Fears of World War 3 are growing in the wake of the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 as nations around the globe ramp up the rhetoric against Vladimir Putin and Russia.
The flight was taken down on Thursday after being struck with a surface-to-air missile fired by Ukrainian rebels. There is mounting evidence that Russia supplied the rebels with the sophisticated weaponry needed to take down the aircraft, which was flying above 30,000 feet when it was struck.
There were 298 people killed in the crash, including 193 from the Netherlands. On Saturday, the Dutch Prime Minister said he had a “very intense” conversation with Russian leader Vladimir Putin, and later publicly demanded Russia’s cooperation in the investigation of MH17.
“He has one last chance to show he means to help,” Mark Rutte said after his conversation with Putin.
There are whispers of a World War 3 within the Netherlands, as rage toward Russia mounts. One newspaper printed pictures of rebel commanders with the giant headline “Murderers” and the daily De Telegraaf called on the Dutch government to alter its current policy of restraint towards Russia.
“The government must make clear to the world that we are beside ourselves with rage,” the newspaper said.
Many others have grown angry with both Russia and Ukrainian separatists for their interference with the investigation. Rebels near the MH17 crash site have denied access to international teams of investigators, and there are reports that dead bodies have been looted of cash and valuables.
— Nazanine Moshiri (@nazaninemoshiri) July 20, 2014
The United States has also taken notice. A statement on Saturday from the State Department called out the Russian-backed separatists and demanded that they allow full access to the site.
The statement read:
We are deeply concerned by the Russia-backed separatists’ refusal to allow OSCE monitors safe and unfettered access to the crash site of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17. Yesterday, the monitors were allowed only 75 minutes at the site. Today, they were allowed less than three hours. Thus far, the separatists have only allowed monitors to have limited access to a small area. The site is not secure, and there are multiple reports of bodies being removed, parts of the plane and other debris being hauled away, and potential evidence tampered with. This is unacceptable and an affront to all those who lost loved ones and to the dignity the victims deserve.
It is critical that there be a full, credible, and unimpeded international investigation as quickly as possible. Russia-backed separatists committed Thursday to allowing full access to international observers and response teams and Russia supported an OSCE statement calling for the same. We urge Russia to honor its commitments and to publicly call on the separatists to do the same. – Jen Psaki, department spokeswoman
The sharp rhetoric extends beyond Europe. Papua New Guinean prime minister Peter O’Neill also called for action against those responsible for the crash of flight MH17.
“There needs to be a United Nations-led investigation into the crash of this aircraft. If it is found that this aircraft was brought down by human action, justice must be sought,” he said.
While most of the nations so far have only used statements to put public pressure on Russia and Vladimir Putin, there are fears that it could spark into a global conflict. Ukrainian prime minister Arseny Yatseniuk has already accused Russia of trying to start World War 3 with its initial invasion of Ukraine and its support of anti-government rebels.