The US administration has gone public with its classified intelligence to nail the claims of innocence aired by Russia about the downing of Malaysian airliner, reports Washington Post. The US officials in a briefing for a reporter provided material information rebutting all claims made by Russia to the contrary. The Malaysia Flight tragedy killed 298 civilians.
The Office of the Director of National Intelligence data showed movements of a surface-to-air missile launcher and a buildup of Russian military activity in Ukraine. Russia had been denying any role in the shooting down of the Malaysian plane or providing the Ukrainian rebels with SA-11 antiaircraft missile batteries. Rather Moscow put the blame on the Ukrainian government for the plane crash.
Motive Not Clear
The U.S. intelligence officials could not pinpoint the identities or the nationalities of those who launched the missile from an SA-11 surface-to-air battery. Also no immediate conclusions could be reached on the motive for the attack. Going by the reaction among separatists on social media it may be believed they were targeting a Ukrainian military transport plane.
One reason for the wrong targeting could be that the rebels operating the missile battery lacked good training or did not have access to radar systems that ordinarily accompany an SA-11 system in distinguishing military targets from civilian planes.
The satellite images point to the Russian military base near Rostov as the main conduit supporting separatists in Ukraine. The senior U.S. intelligence officials said sensors that tracked the flight path of the missile, shrapnel markings on the aircraft, voice analysis of separatists, pand data from social-media substantiate their claims. The Obama administration's evidence carried many satellite images and sensitive intelligence showing how Moscow has been equipping Ukraine rebels.
No Ukraine Hand
The US intelligence officials ruled out the hand of Ukrainian forces in the missile attack. They pointed out that Ukraine had no anti-aircraft missile system in the vicinity of the Malaysian plane's flight path when the missile struck.
The US officials feel that Russia stepped up the offensive after the Ukraine's military started making gains with the retaking of the city of Slovyansk.