International reaction to the downing of a Malaysian Airlines passenger plane over eastern Ukraine largely mirrors that seen in the British press, though with a markedly differing stance from Russia itself as the blame game gets underway.
The Wall Street Journal leads with confirmation from US intelligence officials that a surface to air missile had been used to bring down the plane, although analysts remain divided as to whether this was a direct action by the Russian military or by their proxies operating across the Ukrainian border.
In an editorial the paper said the incident had ‘… thrust the conflict there back to the top of the international agenda, altering the arc of the crisis and scrambling the calculations of Russian, American and European leaders.”
Holland’s De Telegraaf meanwhile picks up on contact between Dutch prime minister Mark Rutte and Russian president Vladimir Putin after the latter phoned him directly to indicate he wants an ‘impartial inquiry’ into the crash. The country is in a state of mourning today with all government buildings flying the Dutch flag at half mast.
In Malaysia, still reeling from the mysterious disappearance of flight MH370, the Malay Mail describes the world as ‘seething’ over the downing of MH17. In its front page coverage the title wrote: “Anger deepened around the world today with the United States demanding an “unimpeded” international inquiry after a Malaysian passenger jet was apparently shot down by a missile strike…” The country lost 23 citizens in the disaster.
Russian paper Pravda meanwhile carries denials from Russian officials of any involvement in the disaster, quoting spokespeople from the defense ministry who claimed that the Russian air defence system was not in operation yesterday and that no Russian fighter jets had been in the vicinity of the crash. Instead the paper reports that the plane was ‘most likely shot down by Ukrainian troops’.
It said: “An aircraft flying at an altitude of 10,000 meters can be destroyed only with S-300 or Buk type of weapon. Militias do not and cannot have such systems at their disposal.”