July 31, 2014 | Quote

What We Know So Far About the Passenger Jet Shot Down in Ukraine

Crucially, the Ukrainian armed forces also have the Buk missile system, which gives Russia and its proxies a measure of plausible deniability if it is confirmed that a Buk was indeed responsible for downing the Malaysian jet. According to Patrick Megahan, a research associate for military affairs at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, the Ukrainian military has been operating Buks in the area near the crash site, raising the possibility that Ukrainian forces made a mistake.

Still, the only known uses of Buk missiles in eastern Ukraine have been directed at government targets. “The Buk is the same system that reportedly took down a twin-engine Ukrainian military cargo plane on Monday — an attack believed to be carried out by Russian separatists,” Megahan told Foreign Policy. “It is likely the only system in their arsenal that could take down an aircraft flying at that altitude.”

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