I cannot help but think this should never have happened. I am appalled at the irreverence for the site. I also feel that the personal belongings scattered around should not appear in the media, due to the anguish the sight of them may cause to the relatives that recognize them.
Photograph by Dominique Faget/AFP/Getty Images
Published July 21, 2014
Bands of pink and purple sky threw a mountain of mine rock into dark relief as the sun rose over the hills of eastern Ukraine. On a low rise, a rebel fighter scanned the horizon with binoculars, searching long grass for the bodies of those killed in the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17.
Walking from the main crash site—a ruin of black grass, scorched earth, and melted aluminum rivulets—Volodya Bogdanov crunched down a gravel trail in his military boots. At a turn, he stopped and walked over to the body of a little girl. He and the other rebels had covered her face the night before with a section of soft, yellow insulation, out of respect for the dead.
"How could they do such a thing? How could they kill a little girl?" he said, a look of shock on his face. Most of the fighters had been up all night, guarding the perimeter of the crash site. His face, like those of the others, was white with strain and disbelief.
His question—which accused the Ukrainian army of culpability—highlighted the confused situation on the ground here. The crash had shocked the rebels, to be sure, and yet it could be seen as deepening their already strong resolve to fight against the authorities in Kiev after losing the rebel stronghold of Slovyansk more than two weeks ago.
The version of events on the ground at the crash site was deeply at odds with the scenario described by American and other officials: that Russian-backed separatists using an SA-11 Buk radar-guided missile launcher had brought down the airliner by mistake. Vitaly Naida, the head of Ukraine's counterintelligence branch, said he had "compelling evidence" that the missile system had been brought over the border from Russia and then pulled out after the passenger jet was downed.
Wiretaps by the Ukrainian security service allegedly show that three Buk-M1 systems were transported into eastern Ukraine for use by the rebels. On one recording, made on July 17, a separatist asks, "Where should we load this beauty?"
When the alleged intelligence officer asks him what he is talking about, referring cagily to a "B ... M," the rebel replies, "Yes, yes, Buk, Buk." In another recording, an alleged Russian intelligence officer in Ukraine spoke with his boss in Russia, saying, "Thank God the Buk-M arrived today in the morning. Things got easier."
Further, on the day of the attack, Igor Girkin, a former Russian intelligence officer now serving as military commander of the rebels, claimed responsibility on his VKontakte social media page for the downing of a Ukrainian military transport plane just before it became known that Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 had been downed. Soon after the news of Flight 17 became widely known, Girkin, who goes by the nom de guerre of Strelkov, erased the post.
As rebels remain in control of the crash site, key evidence remains out of reach of investigators, though Dutch forensic experts were able to inspect some of the bodies being stored in refrigerated train cars in the nearby town of Torez today. Flight 17's black boxes remain in the hands of the rebels—though Aleksandr Borodai, the self-proclaimed prime minister of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic, has said the recorders will be turned over to the proper authorities.
Further recordings from the Ukrainian security service purport to show Aleksandr Khodakovsky, commander of the Vostok Battalion, saying, "I have a task—it is not my task. Our comrades from on high are very interested in the fate of the black boxes. What I mean is Moscow ... Make sure that everything that is found doesn't fall into the hands of strangers."
On Monday, the UN Security Council will vote on a resolution that condemns the downing of the plane, demands that those responsible be held accountable, and requires that armed groups not compromise the integrity of the crash site. The resolution, led by Australia—which lost 37 citizens in the attack—will be supported by Russia as long as it does not place blame on Moscow, the Australian Financial Review reported.
Walking through the long grass around the back of the main crash site, Bogdanov—who faces a 15-year prison sentence for carrying arms against the state if captured by the Ukrainian army—described the afternoon of the crash.
"I heard two big claps. Bookh! ... Bookh!" as he sat in his house nearby, watching television. He ran outside. "It fell like a corkscrew, in seconds," he said. He did not know what had downed the plane. Other villagers said they thought they were being bombed. As it happened, the main body of the plane came crashing down across a country lane just a hundred yards from his house.
The massive inferno devoured everything in sight, leaving just the heavy metal of an engine and a landing carriage. The underside of the wings were intact.
Around 3:30 a.m., just as the first light was rising after the crash, the ground was still warm at the crash site. Aircraft aluminum had melted in the heat and re-formed into rivulets of frozen silver across the black ground. Blackened heaps were visible everywhere. Projecting through one was a white spinal column. A femur was visible in another. (This reporter slept on the ground at the crash site for a time and woke up to find that he had been lying near a body.)
