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Downing of MH17 shows the Ukraine crisis is a global issue

Downing of MH17 shows the Ukraine crisis is a global issue, Canterbury expert says

July 21, 2014

The downing of Malaysian airlines’ flight MH17 clearly shows the Ukraine crisis is not a local or regional affair, it is a global issue and the world community needs to help the Ukraine, University of Canterbury Ukrainian expert Associate Professor Natalia Chaban says.

Associate Professor Chaban is a Ukrainian national. She is co-head of the university’s Department of Global and Cultural Studies, head of European and European Union Studies at the University of Canterbury and also President of the Ukrainian Studies Association of Australia and New Zealand.

Earlier this year, Associate Professor Chaban was invited to Wellington to comment on the crisis in Ukraine and whether New Zealand be worried.

``Frustratingly, there are many unanswered questions about this tragedy. Unfortunately, at this moment, it remains unclear if the black boxes were found,’’ Associate Professor Chaban says.

``There has been reported footage of a person on the crash site carrying an object looking like a black box, but the rebels admit they do not know what a black box looks like. Reports about the black boxes remain controversial. According to some sources, the boxes are with the leader of the rebel republic in Donetsk, according to others, they are still not found.

``Either way there is growing demand for a comprehensive investigation. There is no definitive answer at this point. United States intelligence confirms a launch of a rocket from the rebel-occupied territories.

``The Ukrainian government has released excerpts of conversations between the rebels confirming that it was the rebel forces who shot down the plane mistaking it for a military plane. However, the tapes haven’t been authenticated yet. Russian media keeps repeating a hypothesis that flight MH17 was shot down by Ukrainian military planes.

``The Ukraine people’s reaction is of shock and sadness – there were 80 children on the plane. Family and Children are sacred in the mentality of Ukrainians who are carrying flowers to the embassies of the affected nations.

The Ukrainian government is undertaking very transparent steps and is in contact with international and European communities and authorities. President Poroshenko talked to the President of France and Chancellor of Germany at the weekend about the ultimate priority to secure the site and allow the investigators in.

``I flew twice over the east of Ukraine in the last month on my way to and from Europe. It is scary to think about it now. I think the war zone areas must be closed for civilian aviation, but the airspace above the rest of the country seems to be fine. The Ukraine needs its air connections with the world.

``The world is waiting for President Putin’s response to the situation. There is a strong chance he will succumb to international pressure and curb the rebels. This would aid the stabilisation of the situation in Ukraine tremendously and his leadership will be positively acknowledged globally.

``But he may not, as war actions haven’t stopped in the east of Ukraine after this terrible accident which will further alienate Russia from the global community. Sadly it seems more lives will be lost in this war in Ukraine.

``A scary development is the latest announcement by the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Russia who is now talking about a possibility of selective air strikes on Ukraine. That would come with a terrible human loss.’’

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