(Bloomberg) Putin Said to Press Ukraine Gambit After Malaysia Air Hit

President Vladimir Putin will resist mounting pressure to abandon pro-Russian rebels immediately while seeking to convince the world that Ukraine, not the insurgents, shot down Malaysian Air Flight MH17, according to three people familiar with Kremlin discussions.

Putin and his inner circle are nervous that the intensifying standoff with the U.S. and its allies over the insurgency in Ukraine may cripple Russia’s economy, the people said. Still, Putin won’t back down because he refuses to be seen as weak, one of the people said.

The international outrage over the attack on the Boeing Co. 777, which killed 298 people, and the sanctions imposed and threatened by the U.S. and the European Union over Russia’s policies in Ukraine have created a new reality that the leadership is struggling to adapt to, one Putin adviser said. The U.S. says the jet was probably downed by separatists using a Russian-supplied missile and launcher, which they deny.

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3 comments on “(Bloomberg) Putin Said to Press Ukraine Gambit After Malaysia Air Hit

  1. BlueOntario says:

    All politics is local. Through control of the Russian press he’s got his people convinced, and that may be enough for Putin. So many pre-Glasnost echoes…

  2. Dr. William Tighe says:

    How is this affair any different from, or any more censurable than, the shooting down of Iran Air flight #655 in 1988?

  3. Katherine says:

    #2, the USS Vincennes arguably, and wrongly, thought Flight 655 was a fighter jet. Its helicopters were taking fire from Iranian gunboats at the time. It was a horrible error, but at the moment the missile was fired, it was a defensive move.

    In the case of MH17, the missile was shot on offense under the mistaken idea that they were taking down a Ukrainian military transport. In fact, they originally thought that’s what they had shot down, and celebrated it. Once they realized they had shot down a passenger jet, they began insisting that they didn’t do it at all, that the plane was filled with dead bodies to begin with, that it was all a Ukrainian government plot to damage them, etc.

    I realize that Iranians to this day think we shot down #655 knowing it was a commercial flight, but thinking doesn’t make it so. Russians, in their Soviet manifestation, did deliberately shoot down two passenger jets in the 1980s, although that seems not to be the case here.