Walking past the body of the little girl, Bogdanov and two other rebels circled around the back of the crash site. Though genuinely shocked by the crash, he was still able to talk clearly about the goals of the months-old insurgency.
"How many states do you have there in America? There, one state has one set of laws, and another state has another set of laws. That's what we want here. It's not going to be like we're leaving Ukraine. It will be like in the U.S. We'll be together, but they'll listen to us more. Right now, they don't listen to us at all," he said of the Donetsk and Lugansk regions—once the center of the Soviet coal-mining industry but now fallen on hard times.
"Just gather your weapons and get out of here," he said. "Simply get out of here, and we'll forget about them and they'll forget about us," he said of the government in Kiev. "Just let it go and walk away."
But with a UN Security Council resolution looming, fighting and an artillery barrage raging on the edge of Donetsk from the early morning into the late afternoon today, and access limited to the crash site, it seems unlikely that any of the parties at this table will be able to walk away anytime soon.
Two aspects of great insensitivity here. One is the description of the girl...there were not that many that the few families that she might have belonged to would read this and despair even more....
The second is the picture of the belongings. How many would have owned the red hat?
Se Faz necessário uma grande investigação saber exatamente quem são os Cupados por este trágico acidente!
What saddens me most-but does not shock me in the least-and what makes me so pleased that National Geographic is now sharing News stories is the fact that the rebels from this area are blaming the Ukraine government for the shoot-down., Yet, who is it who is looting the crash site and immediately taking said items into towns and either showing them off or trying to quickly sell them? I don't need to say what current tribe of people this reminds me of...because the truth be known, this could describe people from all over the world. Mankind wants to believe the word: "civilized" has some karmic or cosmic meaning. But it is just a word. Realistically, if we do manage to destroy everything that some of our brightest minds over the past thousand years or so have developed, the rest would quickly sink back into the pits of a time thought to have been forgotten/passed over. And when the guns and ammunition run out, and the playing field equaled out, one can but imagine what might follow? One thing's certain, there won't be a cave left undiscovered in less than a heartbeat. rl
The story of blaming one or another part of the conflict does nit help families of the victims or who will provide secure access to investigators to collect remains of victims and plane parts. In my country there is old say "From the leafs you can not sea forest". It is vary sad to use "accident" like this to point the finger in the bad boys. But who is the real "bad boy" generally. International aviation federation can and must forbid flights over dangerous zone as it was from 1991 till 2010 (or few years earlier) above territory of formal Yugoslavia as a result of war in Bosnia. But someone , not a person but institution, press some buttons and prevent stopping the flights over Ukraine. Behind the scene is interest to sell, to sell informations, to sell news, to "sell" human rights, to sell ideas od good and bad, to sell weapons, to sell money, to sell what ever have interest to be sell. The real thing is to find or just in the moment to point out who is the real "salesman" in order to make small gesture of showing condolences to the families of the plane crash victims. The NG article is realistic as is possible but it is not loud as much as CNN, BBS and similar news agencies instructed "to sell" the truth. Just to remind you that that kind of news agencies during the Russian occupation of Afghanistan the product of CIA named a freedom fighters but thisdays they call them terrorists.
I know that NG is not the place to expose political opinion and let it be like that in order to avoid to become one puzzle in the big picture painted by "big artists". I was provoked from the article written in to NG to write my point of view of the accident as a know-nothing, amateur observer, simpl a reader of NG.
Ukrainians, Russians, rebel separatists - everyone seems to be more concerned about who is to blame. The people who have control to make the decision to lay down arms long enough to let the international recovery operation team come in to collect the dead and report back to the grieving families are all guilty of losing their humanity. They are all contributing to the shameful inhumanity of this situation. Who will be the first to do the right thing?
Those people who called rebels now are the ones whos grandfathers fought against facizm in 1942. They became rebels because its a question of honor. Watch videos on youtube about ukranian nationalists, Lviv nationalists... enter "Second World War veterans was beating by ukrainian nationalists in Lvov" and you will understand who those rebels are fighting against.
Want to know why they want to kill those who fought with facizm? The answer is simple - their grandfathers were for facists, they building memorials to facists, they write - "Division Galitchina is our heroes" (German nazi division formed from ukranian nationalists).
Those black and red flags its Right sector, they are now transformed by ukranian government into "National Guard" to kill those in the east of country who they hated.
So all the Ukraine is a scene where everything is turned upside down, black is white and white is black. Keep it in mind before you believe someone who tell you that its a russians who shot down a plane.
