This month marks 7 years since the Kuala Lampur-bound flight MH17 was shot down by Russian hybrid forces over Eastern Ukraine, killing 298 innocent passengers and crew members. A Russian BUK anti-aircraft missile launcher, thought belong to the 53rd Anti-Aircraft Missile Brigade of the Russian Armed Forces, was transported to occupied-Ukrainian territory on the 17th of July 2014, fired at the civilian airliner, and then quickly returned to Russian territory. Soon after the plane was shot down, Russian hybrid forces claimed on social media to have shot down a Ukrainian military jet, and Russian state media celebrated “a new victory [for the] Donetsk self-defence [forces].” However, the horrible news slowly broke, and it became clear to all of the world that not only was this not a Ukrainian military jet, but a civilian airliner with 298 men, women, and children onboard. Russia denies involvement, blames Ukraine, and continues to obstruct any meaningful investigation to this day. This attack on a civilian airliner represents the among the worst of the Kremlin’s on-going armed assault on Ukraine’s independence, its territorial integrity, and basic human decency.
The U.S.-Ukraine Foundation joins with the international community in calling for swift accountability for this horrific action undertaken by Russian hybrid forces, and calls for the Russian Federation to fully cooperate with international investigators so that those responsible are brought to justice. Moreover, the U.S.-Ukraine Foundation takes this opportunity to remember the 298 innocent men, women, and children whose lives were cut far too short, and we extend our thoughts and prayers to the friends, family, and loved ones of all of those who were killed.