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US/ NATO v. Russia - Misperceptions.


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2 minutes ago, panzermartin said:

Why were ariliners allowed to fly over a war zone in the first place? There was already evidence of long range SAM presence in the area. 

1. Airliners fly over warzones, or through areas with active air defense systems all the time.  

2. Because it was likely assumed wherever this mysterious SAM system appeared from would practice some sort of target identification instead of just gunning of anything with wings.  

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6 minutes ago, panzermartin said:

Why were ariliners allowed to fly over a war zone in the first place? There was already evidence of long range SAM presence in the area. 

This has been answered a number of times, especially when Russians try to say it's Ukraine's fault that this all happened.

There was a flight restriction in the zone up to a certain ceiling (I forget what), put into place after Russian AA equipment flooded into Ukraine and in fact shot down Ukrainian aircraft.  It was thought that the higher ceiling was safe because, after all, the "separatists" didn't have sophisticated weapons because they were just poor coal miners.

Individual airlines had to make the call if they would fly over the area or not.  Due to the costs of going around the zone, I'm not sure any had made a decision to avoid the area at the time.  Certainly Russia's own state run airline was flying straight over the combat zone.

Of course Ukraine could have advised the airlines that their airspace was too dangerous and that they should avoid it.  In hindsight they should have.  In hindsight the airlines should have made their own decision to avoid the area.  However, in hindsight Russia should not have shot down a civilian airliner.  Of the three, Russia's lack of judgement is the one that matters the most.

Steve

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2 minutes ago, Battlefront.com said:

This has been answered a number of times, especially when Russians try to say it's Ukraine's fault that this all happened.

There was a flight restriction in the zone up to a certain ceiling (I forget what), put into place after Russian AA equipment flooded into Ukraine and in fact shot down Ukrainian aircraft.  It was thought that the higher ceiling was safe because, after all, the "separatists" didn't have sophisticated weapons because they were just poor coal miners.

Individual airlines had to make the call if they would fly over the area or not.  Due to the costs of going around the zone, I'm not sure any had made a decision to avoid the area at the time.  Certainly Russia's own state run airline was flying straight over the combat zone.

Of course Ukraine could have advised the airlines that their airspace was too dangerous and that they should avoid it.  In hindsight they should have.  However, in hindsight Russia should not have shot down a civilian airliner.

Steve

I just want to say that there is more than one responsible for this. Airline company risking people's life to keep the cost down, Ukraine authorities not correctly estimating that their airspace was not safe. And of course Russia, for providing the BUK and the crew that shooted it down, apparently by mistake. I'm surprised that flying over warzones is considered a normal routine though for airlines @panzersaurkrautwerfer. Hope they changed their minds after this.

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24 minutes ago, panzermartin said:

I just want to say that there is more than one responsible for this. Airline company risking people's life to keep the cost down, Ukraine authorities not correctly estimating that their airspace was not safe. And of course Russia, for providing the BUK and the crew that shooted it down, apparently by mistake. I'm surprised that flying over warzones is considered a normal routine though for airlines @panzersaurkrautwerfer. Hope they changed their minds after this.

Nah.  Most of your conflict zones don't have anything more than basic AAA, or MANPADS.  Commercial aviation flies high for a variety of reasons (most efficient fuel-wise, noise pollution issues, away from most things that can prematurely end a flight) and it's outside the range of dedicated large anti-aircraft systems, which virtually always are beyond the ability of most insurgent groups to acquire.

Unless a major state actor were to provide one without most of it's command and control network.  Then it'd make some airspace really dangerous, doubly so if it was all being done under the table.  That would be really stupid dangerous and likely kill a lot of innocent people.  

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1 hour ago, panzersaurkrautwerfer said:

WELL WHAT ABOUT MAGIC SPACE PIXIES SHOOTING DOWN MH-17?

True probably that happened. 

