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More Than 80% of Russians Blame Ukrainian Army for Malaysia Airlines Crash

Published: July 31, 2014 (Issue # 1822)



  • People wait in line to sign a memorial book, lay flowers and light candles in memory of the victims of Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 passengers at Schiphol airport in Amsterdam.
    Photo: Pejman Akbarzadeh / Persian Dutch Network / Wikimedia Commons

Eighty-two percent of Russians believe the Ukrainian army is to blame for the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17, a poll released Wednesday by the independent Levada Center showed, as the investigation into the tragedy suffered yet another setback Wednesday.

A mere 3 percent of respondents to the poll bought into the Western version of events and pinned the blame for the July 17 disaster — in which nearly 300 people were killed — on pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine. The overwhelming majority echoed the Russian government's official line and pointed the finger at the Ukrainian military.

One percent of respondents cited pilot error, and another 1 percent technical malfunction. Two percent said they believed a bomb had exploded on board the plane, and another 16 percent expressed difficulty in answering the question.

The poll, conducted from July 18 to 24 among 1,501 adults in six major cities, reflects the polarizing effect the tragedy has had on Russia and the West. Its publication follows on the heels of another round of sanctions by the U.S. and the European Union over what they say is Russia's aggressive policies in Ukraine, where more than 1,000 people have been killed since mid-April as pro-Russian separatists battle Ukrainian troops.

More than 10 days after the downing of the passenger plane shocked the world and thrust what had previously been a mostly domestic conflict in Ukraine into the international arena, there are more questions than answers regarding who is responsible for the loss of 298 lives.

Observers from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe headed back to the nearby city of Donetsk on Wednesday after a failed attempt to access the wreckage site. Pro-Russian separatists in the area had refused to let them through over safety concerns amid ongoing fighting in the area, the Associated Press reported.

Ukrainian security official Andriy Lysenko said at a news briefing Wednesday that the rebels had "mined the approaches to this area [the crash site]. This makes the work of international experts impossible."

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ALL ABOUT TOWN

Tuesday, Oct. 21


The Environment, Health and Safety Committee of AmCham convenes this morning at 9 a.m. in the organization’s office.


Take the opportunity to pick the brains of Dmitry V. Krivenok, the deputy director of the Economic Development Agency of the Leningrad region, and Mikhail D. Sergeev, the head of the Investment Projects Department, during the meeting with them this morning hosted by SPIBA. RSVP for the event by emailing office@spiba.ru before Oct. 17 if you wish to attend.


Improve your English at Interactive English, the British Book Center’s series of lessons on vocabulary and grammar in an informal atmosphere. Starting at 6 p.m., each month draws attention to different topics in English, with the topic for this month’s lessons being “visual arts.”



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