If President Vladimir Putin really thought that the destruction of Flight MH17 with 298 people on board would soon blow over, the White House statement from last Friday must have disillusioned him—assuming his subordinates actually informed him about it. The White House statement directly noted: “we have concluded that Vladimir Putin and the Russians are culpable to this tragedy.” Russian media did its best to spin these words, whereas the official sources mentioned only the West’s lack of irrefutable evidence (Newsru.com, RIA Novosti, July 26). It is possible to interpret “the Russians” in this context in the narrow sense—as the separatist rebels—but there is no doubt about the meaning of the point: “… it all goes back ultimately to Vladimir Putin” (RBC, July 26). There were at least 15 telephone conversations between Putin and Western leaders in the immediate aftermath of the air tragedy—though none since last Wednesday (July 23).
Full text in the EDM , July 28.