Russia did provide missile that shot down Malaysia Airlines Flight 17
Somini Sengupta and Andrew Kramer have an interesting report in the NY Times:
A Dutch-led investigation has concluded that the powerful surface-to-air missile system that was used to shoot down a Malaysia Airlines plane over Ukraine two years ago, killing all 298 on board, was trucked in from Russia at the request of Russian-backed separatists and returned to Russia the same night.
The report largely confirmed the already widely documented Russian government role not only in the deployment of the missile system, called a Buk, or SA-11, but the subsequent cover up, which continues to this day.
The report by a team of prosecutors from the Netherlands, Australia, Belgium, Malaysia and Ukraine was significant for applying standards of evidence admissible in court, while still building a case directly implicating Russia, and is likely to open a long diplomatic and legal struggle over the tragedy. . .
Obviously, the Ukrainian separatists are responsible for firing the missile at the airliner. Russia provided them the missile but was not responsible for targeting the passenger airliner. So Russia in this case is guilty simply of providing arms, which the US does as well: arms deals are a major US export industry, and the US provides arms to groups that target civilians—for example, the US provides the planes and munitions that Saudi Arabia uses to kill large numbers of Yemeni civilians, including the targeting of hospitals. So if Russia is to be punished for provide arms used against civilians, the US should have to answer as well.
And, though the story does not mention it, the US Navy shot down an Iranian airliner, killing everyone on board. The captain of the USS Vincennes, the ship that fired the missile, was William C. Rogers III, and he was awarded the Legion of Merit for his actions while commanding the ship.
I wonder whether those who are outraged that Russia provided a missile to the Ukrainian separatists are similarly outraged at the US Navy for its action in shooting down Irain Air Flight 655, or at the US for selling arms to Saudi Arabia.