RUSSIAN leader Vladimir Putin has two choices in the wake of the murder of 298 innocent civilians on board Malaysia Airlines Flight 17. He can either deny all knowledge and any culpability and risk even greater isolation and harsher sanctions from NATO and the United States or he can condemn the actions of local rebel commanders and withdraw support from eastern Ukraine thus allowing Ukrainian forces to move in and tidy up their eastern border. It remains unclear whether the missile used in the tragedy was provided directly by Moscow or stolen from Ukrainian forces by the separatist rebels.
The two scenarios have been put forward by experts including a senior government adviser, who asked not be named, and the head of the Australian Strategic Policy Institute, Peter Jennings. “There is a fair probability that Russia will back off for a couple of years,” the government adviser said. “The ultimate outcome of any denial by Putin would be to see him backed further into a corner. If he has nothing to lose then who knows what might happen.” Dr John Blaxland from the Australian National University said the MH-17 tragedy could trigger an even deeper conflict in the Ukraine.
“Putin may choose not to back down. He has a lot invested in the Ukraine and if he takes that course it won’t be good,’ Dr Blaxland said. “The Russian Army is poised on the Ukraine border.” No one is suggesting an all-out conflict between Russia and the West but an isolated Russia could manifest its anger by supporting the proxy war in the wider Middle East. Russia can easily escalate conflict in Syria or Iran and it can also negate any United Nations efforts at peace by exercising its veto power in the UN Security Council… see more