Leonid Bershidsky in Bloomberg View on why the Malaysian Airlines crash gives Vladimir Putin significantly less control over the conflict in Ukraine. Bershidsky writes that regardless of who ended up shooting down MH17, blame will ultimately lie with Russian separatists, the most likely culprit. "Even if new information surfaces absolving the trigger-happy Strelkov and his men, there is no denying the fact that the conflict in eastern Ukraine is their doing." The conflict in Ukraine is no longer regional, but international, something Russia and the separatists will have no choice but to accept. "The only solution is for professionals to intervene, separate the sides and oversee their disarmament. If the downing of Flight MH17 proves to be the work of participants in the conflict, the United Nations will have cause to send in peacekeeping troops. If Russian President Vladimir Putin resists that, he will be as guilty as those responsible for the crash."
Julia Ioffe in The New Republic on why Russia may avoid facing significant consequences. The shooting down of Malaysian Airline's flight MH17 is a potential game changer in the conflict over Ukraine. The entire world is now involved. "Make no mistake: this is a really, really, really big deal. This is the first downing of a civilian jetliner in this conflict and, if it was the rebels who brought it down, all kinds of ugly things follow. For one thing, what seemed to be gelling into a frozen local conflict has now broken into a new phase, one that directly threatens European security. The plane, let's recall, was flying from Amsterdam." However, Ioffe suggests that regardless of the potential ramifications, there is also a possibility that not much actually changes in Ukraine. "Even if the U.S. gives Ukraine lethal military aid, it in no way guarantees that Kiev's military will be able to crush the separatists, especially not without some bloody, horrific urban warfare. The plane went down, raised the stakes, but what can the West—or Moscow—really do about it?"