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2014年7月26日 (土)

(社説)旅客機撃墜 ロシアに究明の責任

EDITORIAL: Russia must clarify cause of Malaysia Airlines jet crash
(社説)旅客機撃墜 ロシアに究明の責任
July 23, 2014

No attack against a commercial airliner can ever be condoned. When one occurs, the international community has a

duty to thoroughly investigate to help keep the skies safe.

On July 21, the U.N. Security Council unanimously passed a resolution condemning the July 17 downing of Malaysia

Airlines flight MH17 in eastern Ukraine.

The resolution also demanded that armed groups in control of the region

provide international investigators with "unfettered access" to the crash site.

This unanimous vote was at least an improvement over the Security Council's pattern in recent years, which was to

split into the United States-Europe camp and the Russia-China camp.


Russia, a permanent Security Council member at the heart of global suspicions surrounding the airliner's crash, had

no choice this time but to approve the resolution. Russia now owes it to the world to answer questions and volunteer

to investigate the tragedy to get to the bottom of it.


But investigations are going anything but smoothly. There are strong suspicions that pro-Russian armed groups that

control the region were involved in downing the airliner. But even in the aftermath of this terrible tragedy, these

separatist militants have shown an appalling disregard for the norms of proper behavior.


Right after the crash, they sabotaged the Special Monitoring Mission of the Organization for Security and Co-

operation in Europe by removing plane debris and bodies from the crash site.

Although the separatists finally handed over some bodies and the plane's black boxes on July 22, they may have

already destroyed or concealed vital evidence.


Their actions have fanned the ire of the international community and stoked anger at Russia, which is believed to be

backing them.

President Vladimir Putin should take the situation gravely.

The U.S. government is leaning toward the belief that the airliner was shot down by the separatists. Washington has

stated that the missile used for the attack had been brought from Russia.


Pieces of information are being presented that strengthen Washington's allegations. The materials being disclosed,

none of which are frivolous, include communication records in which the separatists are heard to confirm the attack

immediately after the plane went down, and photos claiming to be those of the missile vehicle in question being

transported to Russian territory after it launched a missile.


The Russian Defense Ministry is hinting at the possibility that Ukraine was responsible for the attack, but there is no

watertight evidence to corroborate the claim.

If Russia continues to obfuscate and evade responsibility, it will eventually have to pay a heavy price.

The European Union used to be more cautious than the United States whenever the issue of imposing sanctions

against Russia cropped up. This was in consideration of economic issues related to natural gas transactions and other

matters, but the European attitude toward Russia has now begun to harden because many of the victims of the

tragedy were Europeans.


Putin has tried to push Russia's national interests not only on the Crimean Peninsula, but also in eastern Ukraine. He

ought to understand that his hard-line policy will eventually drive Russia into isolation.


--The Asahi Shimbun, July 23


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