Malaysian Airlines flight 17 was en route from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur and its fall killed 295 passengers and crew. The site of the wreckage is near the Ukrainian oblast of Donetsk, a stronghold for pro-Russian separatists/rebels. Most airlines are now avoiding eastern Ukraine airspace, and some were even before the incident including PIA. However it is worth noting that flight 17 wasn’t out of bounds though it might have deviated from its path a little. The no-fly zone is further south in the Crimea, but the area around Donetsk was considered safe. US intelligence says it was blown out of the sky with a surface-to-air missile (SAM). There are reports that, at the end of June, the local pro-Russian militia (the Donetsk People’s Republic, DPR) seized an anti-aircraft Buk missile system from a Ukrainian military installation. Flight 17 was almost certainly brought down by a Buk missile, unless something highly conspiratorial is going on. So far, the DPR hasn’t taken responsibility for the downed plane. In fact it has created a “humanitarian corridor” and is busy recovering black boxes at the crash site and sending them back to Moscow for analysis.

The most likely scenario, and this is speculation, is that the perpetrator intended to shoot down a military plane, but somehow lacked the experience to notice that the radar or transponder signatures were from a commercial airliner. Else, responsibility for the attack would have been assumed by now. Somebody made a mistake. The Ukrainan government has also put the blame on the rebel separatists and the international community seems to be coming to the same conclusion. Ukraine’s armed forces and eastern Ukraine separatist leader Alexander Borodai both deny involvement. Just a day ago, Ukraine’s government claimed a Russian warplane shot down a Ukrainian fighter over its territory.

The Russian-Ukrainian crisis has been becoming worse over the past few weeks. Talks between the European Commission and Russia over gas supplies to Ukraine have been postponed. Global stock markets fell Friday, unnerved by global political tensions. Oil prices rose following the announcement of new US sanctions against Russia against its support of separatist rebels in eastern Ukraine. The Malaysian Airlines attack is the worst to come out of the whole situation making their crisis international. And Russia may not have wanted such attention to be focused on its designs in Ukraine, especially since the US has been aggressively vocal about Russian intervention in Ukraine.