The Politicized Tragedy
The MH17 incident holds heavy implications for the future of the Ukrainian crisis
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Cover Stories Series 2014> 31> Opinion
UPDATED: July 21, 2014
Hasty Conclusion on Airliner Crash Detrimental to Regional Situation

As there is still no convincing evidence on who is responsible for bringing down the unlucky Malaysian airliner MH17 over eastern Ukraine, any precipitate leap to a conclusion on the crash will only be detrimental to efforts for impartial investigation and calm the situation.

A passenger plane carrying 298 people crashed Thursday at the border area between Ukraine and Russia, with speculation suggesting that it was brought down by a land-to-air missile.

The Boeing 777 jet of the Malaysia Airlines was en route to Kuala Lumpur from Amsterdam when the plane crashed near a Ukrainian village.

As international investigation is pending, officials from the United States, Australia and other western countries have already pointed their fingers at the rebels in eastern Ukraine and blamed Russia for the escalating violence there.

The accusation was apparently rash when the officials acknowledged they did not know for the time being who are responsible for the attack, while condemning Russia's military intervention.

The one-sided accusation is not surprising in light of their long-time stance on the crisis in eastern Ukraine, and their attitude towards Russia's absorption of Crimea in March.

But without convincing evidence, jumping to a conclusion will only heighten regional tension and is not conducive to finding out the truth.

Russian President Vladimir Putin late Thursday said it is Ukraine that bears the responsibility as the tragedy occurred over its territory.

The tragedy, Putin said, could have been avoided should Ukraine's eastern regions be in peace.

While the two sides trade barbs over the incident, the top priority for now is to work together to determine the cause of the crash and find out the real culprits, if any, behind the incident.

Any unilateral move before that would only further complicate the situation in a place where conflict has already brought enough pain to local residents.

The escalating violence in eastern Ukraine has killed hundreds of people and displaced tens of thousands.

At a time of grief and anger, excising restraint and remain sensible is the only the way to get at the truth.

"There is clearly a need for a full and transparent international investigation" into the plane crash in Ukraine, said U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon Thursday.

If the plane turned out to have been shot down by a missile, the perpetrators should be brought to justice despite their motives and excuses, as it was an intolerable terrorist attack which took the lives of nearly 300 people.

Those victims, coming from different countries, never meant to involve in a conflict that could be thousands of miles away from their homeland. But they are now lying breathless on a foreign ground with their bodies waiting to be confirmed and retrieved.

The tragedy serves a stark reminder that any regional instability could have disastrous impact on anyone in any quarter of the globe.

When the world has once again plunged into grief over the disaster, the stop of bloodshed and violence is needed more than any time, not only in eastern Ukraine, but also in Gaza, in Iraq, and many other regions around the world.

(Xinhua News Agency July 18, 2014)

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