1 hour ago, panzersaurkrautwerfer said:

I'm of the "or not" realm simply because there's enough people who know how to use the system that would be less embarrassing to lose in the Ukraine if something went sideways.  

Which is what I was getting to if the most likely case of militias downing it is what happened. Thanks for agreeing for once geez. 

1 hour ago, panzersaurkrautwerfer said:

If Syria had targets worth taking out a block of apartments, I wouldn't object as much.  It's the whole strategic bombing calculus, if this factory is offline for a week, that's 60 less tanks, which means less causalities, which means shorter war, which offset the smoking hole that used to be Franz Huttengutter High School or something.  But there aren't those sorts of targets in Aleppo.  There's nothing that needs, or merits just dumping cluster bombs into a housing complex.

There are targets such as that in Syria, rebels don't actually build buildings to place their ammunition, command points, "barracks" into. They use the local housing. The rebels don't have any army of tanks, but they still have a large armor pool compared to other "insurgent" type forces. But these guys fight more of like a barbaric army, where they lack in airpower they make up with it using suicide bombs, VBIEDs are their favorite tool as noted in Aleppo. Anyways bottom line I agree that clusterbombing an apartment block is reckless and very stupid. 

1 hour ago, panzersaurkrautwerfer said:

Again, let's place the shoe on the other foot and make it Ukrainians dropping bombs on separatists.  Does Russia have any right at all to object?

Ukrainians have used heavy handed operations not similar to the casualties in Syria of course, but similar. I can't blame Ukraine's government for heavy handedness in targeting the rebels but the case in Donbas is very very different. We can all agree that the rebels in Syria sponsored by Putin the dictator and evil man himself, their goal was strictly the pro-Russian region which has local support. In essence the rebels are not throwing the jeopardy of the whole nation state into the trash, but fighting for a local goal. 

@Steve I'm going to write to you tomorrow because it's high passed my time for sleep :D 

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1 hour ago, Battlefront.com said:

I'm not sure any had made a decision to avoid the area at the time.

I got curious about this and looked it up. Ones that are named in the following article are: BA, Air France, KLM, Korean Air Lines, and Asiana (Koreans are once bitten in this). The article also mentions how MH17 was flying barely above the altitude that Ukrainian authorities had closed to civilian flights:

http://www.bbc.com/news/business-28356745

 

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2 hours ago, panzermartin said:

I just want to say that there is more than one responsible for this. Airline company risking people's life to keep the cost down, Ukraine authorities not correctly estimating that their airspace was not safe. And of course Russia, for providing the BUK and the crew that shooted it down, apparently by mistake. 

Sure, and one could also blame God for not making people honest or unwarike while you're at it :)  There's plenty of secondary blame to spread around, as there is in any incident.  But the focus should always be focused on the party most directly responsible first and foremost.  Airliners will likely take more care in the future, so will governments who have official control over airspace that is actively a war. Good lessons to learn, however the best lesson to learn from this is to not put up with war mongering states deliberately engaging in activities that put civilians at risk then lying about it after killing them.  Allowing the ones responsible for this tragedy to distract us from holding them accountable is an insult to the dead and their families.

Russia killed all people on board MH-17 as a side effect of their war of aggression in Ukraine and is refusing to accept responsibility for anything at all.  Lose sight of that, and you've lost sight of what really matters.

2 hours ago, panzermartin said:

I'm surprised that flying over warzones is considered a normal routine though for airlines @panzersaurkrautwerfer. Hope they changed their minds after this.

Yeah, as PzKraut said the issue is that most warzones are absolutely not a risk.  And if Russia had been telling the truth, and it was in fact not involved in the Donbas war, then there would have been 0.00% risk for MH-17.

