Experts have finally reached the site where Malaysian Airlines Flight MH17 crashed. With rotting bodies — about 80 of them—to be recovered and investigators set to get new leads into the crash, the focus is now back on the accident. The controversial bringing down of the aircraft has put Ukraine, Malaysia and Russia in a bind. With claims and counter-claims flying between Moscow and Kiev over who shot down the Boeing 777 with 298 people on board, Malaysia could do nothing but mourn. The southeast Asian country, far removed in region and disposition from the Slavik nation, which has been walloped by a protracted geopolitical conflict, found itself in a quandary.
Malaysia was yet to get over the shock of losing Flight MH370 just three months ago, an incident that will go down in aviation history as steeped in mystery — the aircraft is yet to be found. After the latest crash, Kuala Lumpur sounded assertive. It was face to face with a misfortune that was not of its doing. Already bruised, the latest hit on the wound triggered an aggressive reaction. After a stretched period of wrangling, Malaysian authorities are in a position to view the crash up close and take stock of the wreckage and the remains of the passengers. A Malaysian police team has also reached the site. It is unclear how the question of overlapping authority has been settled. A foreign police team operating on foreign soil — it might border on an issue of sovereignty. However, such fine issues of governance would be far removed from the minds of the rulers of a country struggling with a debilitating insurgency and trying to set its house in order after a revolution that threw out an undemocratic regime. Moreover, the resignation of the prime minister — it hasn’t been accepted — has deepened the administrative chaos in Ukraine.
What is most galling is that 298 people who had nothing to do at all with the conflict in Ukraine lost their lives just because they were flying above the region — thousands of feet in the air.
The Ukrainian conflict, which has been passing through a flux, is slowly coming to terms with a change in the balance of power between Moscow and Kiev after Petro Poroshenko took over as president. Though the former Soviet republic has suffered political uncertainty and civil strife for months now, the uptick is that Ukraine has been able to deal with the situation without substantial foreign intervention. Though Europe and the US have stood steadily behind Kiev against Moscow-backed aggression in its former sphere of influence, Ukrainians have largely taken it upon themselves to deal with their plight.
Slavyansk is today Ukraine’s after troops managed to wrest it out of Russia-backed rebels’ control. Petro Poroshenko and his cabinet have been able to make gains in their effort to free the country of insurgents and they should make sure the gains are not reversed•