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More Than 80% of Russians Blame Ukrainian Army for Malaysia Airlines Crash

Published: July 31, 2014 (Issue # 1822)



  • People wait in line to sign a memorial book, lay flowers and light candles in memory of the victims of Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 passengers at Schiphol airport in Amsterdam.
    Photo: Pejman Akbarzadeh / Persian Dutch Network / Wikimedia Commons

Eighty-two percent of Russians believe the Ukrainian army is to blame for the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17, a poll released Wednesday by the independent Levada Center showed, as the investigation into the tragedy suffered yet another setback Wednesday.

A mere 3 percent of respondents to the poll bought into the Western version of events and pinned the blame for the July 17 disaster — in which nearly 300 people were killed — on pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine. The overwhelming majority echoed the Russian government's official line and pointed the finger at the Ukrainian military.

One percent of respondents cited pilot error, and another 1 percent technical malfunction. Two percent said they believed a bomb had exploded on board the plane, and another 16 percent expressed difficulty in answering the question.

The poll, conducted from July 18 to 24 among 1,501 adults in six major cities, reflects the polarizing effect the tragedy has had on Russia and the West. Its publication follows on the heels of another round of sanctions by the U.S. and the European Union over what they say is Russia's aggressive policies in Ukraine, where more than 1,000 people have been killed since mid-April as pro-Russian separatists battle Ukrainian troops.

More than 10 days after the downing of the passenger plane shocked the world and thrust what had previously been a mostly domestic conflict in Ukraine into the international arena, there are more questions than answers regarding who is responsible for the loss of 298 lives.

Observers from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe headed back to the nearby city of Donetsk on Wednesday after a failed attempt to access the wreckage site. Pro-Russian separatists in the area had refused to let them through over safety concerns amid ongoing fighting in the area, the Associated Press reported.

Ukrainian security official Andriy Lysenko said at a news briefing Wednesday that the rebels had "mined the approaches to this area [the crash site]. This makes the work of international experts impossible."

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ALL ABOUT TOWN

Saturday, Dec. 27


Indulge cultural and material needs simultaneously during the free classical music concert at the Galeria shopping mall in the heart of the city. Starting at 7 p.m., shoppers and mallwalkers will be able to hear the sounds of Tchaikovsky and Strauss softly lilt over the constant buzz of people bustling from store to store, trying to get their shopping done before New Year.



Sunday, Dec. 28


Prepare for the holidays at the Russian Winter New Year’s Fair on Moskovskaya Ploshchad, which concludes today after starting on Dec. 22. Games and attractions as well as numerous performances will be on offer for those looking to get into the spirit while numerous vendors will help make sure you have something for everyone on your list.



Monday, Dec. 29


Learn how the Swedes observe Christmas, or Jul, in their land of ice and snow, during aSwedish Christmas celebration at the Lermontov Children’s Library this afternoon at 4 p.m. Activities explaining and demonstrating Sweden’s cultural traditions will be accompanied by traditional dishes and sweets.



Tuesday, Dec. 30


Today is the final day of the Christmas Market at the Europolis shopping center on Polyustrovsky prospekt. Indulge your holiday sweet tooth by tucking into some gingerbread men, or attend one of the master classes that will teach you about how to make beautiful, festive decorations for your tree using only your hands.



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