26 minutes ago, Machor said:

I got curious about this and looked it up. Ones that are named in the following article are: BA, Air France, KLM, Korean Air Lines, and Asiana (Koreans are once bitten in this). The article also mentions how MH17 was flying barely above the altitude that Ukrainian authorities had closed to civilian flights:

http://www.bbc.com/news/business-28356745

 

Thanks for that.  I thought some had, but I couldn't remember for sure or who might have skipped out of flying over.  I suspect more airlines will avoid conflict zones in the future than they have in the past.

Steve

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Again, no expert, but I watched a bunch of the videos associated with the MH17 forensic evidence Duchess posted (they did a pretty thorough job it seems).  There is an intercepted conversation from the commander in the area -- perhaps someone can tell me if that was a Russian soldier speaking or not -- on the 16th who is worried about his recon battalion getting hit by airstrikes from "sushkas" the next day and asks for a Buk to defend himself (which the evidence really seems to show came from inside Russia).  MH17 went down on the 17th.  This sounds a lot like a independent screw up on the ground by people expecting to see enemy aircraft coming their way, and I'm pretty sure it never occurred to them a non military plane was in the area.  

I also think all of Russia's actions after that were pure attempted damage control because they knew they royally screwed up and lost major global opinion points -- it became pretty impossible to deny Russian military aid after that in a lot of the general public's eye.  

I'm positive no one in Russia intended this to happen myself.  From the great game perspective it makes no sense to do so.  I also put a lot of blame on the flight planner.  Who flies a commercial jet through a war zone?  That's so stupid, what did they think would happen?  Obviously a soldier could mistake you for something coming to kill him.  I would be sickened if I found out it was a business decision to keep fuel costs to a minimum.

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17 minutes ago, hattori said:

I would be sickened if I found out it was a business decision to keep fuel costs to a minimum.

"Air operators belatedly avoid Ukraine war zone"

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/law-and-order/10974823/Air-operators-belatedly-avoid-Ukraine-war-zone.html

"... aviation safety authorities in the United States and Europe warned pilots in April about potential risks flying in or near Ukraine airspace.

...

Aviation experts last night said operators continued to fly across the zone because it was the quickest and therefore cheapest route for some flights.
A former head of group security at airports group BAA claimed last night suggested that cost was a factor in the decision to use Ukranian airspace.
Norman Shanks, who is also a professor of aviation security at Coventry University, said: "Malaysia Airlines, like a number of other carriers, have been continuing to use it because it is a shorter route, which means less fuel and therefore less money.

...

The Malaysian Airliner was reportedly travelling at an altitude of 33,000 feet – a height considered by those within the industry to be completely safe.
Military jets typically fly at much lower altitudes, meaning it would be hard to misinterpret an airliner at such height for a threat, while many ground-based weapons would not reach such an altitude.

...

An industry source told The Telegraph: “The belief was that a plane could not be shot down at that altitude, which is why aircraft continue to fly over zones that have wars going on.”"

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1 hour ago, hattori said:

I'm positive no one in Russia intended this to happen myself.  From the great game perspective it makes no sense to do so.  

I agree completely, which is why I disagree with Vladimir's position that the only way Russia would shoot down MH-17 was on purpose.  The shooting down of MH-17 has had nothing but negative and ongoing consequences for Russia.  Putin and his top enablers are risk takers, not idiots.  Most of the things which they've done that haven't worked had plausible upsides which didn't happen.  There is absolutely nothing that could have been gained by downing MH-17, yet Russia did shoot it down.  Therefore, the most logical explanation is that Russia deliberately shot down a plane which it did not know was MH-17.

1 hour ago, hattori said:

I also put a lot of blame on the flight planner.  Who flies a commercial jet through a war zone?  That's so stupid, what did they think would happen?  Obviously a soldier could mistake you for something coming to kill him.  I would be sickened if I found out it was a business decision to keep fuel costs to a minimum.

See above explanations as to why this behavior wasn't as stupid or as risky as you might think.  Airlines fly over conflict zones all the time.  They often fly into and out of airports in conflict zones.  The decision to not overfly is based on risk and in June 2014 there supposedly was no risk from a high altitude overflight.  Except that Russia changed that equation and didn't tell anybody.

