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PENTAGON: Russia Likely Helped Militants Who Shot Down The Plane
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PENTAGON: Russia Likely Helped Militants Who Shot Down The Plane

Paul Szoldra
BUSSINESS INSIDER






Pentagon spokesman Rear Admiral John Kirby said Friday that it "strains credulity" to think pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine who are believed to have shot down Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 didn't have at least some help from Moscow.

"It strains credulity to think that they could do this without some measure of Russian support and assistance," Kirby said, in a briefing at the Pentagon.

Just 25 miles from Donetsk in pro-Russian held territory, the flight carrying 298 passengers and crew was shot down on Thursday, killing everyone on board. The U.S. believes it was likely brought down by an SA-11 missile fired from a Buk surface-to-air missile system.


While he said more details would emerge in a deep investigation of the incident, Kirby noted the SA-11 is a "sophisticated piece of technology" that would likely require technical assistance from Russia.

In June, the U.S. State Department accused Russia of sending tanks and other heavy military equipment to the separatists in the east, including T-64 tanks and several rocket launchers.

Late that same month, Air Force Gen. Philip Breedlove said, "What we see in training on the east side of the border is big equipment, tanks, APCs, anti-aircraft capability, and now we see those capabilities being used on the west side of the border," while the NATO commander added the U.S. had not observed training on man-portable anti-aircraft weapons, but had seen "vehicle-borne capability being trained."

Kirby, in his Friday briefing, continued:

"There have been Russian, I mean there have been incursions across the border by Russian aircraft. So, I mean we don't have any reason to suspect that they have not provided some measure of support on the other side of that border. These paramilitary forces that we do not talk about as much anymore certainly didn't act or behave or organize or resource like some ragtag militia. So nobody is suggesting that Russian military advice and assistance hasn't somehow crossed that border. It's just unclear exactly how much and when and who."


Shortly after the airliner had crashed, pro-Russian militants were reportedly caught on leaked phone calls, apparently discussing the shooting before eventually realizing they had shot down a civilian aircraft instead of a military target.

In one of the leaked calls, one militant asks, "What was it doing in Ukraine's territory?" Another, identified as Nikolay Kozitsin, responds, "That means they were carrying spies. F--- them, got it? ... They shouldn't be f---ing flying. There is a war going on."

On Thursday, an Associated Press reporter spotted seven rebel-owned tanks parked at a gas station in the town of Snizhne, where he also saw a Buk missile system.

Kirby also noted the continuous buildup of regular Russian army troops on the other side of the border, which he said now stands between 10,000 and 12,000 soldiers.

While much of the world is pointing the finger at Moscow's support for the insurgency in the east, Russian President Vladimir Putin has suggested the Ukrainian government is to blame.



Here's The Ridiculous Way Russia's Propaganda Channel Is Covering The Downed Malaysia Airliner


Paul Szoldra

Kremlin-backed Russia Today is covering the shoot down of a Malaysia Airlines passenger plane in the only way it knows how: blaming everyone except the Russian government.

Leading its website just one day after the plane was downed in pro-Russian rebel-held territory with 298 people onboard, RT's main headline is to a video of the U.N. Security Council discussion on the topic, along with other headlines that insinuate it was Malaysia Airlines' fault for flying over the area.

"Questions over why Malaysia plane flew over Ukrainian warzone," one headline reads. Another, under its military vertical "Op-Edge," asks "Why was MH17 flying through a war zone where 10 aircraft have been shot down?"

Noticeably absent is any mention of Russian support for the separatists in eastern Ukraine believed responsible, who were caught on an audio recording talking about the plane, after they apparently realized they had shot it down.

In one leaked call, one militant asks, "What was it doing in Ukraine's territory?" Another, identified as Nikolay Kozitsin, responds, "That means they were carrying spies. F--- them, got it? ... They shouldn't be f---ing flying. There is a war going on."

On the route, according to a Malaysia Airlines spokesman speaking to the Telegraph: "This route is an approved route. Fifteen out of 16 airlines use this route. It's a safe route — most other countries use this route. So we were not given any notice to change this."

RT's coverage shouldn't come as a surprise, however. Soon after the crash, Russian President Vladimir Putin attempted to blame the government of Ukraine for the disaster.

An interview on the site published Friday parroted this narrative under the headline, "Malaysia airplane tragedy is a wakeup call to the Ukrainian govt to stop what it is doing."

In response to what she called a "total disregard for the facts," RT Correspondent Sarah Firth resigned from the channel on Thursday, according to BuzzFeed. "When this story broke I ran back into the newsroom and saw how we were covering it already and I just knew I had to go," she said.

The channel also had a similar record in its coverage of Russia's annexation of Ukraine's Crimea.



Source: www.businessinsider.com/pentagon-russia-rebel-training-missiles-2014-7

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