Flight 17
July 30, 2014

Independent Russian polling agency Levada released a poll on Wednesday that found that a surprising number of Russians believe Ukraine is responsible for the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17.

Forty-six percent of those polled reported that they believed a "Ukrainian army anti-aircraft missile" shot down the plane, while 36 percent said a Ukrainian military plane was responsible. Only 3 percent expressed belief that pro-Russian separatists were to blame. (As The Washington Post notes, multiple answers were allowed, and these percentages may have overlapping respondents.)

Meanwhile, U.S. and European officials have alleged that Flight 17 was shot down by pro-Russian separatists. The Post cuts right to the point: "Almost no one in Russia is buying the story that the rest of the world accepts." One possible explanation? State-owned Russian media pushing its preferred storyline. Meghan DeMaria

July 22, 2014

U.S. intelligence officials said Tuesday that they believed Russian separatists downed Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 using a surface-to-air missile, according to the Associated Press. However, they said there was no indication Russia had any direct involvement in the attack.

That said, they added that Moscow "created the conditions" for the disaster by training and arming the separatist forces in the first place. Jon Terbush

July 22, 2014

After the families of those lost in the Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 crash demanded the return of their relatives' bodies for proper burial, international investigators and pro-Russian rebels negotiated to allow the bodies' transport. Now, the remains have arrived in the government-controlled city of Kharkiv, Ukraine.

A refrigerated train carrying 282 bodies departed separatist-controlled eastern Ukraine on Monday following hours of negotiations, the BBC reports. When they arrived in Kharkiv on Tuesday morning, the bodies were transferred to a local factory. There, they will be placed in coffins before being sent to the Netherlands, where most of the passengers were from, for forensic examination. Meghan DeMaria

July 21, 2014

The refrigerated Ukrainian train carrying bodies from the Flight 17 plane downed on July 17 has left the town of Torez in eastern Ukraine, following hours of tense negotiations between international investigators and pro-Russian rebels, according to the BBC.

Ukrainian officials told the BBC that the train is transporting 280 bodies. That's less than the 298 people who were killed when the missile struck the plane.

The government of Ukraine planned to transport the bodies to Kharkiv, before flying them to the Netherlands, where the Malysia Airlines flight had taken off. However, the government had previously claimed that the train could not move, as the tracks were being blocked by pro-Russian separatists, who are suspected of shooting the plane down and interfering with the crash site.

But now, at least, the victims of the missile attack are finally on their way home. John Aziz

July 21, 2014

President Obama on Monday said international investigators must be granted "immediate and full access" to the site where Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 crashed, and he questioned why the pro-Russian separatists controlling the area are reportedly removing key evidence.

"All of which begs the question: What exactly are they trying to hide?" he said.

Rebels over the weekend reportedly seized at gunpoint the bodies of some 200 crash victims and loaded them on to train cars. The separatists also recovered the plane's black boxes, though they promised to turn them over to investigators.

Speaking from the White House, Obama also called on Russia to prod the rebels into working with the international community, saying Moscow and President Vladimir Putin in particular had a "direct responsibility to compel them to cooperate." Then pivoting to the broader conflict in eastern Ukraine, Obama warned Russia that it would face more consequences should it continue to aid the rebels with training and equipment. However, he declined to say what those consequences could be, saying only that "costs will increase." Jon Terbush

July 21, 2014

The United Nations Security Council has scheduled a Monday vote on a resolution condemning the downing of a Malaysia Airlines passenger jet with 298 people on board over territory in eastern Ukraine controlled by pro-Russian rebels. Russia engaged in negotiations with other nations on the 15-member Security Council, although it was unclear whether Moscow intended to support the resolution. Read more at Reuters. Harold Maass

July 21, 2014

The relatives of those lost on Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 are growing impatient in their quest to bury their loved ones.

Gathered at a hotel conference room in Putrajaya, just south of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, where Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 was headed, the families of those lost discussed the need to bury the deceased. While the majority of the attendants at the Marriott Hotel were joyously celebrating Ramadan's daily fasting break, those who lost loved ones in Thursday's tragedy came together to share grief — and demand action.

"We need to get the bodies home to expedite the burials," Zulrusdi bin Haji Mohamad Hol, whose cousin was a passenger on Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, told Time. "Otherwise, how will our family members get peace?"

The families want to bury the deceased before the end of Ramadan, but the plane's crash site is still limited to international investigators, as pro-Russian separatists have been accused of tampering with evidence.

One of the rebel leaders agreed Sunday to return the bodies to the International Civil Aviation Organization, but Ukraine's government and international investigators have not agreed to a deal with the separatists. While Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak has promised to recover the bodies by next week, when Ramadan's fasting period ends, cooperation between the rebels and Ukraine has yet to be achieved.

"I'm very angry," Zulrusdi told Time. "They're inhumane, they don't understand. First they murder our relatives, then they keep the corpses with them." Meghan DeMaria

July 20, 2014

Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.) on Sunday tied Russian President Vladimir Putin directly to the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17.

"By supplying this type of weaponry to a group of thugs like Ukrainian separatists, you have to bear responsibility for what happens after that," King said. "There can be no reasonable doubt now that Russia was involved, Putin was involved," he added.

King's claim was a more forceful charge than the one made on the same program by Secretary of State John Kerry. Though Kerry said Russia shared a degree of culpability for arming the Ukrainian separatists who allegedly shot down the plane, he said only "some" Russian officials — not all, and not Putin himself — bore responsibility for that collaboration. --Jon Terbush

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