Plus, aside from this particular instance of corporate behavior... it's pretty normal.  Anybody that has run a company for any length of time knows what I mean.  Companies are forced to take risks in order to stay in business.  A company that takes no risks will not survive long, if it even gets started.  The judgement involved in those risks is what determines a good business decision from a bad one.  For example, Volkswagen faking it's diesel emissions was a very bad one because it was so obviously going to get caught and once caught had the potential to ruin the company.  In terms of risk taking, what the airlines did over Ukraine was not nearly as stupid.

Steve

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Back to another topic... the murder of Motorola.  First, interesting fact is that he used a Samsung device ;)  And how do we know that?  The same way we know he has rather interesting taste in underwear and was carrying on an affair with a blonde in Luhansk.... his and his wife's devices were hacked:

https://informnapalm.org/en/ukrainian-hacktivists-russian-trace-behind-motorolas-blowup/

The important thing to note here is that Motorola himself suspected Russian intelligence was aiming to kill him.  Not Ukrainian special ops, not DPR thugs, not LPR thugs.  Russian forces directly employed by the Russian government.  I'm pretty sure he had reason to think that way, so I think it is prudent to defer to his judgement.  Especially because he was proven right on at least one point.  That being someone was trying to kill him.

Steve

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VladimirTarasov,

While some of the links you provided regarding Syria were of interest, when it comes to your fondly regarded SVP-24, not only do I agree with Codename Duchess, but will add my own direct observations (from Russian video) of iron bombs being loaded on the Putin's prize Su-34. I saw bombs being loaded with obviously bent fins! As Codename Duchess and any number of other people with even rudimentary knowledge of aerial weaponry (or even mortars) will attest, a bent fin makes impact point completely unpredictable relative to actual bombing tests. The mere fact bombs with bent fins were being loaded with no evidence of reaction, still less corrective measures, by the ordnance crews tells me there is no concern for accurate weapon delivery.

Turning now to MH-17, not only is there all the material JIT came up with, but a wealth of material not mentioned, including intercepts of calls from senior separatists to their Russian GRU handler in Russia, calls lamenting woes vs Ukrainian Air force, to which the Russian responded he would send something to address the problem. We know what transport unit carried the TELAR, who drove (self-identified via VKontakte pics and in uniform), from what unit, what SAM Brigade the Buk TELAR was from (53rd), where the distinctive Volvo truck (rental firm had only one) was obtained from (truck rental firm in Donetsk) and under what circumstances (coerced) and much more. In order to get Putin off the hook you have to posit ALL of the following: 1) a GRU colonel can, entirely on his own hook, and with no recourse whatsoever to higher, 2) whistle up a Heavy Transport unit, then 3) send it get a fully functional Buk TELAR, complete with SAMs, from the 53rd SAM Brigade (near Kursk), which then 4) takes the TELAR a considerable distance right to the border, where the TELAR is unloaded, driven across the border into the so-called DPR, then reloaded on 4) the aforementioned Volvo truck (with lowboy trailer), 5) carried to its delivery site, 6) unloaded, 7)  kills MH-17, 8) loads back on the transporter, 9) is moved back to near the Russian border, etc. If you're going to assert one colonel, even a GRU colonel, could do all that, then I submit there is neither military discipline nor political control at all within the Red Army--a notion you would most certainly and rightly dispute.

