Blaming Vladmir Putin for the downing of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 in eastern Ukraine is pointless as such actions are expected from the Russian president, a TIME columnist wrote today.
Instead, Europe and the United States should be made accountable for the loss of the 298 lives on board the jet, as they did nothing when Russia began to destabilise eastern Ukraine, wrote Garry Kasparov.
“Everyone has known for months that Russia arms and supports the separatists in Ukraine … We also know very well what Putin is, a revanchist KGB thug trying to build a poor man’s USSR to replace the loss of the original he mourns so much.
“But blaming Putin for invading Ukraine is like blaming the proverbial scorpion for stinging the frog. It is his nature,” wrote Kasporov, chairman of the New York-based Human Rights Foundation.
He said instead of trying to change or appease “the scorpion”, focus should be turned towards how the world could contain such a dangerous creature before more innocents died.
“We turn to the leaders of the free world who did nothing to bolster the Ukrainian border even after Russia annexed Crimea and made its ambitions to destabilise eastern Ukraine very clear.”
He said that while the West had not pushed the button of the missile that shot down MH17 in rebel-held Donetsk, it had for months pretended the conflict in Ukraine would not affect them.
Paralysed by fear and internal squabble, the West had hoped they could ignore Ukraine, instead of defending a European nation under attack, he added.
“They resisted strong sanctions on Russia because they were worried about the impact on their own economies. They protected jobs but lost lives.”
He said the West could place travel and financial restrictions against Putin’s cronies and their families and harsh sanctions against key Russian economic sectors.
Kasparov noted that while it may do some damage to European economies, it could also prevent a repeat of MH17’s tragedy.
“Until yesterday, Europe could argue about how much money their principles were worth. Today they have to argue about how much money those lives are worth.”
Flight MH17 was shot down in conflict-torn eastern Ukraine on Thursday, just four months after MH370 mysteriously disappeared on March 8.
The two tragedies have led to the loss of 537 lives, the biggest casualty toll suffered by any airline over a time span of just over four months.
Those responsible for downing the jet on Thursday have yet to be identified, with Russian and Ukrainian authorities blaming each other and pro-Russian separatists for the disaster.
US officials had said it was shot down by a ground-to-air missile, a possible casualty of a violent rebellion in the area by pro-Russia insurgents. – July 20, 2014.