Malaysia Airlines planes sit on the tarmac at Kuala Lumpur International Airport July 21, 2014. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry laid out what he called overwhelming evidence of Russian complicity in the shooting down of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 as international horror deepened over the fate of the victims' remains. REUTERS/Edgar Su (MALAYSIA - Tags: TRANSPORT DISASTER)
An Iranian defense expert opined that the reason why the Malaysian Airlines plane was shot while flying over eastern Ukraine on July 17, Thursday, was because the civilian aircraft was escorted by Ukrainian fighter jets.
Babak Taghvaee wrote to Business Insider that since the start of the Crimean crisis, the Ukrainian Air Force has deployed six Su-27s to provide air defense, particularly while other Ukrainian military jets such as transporters and attackers were in the vicinity.
A day before the shooting of MH 17, the Russia Air Force 5959th AB's MiG-29 shot Ukraine's Su-25M1, leading to the holding of more Su-27 sorties to confront Russian MiG-29s. "I believe they were involved in HAVCAP (High Asset Value Combat Air Patrol) mission sortie in that day," Taghvaee said.
He added, the 831st TAV and Flankers played the same role of escort to civilian planes in the UEFA 2012 and the Sochi Winter Olympics hosted by Russia.
The military expert believes the operator insider the SA-11 Gadfly could read the Boeing 777 altitude and transponder and identify it was a civilian jet that left Amsterdam on its way to Kuala Lumpur, but could have mistaken it for a high-value plane of the Ukrainian Air Force due to the presence of the Flankers.
Hopefully, theories why the plane with 298 people on board was shot could be examined by Dutch forensic investigators who have already reached the crash site four days after the tragedy. They found five gray Soviet-era refrigerator cars running to keep cool the bodies of the victims of the plane crash.
They came with the observation team from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe. Upon seeing the rail cars, Peter van Vliet, the head of the Dutch team, said all the corpses could probably be identified.
But while they were impressed with efforts to recover the bodies, the forensic investigators said they were uncertain if the site has been too compromised to make a meaningful investigation. If it is possible, the Dutch team would want to conduct a forensic sweep of the whole area, Vliet said.