Enter "maydan facists" on youtube and you will see who made a revolution on ukraine and what interests represent Ukraine government today
We used to subscribe to National Geographic. They had the best maps, and the best photography. There were beautiful photographs rich with detail and striking information. It was a society for a long time. One joined the National Geographic Society. One resigned.
Gradually the tenor of the Magazine changed. Perhaps the desire to "make a difference" overcame the desire to provide the best maps and photographs rich with detail and striking information. We were saddened. Our subscription lapsed.
It is easier to give a false impression with photography than with any other media, so it is perhaps most important to protect the ethos of a magazine which specializes in photographs than with other groups.
We look forward to a time when National Geographic rebuilds its ethical foundation. It would be so easy.
I'm not saying that the impression that the piece is giving is false, I am saying that I have no way of knowing.
- IT IS AN UNFORGIVEN CRIME. BUT AS HISTORY TELLS US, NO PUNISHMENT, NOTHING WILL TAKE PLACE. THE 298 DEAD WILL BE FORGOTTEN AND HUMANITY IS CRUCIFIED AGAIN AND AGAIN. THIS CRIME HAS HAPPENED OVER AND OVER IN DIFFERENT SHAPES AND SIZES ALL OVER THE WORLD........SHED A TEAR FOR EVERY VICTIM. THAT IS ALL WE CAN DO.
I generally enjoy National Geographic, but I found this article the opposite of illuminating. Beginning to sound like a James Bond plot and I don't know who to believe. Certainly the portrait here of rebel fighters different from what we've been seeing. This article makes it seem as though rebels trying to help secure site - which, if I was a family member - would be comforting. Thoughts about what's really happening?
Fewer people in the world believe those who lie every now and then, I wonder when Russians will stop believing mass media and officials, start analyzing what is happening around Ukraine. How much time it will take to be independent in thinking from authorities none knows. it is a sort of mental slavery. We grieve about innocents victims, but we also grieve about immaturity of Russians who deserve their government.
Putin and Russia believe the more you tell a lie the more people will believe it. The worst part is that the US and NATO are too spineless to take any action. It's the 1930's all over again with Germany and Nevil Chamberlin only this time it's a spineless Obama that sits on his hands. As far as the UN goes, they are no better than the League of Nations was and should have been disbanded a long time ago. Now they are only all about how much money they can collect from nations. Name one problem they have solved in the last 20 years.
Do not allow Russia to take the evidence. They will use it to influence politics of Holland and Australia. Russia is still investigating the April 2010 tragedy in Smolensk, keeping the evidence, but sending to the world (and National Geographic) untrue statements. Beware!
sorry i hit wrong box. Tom Mulder is ok with iscomment.
Hope puting ever to have at least a little bit of consience and sleep badly
Terrorists and pro-Russian rebels try to hide and tamper with evidence from the crash site -- Ukrainian army tries to secure access for international investigators.
Murderes at the end will never be left alone and if not prosecuted will forever face the deaths they caused by their criminal acts, so mr. Putin ënjoy"the rest of your criminal life.
a tragedy. an avoidable tragedy.
leave ukraine alone!
it's not russia. it's not a place for rebels with guns. as a political strategy it is calous, selfish, agressive. if the rebels believe in russia they could go there, + let ukraine be ukraine; or stay there + learn to be civil + democratic. grow.
"In the coming days to track the sudden death of Ukrainian pilots and missile" - Alexander Rogers.
Some days all feeds were clogged downed "Boeing." He wrote about just everything. And I only just collected links to someone else's material in your blog. But nothing, because it was too early to say.
And now it's time. Let's look consistently. The U.S. and its puppet pig from the start began to shout that the plane was shot down militias (almost before he was shot down that hints). In response, they heard sacramental quote from "Red Heat" in the form of "What is your evidence?"
The U.S. said that the evidence they have. Piglet parrot repeated that the evidence he has.
The Russian Defense Ministry said "Ok, but our evidence" and issued a full alignment on pictures from space and radar readings. At the same time calling the time of flight of the American "experimental" satellite and asking them to provide photos taken.
Russian Defense Ministry data clearly showed that the ability to shoot down aircraft in the area had three batteries Ukrainian "Bukov" for that day were active two Ukrainian radar. Well, for a snack and showed more information about the Ukrainian plane, setting the trajectory of attack aircraft (gaining height and entering the sweet spot of sight).
Ofigev that damn Russian know about the secret satellite everything from the trajectory and speed and ending with his appointment (at this point, I think, a couple of colonels TsRUshnyh lishis titles if you do not shoot) amers depressed.