If that's not the case, then it ineluctably follows that the GRU colonel acted not just with permission from higher but way higher and from multiple commands. Ultimately, that authority traces right back to Putin, for he is the Commander in Chief. There is NO way a front line homeland version SAM system is going to be sent willy nilly out of Russia. They're called homeland because they have capabilities and features the export models lack. Each homeland SAM version has a degraded capability export counterpart, yet what was sent was the real deal. Russia sent its best, and there is NO way I can see the separatists crewed it themselves. Bellingcat has done a 115 page report on the 53rd SAM Brigade, whose 2nd Battalion provided the Buk TELAR, including a deep look at personnel associated with the 53rd. Unfortunately, the really granular stuff was censored in the public version, but not the one sent to the JIT. Publicly known senior officers are named, and as levels drop, censorship levels rise. Bellingcat has identified some 100 Russian military personnel known or suspected to be involved in the MH-17 shootdown, starting with providing the Buk TELAR. The 53rd is an asset of the 20th Army controlled by the Moscow Military District. As a historical aside, the first SA-2s sent to North Vietnam came from the exact same Moscow Military district and were, in fact, part of the direct defenses of Moscow. 

  https://www.bellingcat.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/53rd-report-public.pdf         

MH17 - Potential Suspects and Witnesses

from the

53rd Anti-Aircraft Missile Brigade

A bell¿ngcat Investigation

Summing up, Russia is directly responsible for the shootdown--regardless of the intended target. Its proxy force commanders, who had already shot down a bunch of Ukrainian aircraft, requested a more capable weapon. This was heard, acknowledged and self-evidently responded to by the GRU colonel handling the so-called DPR leaders, with events unfolding thereafter. The only issue is whether or not there was a Russian officer running the show and a Russian finger on the firing button. But as Steve has pointed out, this matters not a bit, for it was Russia's invasion of Ukraine which caused the chain of events leading to the shootdown of MH-17, the action of its proxy forces to return the BUK TELAR, and a Russian unit to return the TELAR to its parent brigade in Russia. And it is most certainly on Russia for the vast and ever expanding pile of lies later.

P.S.

I did read the Almaz-Antei report, and I thought, working from vague recollection, the Russian missile engineers did a fine job of hanging themselves based on the distinctive warhead fragments and managed to torpedo in the process the whole "The holes in MH-17 are from UAF Su-25 30 mm cannon fire" meme. Am trying to find the original analysis.

P.P.S.
Russia's MoD has completely backed off claims it made earlier regarding the air situation. Now it says there were no other planes!

https://www.bellingcat.com/news/uk-and-europe/2016/09/26/russian-defence-ministry-presents-evidence-faked-previous-mh17-evidence/comment-page-9/#comment-96559

JUAN DEAG,

Many thanks for the videos! Have shared them with family and friends.

Nefron,

That screen is bigger than the ones in many movie theaters! Sure wish that video briefing had English subtitles or a translator. I believe it would be worthwhile for Putin to order this be done, since it would greatly increase the audience size. MoD would be well advised to figure out how to properly show strike footage, too, since much of it was all but unwatchable.

Regards,

John Kettler

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Let's also not forget that Russia has absolutely and categorically refused to cooperate with the investigation since the day it was announced.  Certainly they have refused any notion of interviewing Russian citizens who are suspected of having information to contribute to the investigation.  If Russia has nothing to hide and is interested in getting to the truth, this sort of behavior is not what is expected.  On the other hand, because Russia did shoot down MH-17, at least some of the people wanted for questioning likely know this, and Russia doesn't want to admit it... not cooperating with the investigation is an entirely consistent reaction.

If it looks like a duck, walks like a duck, quacks like a duck, and poops like a duck it probably isn't a fascist Ukrainian pilot operating under orders of the CIA.  Kinda obvious to many, but it apparently needs to be repeated.

Steve

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1 minute ago, Battlefront.com said:

If it looks like a duck, walks like a duck, quacks like a duck, and poops like a duck it probably isn't a fascist Ukrainian pilot operating under orders of the CIA.  Kinda obvious to many, but it apparently needs to be repeated.

