Malaysia Airlines Flight 17: Eight unansweredquestions
(CNN) -- Amid the chaos and the grief, the politics and the fingerpointing, we are no closer to answering some key questions about the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17. The crash, whichkilled all 298 aboard, has turned a volatile Ukrainian region into a globalproblem.
Here are eight questions we don'tyet have the answers to.
1. Who shot down the plane?
Only a full investigation can settlethat. This much we know: Flight MH17 was shot down using a surface-to-airmissile in Ukrainian territory that's controlled by pro-Russian rebels.
Ukraine's government says it has"compelling evidence" that a Russian-supplied battery, manned byRussian operatives, fired the missile. The United States has also pointed thefinger at the Russian-trained rebels.
"We have a video showing alauncher moving back through a particular area there, out into Russia, with atleast one missing missile on it," Secretary of State John Kerry said onCNN's State of the Union on Sunday.
But Russia has denied anyinvolvement. So have the rebels, who accuse the Ukrainians of downing the plane-- without offering proof.
2. Why would anyone target a passenger plane?
If indeed the rebels are behind theattack, they may have mistaken the plane for a Ukrainian military craft. In thepast few months, the rebels have used surface-to-air missiles to bring downmore than a dozen planes, including two transport aircraft, the U.S. Embassy in Kiev said.
Shortly after the crash, IgorStrelkov, the self-proclaimed defense minister of the Donetsk People'sRepublic, claimed on social media that the rebels had shot down a militarytransport plane. Those posts were later deleted once it turned out the planewas a civilian aircraft.
"It has the earmarks of amistaken identification of an aircraft that they may have believed wasUkrainian," Arizona Sen. John McCain told MSNBC.
3. Why was the plane flying over a war zone?
Most airlines follow rules set bynational civil aviation authorities and take the most direct route available,said Mary Schiavo, a former inspector general of the U.S. Department ofTransportation.
The Malaysia Airlines flight leftAmsterdam for Kuala Lumpur. It flew over eastern Ukraine, which is a commonroute for international carriers.
Last week, Eurocontrol, the agencyresponsible for coordinating European airspace, said Ukrainian authorities hadclosed airspace in the region below 32,000 feet, but it was open at the levelFlight 17 was flying (33,000 feet).
"There's a lot of questions tobe asked in a lot of different places," CNN aviation analyst Miles O'Briensaid. "Why didn't government officials close off that airspace completely?32,000 feet, that's a completely arbitrary number."
4. When will international investigators get access tothe crash site?
No one knows.
A U.N. Security Council meetingended early Monday morning, with Australia introducing a resolution that calledfor a swift international investigation.
"There's no doubt that at themoment the site is under the control of the Russian-backed rebels. And giventhe almost certain culpability of the Russian-backed rebels in the downing ofthe aircraft, having those people in control of the site is a little likeleaving criminals in control of a crime scene," Australia's Prime MinisterTony Abbott said Monday.
But Russia, which has veto power aspermanent member of the council, wants a modified resolution -- one that leavesout Ukraine from any investigation.
5. Where are the so-called black boxes?
The rebels say they have recoveredsomething, but can't be certain those are the flight data and cockpit voicerecorders.
"These are some technicalobjects. We cannot say for sure these are black boxes," rebel leader AlexBorodai told CNN.
Finding the devices is crucial;they will offer vital clues to the plane's last moments.
What happens to the black boxes isalso unclear.
In audio intercepts released by theUkrainian government, a rebel leader is heard saying that Moscow is veryinterested in the black boxes and urges his followers to look for themurgently. (CNN can't vouch for the authenticity of the audio).
6. Have all the victims' bodies been recovered?
There's no way to tell.
Rebels are keeping most of thebodies in two refrigerated train cars about 10 miles away from the site. Andwhile international observers confirmed they saw "dozens and dozens"of bodies in the train, there was no way to verify the total.
Who were the victims?
7. What will happen to the remains?
That, too, is mired in politics. Noone yet knows when they will be identified or where they will end up.
Alex Borodai, the rebel leader,says he'd rather hand over the remains to relatives -- but only after"experts" examine them. He says he fears if the remains are turnedover to Ukraine, the government would use them as evidence to blame hisfighters for shooting down the plane.