A couple of days they sat thinking how to get out, but nothing came up. And forced to recognize that the evidence they have "no." In fact they are, but they prove that the plane was hit by a Ukrainian army. Everyone understands it, huh?
Piglet about their "evidence" no longer remembers. And pray that the rest forgotten. But no luck, be it a new Osama bin Laden. Lockerbie Gaddafi has not forgiven, and Piglet will not forgive.
To summarize, there is evidence from the Russian, the Americans and the junta - no. Who shot down - is understandable.
You little evidence? Ok, there will be more.
Only the day before yesterday morning, I wanted to write that in the coming days to track the sudden death of Ukrainian pilots and missile. But went to the meeting and did not have time. Late.
Back, and the news is already there - "During a combat mission commander died uzhgorodets commander SAM Platoon fire support military unit A 1778 Senior Lieutenant Vladimir Chernous."
Remains to find out what happened to his subordinates - I think anything good. Most likely - too casual massively died. Dnepropetrovsk Manager has "disappeared", so that these leads have also been cut off (junta removes all witnesses her crimes).
Remains (possibly) the last living witness - a pilot.
In this regard, I would like to appeal to the pilot: You, of course, a war criminal. But your guide much more criminals, and if you give evidence against them - get a witness protection program. And Russia is able to hide even from Americans living proof Snowden.
So if you want to live - run. And it is urgent, because it may be too late. But do not run anywhere, but in Russia - and surrender to the Investigation Committee.
I blame both Russia and USA for this. Neither countries are interested in their people. their is no democracy in either country. Their is only big multi national companies and governments holding ordinary citizens of the world to ransom.
All politician's are liars all politicians either side are interested in money and power.
How can Israel justify its actions. A race that endured so much misery in the second world war is now the perpetrator of murdering women and children.
And what has God to do with this? There is no God! God is merely a tool used by these countries to claim indemnity. No more than death insurance.
journalist Anatoly Shary found a video channel Ukrainian Defense Ministry, shot the day before the fall of the Malaysian aircraft.
The video recorded SAM "Buk" and radar "Dome" of the armed forces of Ukraine less than a day before the tragedy of the Boeing 777
God rest the souls of the departed in peace. I pray for the bereaved families and I ask God to give you strength at this hour of need.
@Michelle Long Where have you read that someone denied access to the crah site to international experts? bodies were collected right after experts let their permission to do this. This air crash is a ukranian authorities responsibility, how could they let passenger aircrafts go into the zone of military actions??
@Arthur Sergeevich You're right, they are not rebels, they are TERRORISTS. You're grudges and idiotic notions of history are irrelevant. The terrorist scum will be hunted down and destroyed. Deal with it, it is going to happen.
@Hannah Ewing I agree on 1 2 and 3. But on 4 and 5, i totally disagree.
Don't pray. Do something good to fix the world, instead of sitting in a corner and hope.
@Hannah Ewing russians are fighting again with facizm in europe and they are idiots?? russians don't have an anti-air units on the territory of Ukraine, but ukranian army had those SA-11 Buk in a range of air crash. So why do you blame russians I can't understand.
You don't know the real reasons why russian people from the east of ukraine (donbass) want to separate from Ukraine. You want to live in a country governed by a people who make heroes from German nazi divizions?
@Amy Brill Believe me, those people who called rebels now are the ones whos grandfathers fought against facizm in 1942. They became rebels because its a question of honor. Watch videos on youtube about ukranian nationalists, Lviv nationalists... enter "Second World War veterans was beating by ukrainian nationalists in Lvov" and you will understand who those rebels are fighting against
@Amy Brill Mass media from both sides show everything how they want us to see it. I've noticed that too much of information was shown to make people extremely angry and aggressive. For example, news about how badly bodies were taken care of or news with information about drunk rebels, photos of rebels with guns and toy..to show that they are heartless monsters who kill innocent children, info that people stole personal belongings from the place of tragedy. Such kind of news don't bring any actual evidences, they are kind of yellow press to make us furious and they are extremely painful for victims' relatives.There is a big question about who doesn't let experts to visit the place of tragedy and it wasn't very smart 1st to blame rebels and then try to negotiate with them, Malaysians didn't blame anyone and they helped a lot (to get black boxes, to send victim bodies to Netherlands). Let's wait for the time when international experts analyze all evidences (including American photos, Ukrainian audio+photos, Russian photos and other). Then our conclusions will be at least based on something different than common hatred for Russia/Putin or US.