You're forgetting the SBU ALPHA team that snuck onto the plane and planted the explosives, or the Ukrainian SU-25 that ATGM'ed the plane; or was it a SU-27? or the German "specialist" that had access to "compromising photographic evidence" that the gayropeans "deleted from the internet" (no joke an RT exclusive, well all of these were claimed at one point by Russian media but that was by far the best one, who knew you could find entertainment from propaganda), or the old guy that could see the BUK missle hit MH17 from ~50km away, or the time that they said that the BUK isn't in service with the Russian Federation when it clearly is.

 

What's with Russian state-owned media not being able to get their story straight? After all, they are subordinate to papa Putin (arbiter of all that is true and just, certified cleanser of Eurofacism).

 

 

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The top posts talks of MoD Shoygu's two major successes, one of which is a quite effective effort to prevent adverse information from being published about the Red Army. Here's a fine example of why.

It appears that the long laundry list from the Cold War of abuses of the troops is still very much at work. Pretty disturbing write up and one which squares with other things I've seen. No bunks, paying to go to infirmary, two separate sets of medical records (one false), coerced donations, paying for one's demob, direct intimidation by the brigade commander, etc. Said a soldier of the 9th IMRB who might otherwise have become a contract soldier:

https://russiandefpolicy.wordpress.com/tag/20th-caa/

(Fair Use)

“I believe the army certainly has to be harsh, at times even cruel, just not like there.  You know under pain of death I wouldn’t go into battle or on reconnaissance with a single one of our officers.  And this given that I served after getting a higher education, but imagine what happens with kids of 18 who don’t yet have a strong psyche.  To me the army and conditions like Boguchar turn little boys not into real men but into scum and vermin that follow a one-way road — prison, alcoholism or drug addiction.”

To emphasize

"...under pain of death I wouldn’t go into battle or on reconnaissance with a single one of our officers."

What greater condemnation of military leadership for a soldier, any soldier, to dare to say such a thing, let alone in Putin's Russia?

Regards,

John Kettler

 

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11 hours ago, Battlefront.com said:

There was a flight restriction in the zone up to a certain ceiling (I forget what), put into place after Russian AA equipment flooded into Ukraine and in fact shot down Ukrainian aircraft.  It was thought that the higher ceiling was safe because, after all, the "separatists" didn't have sophisticated weapons because they were just poor coal miners.

 

That's not true. A Ukrainian An-26 was shot down at an altitude of 6500 meters. The Ukrainians acknowledged that it was shot down by a more powerful air defense system, and of course accused Russia. 

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-28299334

Of the top of my head, I can't think of a single system which can shoot down targets at 6500m, but can't do so at 10000m, so it is inconceivable that they thought 10000m is a safe altitude.

Besides, the militia bragged about having a Buk days before. 

12 hours ago, panzersaurkrautwerfer said:

2. Because it was likely assumed wherever this mysterious SAM system appeared from would practice some sort of target identification instead of just gunning of anything with wings.  

The Ukrainians assumed that the people they label as terrorists would differentiate between military and civilian targets? You're saying that they basically put lives of those people in the hands of terrorist groups.

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8 hours ago, Battlefront.com said:

Anybody that has run a company for any length of time knows what I mean.  Companies are forced to take risks in order to stay in business.  A company that takes no risks will not survive long, if it even gets started.  The judgement involved in those risks is what determines a good business decision from a bad one.  For example, Volkswagen faking it's diesel emissions was a very bad one because it was so obviously going to get caught and once caught had the potential to ruin the company.

I do own a business :|  There are taking business risks, then there are immoral risks someone at a desk makes to get their yearly bonus.  I myself could completely degrade the safety of our equipment to increase margins, very easily.  I could really bring things right to safety edge where 99.9% of the time things will be great and make the company even more profitable.  

In my personal opinion, that is reprehensible, and exactly why businesses cannot be allowed to regulate themselves.  I don't know too many cases where industry self regulation didn't end up harming the consumer.  We're businesses!  We have completely different priorities than a real person does.  People will always pick doing things and cutting corners to get their salaries, keep their jobs, and pay for their families food, even if you are potentially putting others at risk.

