As we wait for more facts and information regarding the East Ukraine crash of Malaysia Airlines Boeing-777 passenger plane en route from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur, it is important to note that this is not the first time such an incident and tragedy has occurred in Ukraine.
On October 2001 a Russian Tu-154 airliner crashed off the Black Sea coast, near the Russian city of Sochi, after an explosion on board. All 78 crew and passengers, most of the passengers killed were Russian immigrants to Israel.
Hours after the crash, US officials noted that the tragedy had been caused by an S-200 missile fired mistakenly by Ukrainian forces during military exercises on the Crimean peninsula, over the Black Sea.
After denial from Ukraine and Russian pressure leading to eventual diplomatic deliberation, Ukraine did finally admit that its military shot down the Russian airliner.
Evhen Marchuk, who was the chairman of Ukraine’s security council, conceded that the plane had probably been brought down by “an accidental hit from an S-200 rocket fired during exercises”.
Russian investigators noted a missile exploded near the plane, spraying it with shrapnel. Russian and Israeli scientists found metal pellets in the victims and in the fuselage.
Although both Russia and Ukraine were almost certainly aware of the cause from the start, it took eight days for Ukraine to accept responsibility.