Ever since Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 was inexplicably blown out of the sky over Ukraine, many outside of Russia highly suspected that Russian separatists were behind the ugly tragedy. Russia, meanwhile, has refused to accept any connection to the downing of the jet, claiming MH17's horrible end was the fault of the Ukrainian military.
But a metal fragment taken from the Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 crash site that has been highly scrutinized, studied, and undergone a myriad of tests, is putting Russia's feet of denial to the fire, reports Reuters.
The piece of metal was found by a Dutch reporter months ago near MH17's final resting place, according to Dutch broadcaster RTL. And now that the fragment has been examined, it is believed to be a piece of a Russian BUK, surface-to-air missile, damning evidence against a more and more aggressive Russia that has been flexing its considerable muscle not just in Ukraine, but also around the world.
Two hundred and ninety-eight passengers and crew were lost with the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17, which occurred last July. The doomed Malayasia Airlines flight left behind a horrific and widespread debris field, an area that the Russian separatists strong-armed at the time, limiting access to investigators and the recovery of those who had gone down with MH17.
According to RTL, the alleged piece of Russian missile was sent to London where it was tested extensively by IHS Jane's, a defense analyst group. Their analysis led to the conclusion that the metal fragment from the MH17 debris field was part of an explosive charge from a Russian BUK anti-aircraft missile system.
Russia's Foreign Minister, Sergei Lavrov, wasted no time in responding to the RTL broadcast which left little doubt that Russia bears much responsibility for Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17's being shot down. In his statements, Lavrov strongly requested an "unbiased and transparent" investigation into the demise of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17.
Whether or not the Russian Foreign Minister's "unbiased and transparent" investigation will ever actually take place will remain to be seen, but in the mean time, the pivotal downing of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 will remain a festering wound that has now seemingly been torn open wider.
Current sanctions by Western countries against Russia and their separatist counterparts in Ukraine will likely ratchet even higher should this new evidence further implicate Russia.
At the same time, the Dutch Safety Board reacted to the new evidence by saying that its ongoing investigation into Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 being shot down was in "full progress and focuses on many more sources than only the shrapnel... Additional investigation material is welcome, but it is imperative that it can be indisputably shown that there is a relationship between the material and the downed aircraft."
But, regardless who the MH17 investigations ultimately blame, the Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 families will have to continue to live with the senseless tragedy.
[Image by Rob Stothard and Brendan Hoffman, Getty Images News]