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I don't exactly trust business or government myself, but flying near high performance air defense systems that are locked and loaded is something all of us who've flown have likely done.  I mean the entire Persian gulf would be a no-go, within a few hundred miles of the Koreas is right out, Japan is a nogo if North Korea is acting up, parts of the US are distinctly apparently far too dangerous, same with Russia if the criteria was just an active ADA site somewhere.  

Ideally the non-combatant and combatant have certain responsibilities to make sure they are known to each other.  Dozens of civil aviation operator thought Ukrainian air space was safe enough for high altitude operations, inclusive of the people who put the missile system there.  MH-17 was where it was supposed to be, at the altitude it was supposed to be, marked and transmitting like it was obligated to be.

The Buk was not supposed to be there.  Getting past that, it needed a lot more sensors and a lot more command and control to reasonably operate with a degree of safety in an unrestricted airspace.  Failing that, if Russia was going to allow for basically unrestricted anti-air operations, and everything with wings would possibly be engaged, announcing that was the intention was on the Russians.

They could have even done it as "separatists" by releasing a video showing the usual idiots in camo dancing around "captured" Buks, and Sky Commander Boris Badinov announcing the liberation of Donetsk's skies from the HATO sky plauge, and all who violate the blessed skies of the Free and Not Russian Puppet People's republic will be smote, by the way we only have the launcher so be mindful we couldn't tell a SU-25 from a very angry flock of seagulls.

It wouldn't have been hard to put enough controls in to keep deploying a high end SAM system both deniable, and safe for non-combatants.  Clearly inadequate controls were put in place and it got a lot of people killed.  In a war that Russia denies is happening.  

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Sorry, I didn't mean to imply I think the rebels and Russia have no responsibility.  Their weapon, their control, they pulled the trigger.  If it was a court of law, I see them as more negligent (manslaughter) over murder 1.  This is the side effect of war.  Innocent people are going to get killed and it sucks.

I do think Korea and Japan are different as I have flown through Narita and Incheon International a few times.  While tensions are high, no one on either side is expecting an airstrike, so I would guess they are not in the same frame of mind of shoot first, ask questions later.  Also, unless you are flying to Pyongyang, NO flight goes directly over NK airspace.

I personally think you would have to be crazy to take a flight that was flying over Syrian airspace right now myself.  I looked at a few flight paths and from what I saw it seems most avoid Syria and prefer to fly over Iraq and Iran instead.

I still think it is coming close to criminal negligence to have flown MH17 over a war zone in order to save fuel costs.

 

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Take a look at a map. International air travel unfortunately is almost impossible to avoid some conflict zones. Last spring I went to Istanbul, Dubai, Luanda, Lagos and Algiers. No idea how many "hot" conflicts I flew over.  The issue becomes what kind of risk are you expecting. Russia slipped the BUK in there unannounced totally changing the equation.  Russia was morally bound to inform the world that airline travel was now at a different level of risk than anyone previously expected. 

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Perhaps I just pay too much attention.  I would think if modern APCs and tanks are being used in the battle area, there is likely to be some pretty advanced air defense systems to go along with them.  Especially given that area already has a lot of advanced equipment and people who know how to use it.  It's pretty obvious this is important enough to Russia they are not just going to sit idly by and let the rebels get creamed because they don't have modern gear.  Are you seriously going to tell me you would have put your own family on a plane the month before MH17 if you knew it was going to fly through that air space?  

At the macro level, Russia isn't bound to tell us any of that stuff.  America sure isn't telling me what various groups it is giving AA weapons to.  It would be nice if they told us, but the precedent has been set.

If I knowingly fly over a war zone and get shot down, I'm going to curse my own stupidity.  It sure isn't my fault I got shot down, but I was aware of the risk and put myself in that situation.  Sorry, just can't personally let the airline completely off the hook for that one, they are responsible for your safety while you are on their plane.

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