Local Ukrainian conflict expert weighs in on downed airliner

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At 33,000 ft in the air, 298 innocent people were caught in the crossfire. A humanitarian failure that no one saw coming.

Karl Qualls is an author and expert on the region. He notes that on Monday and on Wednesday of this week, two Ukrainian military planes were shot out of the sky by Russian separatists.

The Dickinson College professor said Friday that immediately after the plane was shot down, a rebel commander got on the Russian version of Facebook and posted that they had just shot down another cargo plane.
 
That page has since been removed.

Qualls says that implies that Russian-backed rebels may have meant to target another Ukrainian military asset.

“I don’t think its a legitimate target but in a civil war they could see it as a legitimate target,” said Qualls of the military attacks, “A commercial airliner? That was probably their worst nightmare.”

By ‘they” he means the Russian people.

With the finger pointed at President Putin, many suspect they are the ones who will bear the brunt of possible payback.

And as always the irony of such a conflict only adds to the tragedy.

“A lot of Russian weapons are manufactured in eastern Ukraine,” adds Qualls.  
 
If Russian-backed militants are in fact responsible for the deaths of nearly  300 airline passengers, experts say the quest to regain super power status has been self-sabotaged.

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