P.S. i don't defend anyone, i just need more serious news based on evidences (not stupid conspiracy theories from unknown blogs or articles which make people emotional and don't prove anything at all).
@Marina Melnikova maybe you will tell russians what has happened? you have some trustworth information? russians provided satellite photos of ukranian army SA-11 Buk positions on the day of catastrophe. And what info was provided by other countries? Nothing... there are sattelites, NATO AWACS are 24/7 monitoring those zone and where is any proof? They said - russian satellite photos are fake and provided other?
No, they told our info is the only one you can trust, but we can't provide any evidencies, just links to some social network posts... Thats not serious.
So I think its not russians who believe its government, its pro-american propaganda. But I think you must look towards some american officials who care about capital of other sponsors.
Who want to get a control over ukranian gas transoprt system? Google Burisma Holdings and how USA VP Baiden is related to it. What country pushes EU countries to stop building South Stream? Thats great combination - USA will have control over the only pipe of russian gas to europe. I think its worth making Putin's image as very bad guy in mass media. So its better you think about what is happening in real
Just try to read Solzhenitsyn's Archipelago Gulag. You will find some answers to you questions. The Soviet era destroyed the independent thinking not only in Russia but in most countries of Eastern Block. Trust me, I am Czech!!
@Eugene Keith anytime you want to sign up with NATO, just let your recruiter know, then we'll see who's spineless.
@Eugene Keith Why don't we wait for the evidence to come in rather than blaming Russia and roaring off to war.
Russia is nothing like Nazi Germans nor was Chamberlain like Obama - it's such an overused analogy that almost, like here, never fits the evidence.
Good for getting people off to wars though.
@Eugene Keith 20 years? You could have written, "50 years."
@tine zimm ))) that not even close to the real things, clown
@antoni millson yeah, civil and democratic... watch videos on youtube fom the west ukraine about facists marches and in Kiev too. There is a high percent of nationalists in the parlament and goverment, the first decision was to deny russian language. That is why they want to leave ukraine.
And that is their land, russian people land, they lived there before ukraine appeared on the map... why should they leave it
I want to understand your point of view, but this translation is unreadable in English. Any chance you could get a different translator?
@kevin burns I agree thats more about big companies interests and their owners who try to get more money or power using any methods. Europeans and americans have their guilty-of-all Russians on mass media, Russians have the same about americans and europeans
@kevin burns there is a God! The all seeing, all knowing God. you should try talking to him.
@Ilya Sadowsky it seems that ukranian army trained to use those anti-aircraft complex on passenger flights. In 2001 they also shot passenger flight during a training, but unfortunately there was no conflict with russian citizens of Ukraine and no Putin to blame as they do now
@Arthur Sergeevich @Michelle Long The only one who has mentioned anything about access being denied is you. I didn't say anything about denial of access. The team according to reports had turned back voluntarily because military action between the factions was preventing safe passage. However negotiations with both the rebels and Ukraine have now had a positive result for which I think the victims' families must be grateful.
@Sviatlana T. @Amy Brill ----- I will go further than Sviatlana and say that I no longer think my opinion matters about "who was the good side and who the bad side" in one of these shouting matches. Those people are dead. What happened is history.
Later there will be consequences for some people, omitted truth-telling, trials, newspaper articles and so forth -- why? Because that is just what people do. We mill around and talk passionately and blame each other and sometimes blame ourselves.
I think our ideas (that we can somehow control these things) are mistaken. I think our certainty (that we know what is right and wrong) is misplaced. I think the usually wicked and occasionally wonderful ways of the world are going to continue as long as we are human.
I now think I can live --- and then die --- with that understanding.
@Amy Brill You can watch on youtube a press conference, just type "Russian defense minister about malaysia plane" or something like that, it will help to understand little bit opinion of people who defend Russia. Translation isn't good for sure but possible to understand. As I understand people don't believe in conspiracy theories but they trust that photos shown during conference are not false.
@Jeremi Rychlewski @Arthur Sergeevich @antoni millson For me facist is those who keeps an ideals of facism and they are now a majority in government and parlament of Ukraine. Watch "Neo-Nazi threat in new Ukraine: NEWSNIGHT" by BBC to understand who are those people
It is a real facism in a western europe that is cultivated on anti-russian propaganda. People don't see a real evil because they are threatened by monster-Putin image made by some mass media
@Sviatlana T. They not false because there are many satellites not only russian up there on an orbit. If they were false others will present other photos but they prefer just not to mention it...
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