"I want the bodies,"Selena Fredriksz sobbed at a memorial at Amsterdam's Schiphol Airport onSunday. Her son, 23-year-old Bryce, was one of the passengers on the plane."They can have anything, but the bodies have to come back. Take theiriPhones, take their money, take everything."
8. How will Russia respond?
If an investigation concludes theplane was shot down by rebels using a Russian-supplied missile -- or, worsestill, by Russians themselves -- President Vladimir Putin will have twochoices. And neither, says Professor Daniel Treisman, works to his advantage.
Putin could reject the conclusionsand stand by the rebels. If he does so, he risks becoming an internationalpariah. The West might also hit Russia with even tougher economic sanctions,enough to cripple its economy and send it into a recession.
Or, Putin could sever ties with therebels. But that could present problems too.
"A relentless barrage ofpropaganda has convinced many Russians that their co-ethnics in Donetsk andLuhansk are being massacred by troops commanded by a fascist regime inKiev," said Treisman, who teaches political science at the University ofCalifornia, Los Angeles, and who authored the book, "The Return: Russia'sJourney from Gorbachev to Medvedev."
"For Putin to bow tointernational pressure and abandon his former charges would look likecowardice."
Floki • 13 hours ago
The US is warning Russia not to "back" rebels.Very destabilizing, dontcha know.
Meanwhile, the US and half a dozen "allies" arebacking rebels in Syria with 100 times the money and weapons.
Justinoinroma • 19 hours ago
there's only one question - do any of you regret electing,and re-electing Obama yet?
Atman • 15 hours ago
The only countries who have gained from this incident areUkraine and USA...
SharonW • 14 hours ago
One question is not asked: What if it IS current Ukrainiangovernment that shot down the plane? What will all these people say then? Justlike last time Ukrainians accidentally shot down Russian airliner in 2001 theydenied it till they could not anymore....
If there were in fact Ukrainian fighter jets next to thatplane? nobody talks about this piece of evidence here.... If Russians DID moveall those things into the rebel area to shoot down the plane, why wasn'tsomebody warned THEN?.... they can find a rocket shot, but they can't notice150 military vehicles crossing the border in question at the moment themovement was happening? Or was this manufactured? Nobody will ever know thetruth... it is unfortunate....
DavyJones • 14 hours ago
How should really qualified journalists work: hold on tothe facts, staying neutral.
How 95% British and USA journalists work: 1st blame Russians on even slightestopportunity, then hold on to the facts. Sometimes.
whocares • 9 hours ago
OK, I'll provide the answers:
1. Who shot down the plane? Pro-Russian Separatists
2. Why would anyone target a passenger plane? Mistaken identity
3. Why was the plane flying over a war zone? Shortest route- company savingfuel
4. When will international investigators get access to the crash site? Doesn'tmatter, investigation will reveal plane shot down by missile
5. Where are the so-called black boxes? see answer to question 4
6. Have all the victims' bodies been recovered? No
7. What will happen to the remains? Returned in due time
8. How will Russia respond? Deny, deny, deny
That wasn't so hard.
Denis • 12 hours ago
The result of investigation doesn't matter. Even if there'sthe proof of ukranian goverment's fault...Obama'll say it's Putin fault.Earthquake in Thailand? Putin's fault. War in Gaza? Putin's fault. Brokeniphone? let's guess....oh! it's Putin's fault!
Rocky • 13 hours ago
Tell me a convincing reason Why the Separatists would wantto shoot down a Civilian Plane to invite international ire
MandyWhite • 14 hours ago
To answer some of the above questions:
1. Former Associated Press reporter Robert Parry has been told by anintelligence source that the United States is in possession of satelliteimagery which shows that Ukrainian troops were responsible for the shoot downof Malaysian Airlines Flight 17.
2. The answer to this one, is to ask "who benefits by shooting down acivilian plane?". Not the Russians
3. I gather that Putin's plane returning from the BRICS conference was on thesame route, just 37 minutes earlier.
As for a proper investigation, I doubt that this will happen. False flags neverhave one.
By deception we wage war.
Johnny • 15 hours ago
don't you think it's strange that no Americans were on thatplane? lots of Americans travel from Europe to Malaysia or other Asiandestinations following the same route.....If it was a random plane hit bymistake by some rebels, there would have been high probability that someAmericans were travelling on the plane.
Yoda • 12 hours ago
Advice to Malaysia; Analyze the FDR on your own. Do nottrust USA, Russia or Ukraine with this one.
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