Posted on Feb 03, 2020
“Vladimir Putin’s fingerprints are all over this”, an MEP from the European Conservative and Reformist group (ECR) in the European Parliament told EU Today. “He denies everything, but he deliberately uses the same Modus Operandi, whether it be shooting down an airliner, poisoning spies in foreign countries, or hurling enemies or critics from balconies. He wants us to be in no doubt that it is him.”
The shooting down of Ukrainian International Airlines (UIA) Flight 752 outbound from Tehran and heading for Kyiv, on January 8th 2019 leaves us with more questions than answers.
Questions are being asked now in the European Parliament, and elsewhere: “Was this grotesque mass murder deliberate? Was it ordered by the Kremlin? Were the servicemen operating the TOR missile battery in fact Russian?”
The TOR is an all-weather low to medium altitude, short-range surface-to-air missile system designed for destroying aircraft. It is a “fire and forget” weapon. Once unleashed, the missile cannot be recalled by its low-level and basically trained crew.
It is a matter of record that the S-300 and S-400 surface to air missile batteries in Syria, protecting Russian naval assets and also the Assad regime - one of Russia’s few friends abroad - along with Belarus and North Korea - are operated by Russians, either on the ground, or remotely. Fears have been voiced about Russia’s supply of S-400 systems to Turkey, a NATO member. Is it wise to have advanced surface to air missile systems that can be taken over and controlled by Russia deep inside NATO territory?
From the moment the tragic news of the downing of Flight 752, with the loss of 176 lives broke, the story was deliberately confused. But possibly the most obvious signal that something was wrong was the news that Iran was refusing to hand over the fated aircraft’s black boxes. Whilst Iran has, under international law, the right to oversee any investigation into such a tragedy that takes place on its territory, it is normal in such circumstances for the manufacturer of the aircraft to be brought in from the first moment. In this case, this has not happened.
It is also worthy of note that with significant numbers of aircraft movements out of Tehran on that day, only the UIA flight was targeted.
Another change of tack in this story is the fact that Russia itself is now insinuating, through its paid agents, that Flight 752 was shot down deliberately. Is this a punishment for Iran for confessing its role in this Russian inspired atrocity?
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