Moscow celebrates another disgraceful American concession after Helsinki

Putin and the Trump couple pose with a soccer ball Putin gave Donald Trump earlier following their one-on-one (with translators only) meeting in Helsinki, Finland on July 16, 2018 (Image: kremlin.ru)

Putin and the Trump couple pose with a soccer ball Putin gave Donald Trump earlier following their one-on-one (with translators only) meeting in Helsinki, Finland on July 16, 2018 (Image: kremlin.ru) 

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Major acts of betrayal like selling out Ukraine or calling into question American responsibilities to its NATO allies are not the only signs of a more insidious process that is now at work in Washington: a willingness to back away from anything that the Putin regime doesn’t like.

That happened this week when the US Department of State removed from its website a report on the downing of the Malaysian passenger liner MH17 that included a condemnation of Russia for its role in that horrific event. Not surprisingly, Moscow is pleased, especially because it is linking this act to the recent Helsinki summit.

Picking up on the US publication, Business Insider, Moscow’s Izvestiya reported that the Department had removed the post it had prepared on the shooting down of the plane “after the meeting of Presidents Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump in Helsinki.”

It notes that “journalists had found in the cached version of the website of the US embassy in Moscow this document which for a certain time appeared on the main page of the diplomatic representation but then disappeared.”

The version that was taken down said, Business Insider reported and Izvestiya repeated, that “four years after the destruction of the MH17 the world still is waiting for Russia’s recognition of its role.” Queried about this, the State Department’s press office refused to comment saying only that “the US position on the catastrophe has not changed.”

But words matter.

Taking down a post which says as all independent investigators have found that Russia was behind this act of state terrorism represents a serious act of betrayal not only of Ukraine but of the truth. Perhaps even more ominously, it shows just how far down into American officialdom Trump’s deference to what Putin wants has penetrated.

While the Izvestiya report cast itself as straight news, its appearance provides clear evidence that the Kremlin is thrilled by this further piece of evidence of just how far some in Washington are now prepared to go not to offend Putin but rather carry water for him. He will certainly read it as another indication that at least for now, he can continue to push.

The full text of the statement the State Department prepared but never issued regarding the anniversary of the downing of Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 over Ukraine (Source: ForeignPolicy.com):

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE
Office of the Spokesperson
For Immediate Release
July 17, 2018

Statement by Heather NAUERT, SPOKESPERSON

Remembering the Shoot Down of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17

Today marks the fourth anniversary of the downing of Malaysia Flight #17 (MH-17) over eastern Ukraine and the horrific deaths of 298 civilians.  We again offer our deepest condolences to their families.

Four years after the downing of MH-17, the world still awaits Russia’s acknowledgement of its role.  The United States has complete confidence in the findings of the Joint Investigation Team (JIT), including those announced on May 24, 2018, and in the JIT’s ongoing work.  Based on an extensive compilation of images and other evidence, the JIT provided conclusive evidence that the BUK Transporter Erector Launcher (TELAR) from which the missile that downed MH-17 was fired, came from Russia’s 53rd Anti-aircraft Missile Brigade, a unit of the Russian army.  Like a fingerprint, the combination of matching characteristics derived from the JIT’s images clearly and conclusively proves that the BUK TELAR that downed MH-17 came from the 53rd Brigade in Russia, was brought into sovereign Ukrainian territory from Russia, was fired from Russia-controlled territory in eastern Ukraine, and was then returned to Russian territory.

It is time for Russia to cease its callous disinformation campaign and fully support the next investigative phase of the JIT and the criminal prosecution of those responsible for the downing of flight MH-17.  We will never forget the 298 innocent civilian lives tragically lost on that day, and we call for justice on their behalf.

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Edited by: A. N.

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