågt situationen kan sjunka. Det finns en stark beslutsamhet från den amerikanska administrationen att sträva efter att Europa följer i deras fotspår för att minska utbytet med Ryssland.
Meanwhile there is a ongoing assault of  Kiev’s troops in the area of the plane crash. The OSCE experts confirm that only civilian targets are being shot. The world is lamenting the perished passengers of MH17, while the death toll in eastern Ukraine mounts, with more than 250 civilians killed in Lughansk. Local social networks users discuss recent damages, ongoing fires, ruined houses and  dead to be buried.
Depicting the horrors of war in ongoing assaults of  Kiev troops in the North of Donetsk local inhabitant Irina Grebenyuk concludes, that for the West their lives do not count: ‘We are not Malaysians.’

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