World

MH17: Who Isn't Blaming Russia?

While western officials have been suggesting Russian involvement, Ron Paul is among a few voices urging caution.

MH17: Who Isn't Blaming Russia?
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The Obama administration hasn't quite said it, but in a sense it kind of has. 

President Barack Obama: “A group of separatists can't shoot down ... fighter jets without sophisticated equipment ... And that's coming from Russia." (Via The White House)

A glance at Western media headlines and you'd no doubt walk away with a least a sense that Russia is to blame for the downed Malaysia Airlines flight 17, an attack that killed all 298 people on board. (Via Getty Images)

So in the interest of providing perspectives you might not yet have heard, we're taking a look at who isn't blaming Russia— at least not yet.

Former Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul for one — who told Newsmax — watch out for propaganda. 

The governments of Ukraine and Russia are, after all, locked in both a literal and public relations battle over whether the former is more closely allied with the latter — or the European Union. 

So it's probably not too much of a stretch to suggest — as Ron Paul does in that interview with Newsmax — that we have to take any information we get with a grain of salt in trying to determine who's responsible for shooting down MH17. Take this video, for example:

Released by the Ukrainian government and posted all over western media — purportedly showing a surface-to-air missile system headed to Russia from eastern Ukraine. (Via The Washington Post)

​Never mind that the video hasn't been independently verified. The so-called "working theory" being widely reported is that the 70's-era system — developed by the Soviet Union — had to have come from Russia. 

And since it's believed the plane was shot down from a territory controlled by Russian separatists, the suggestion is that Russia had to have provided the equipment. (Via Getty Images)

But consider Paul's response to that line of thinking: 

PAUL: "Guess what, ISIS has a lot of American weapons... It doesn't mean that our American government and Obama deliberately wanted ISIS to get American weapons." ​

It's true that U.S. intelligence has confirmed the Islamic extremist group appears to have gotten a hold of U.S. weapons an equipment — seized from the Iraqi military. (Via Vice)

And count The Diplomat's Zachary Keck among other skeptics: "It’s difficult to believe [Russia would] be incompetent enough to think it’s a good idea to shoot down an aircraft flying at a high altitude without having any idea whether it is a military or civilian plane."

Of course, Russia is also not blaming Russia. A piece on state-owned RT lists "10 questions Russia wants Ukraine to answer" — including why airspace over the conflict zone was "not closed for civilian flights, especially since the area was not entirely covered by radar navigation systems?"

Several airlines that used the same route as flight 17 began redirecting flights after Thursday's tragedy. The U.S. is among several countries calling for a credible, independent investigation.