A Malaysian Airlines passenger jet crashed in Ukraine’s restive east on Thursday. Kremlin-owned English-language media — the Russian government’s means of disseminating its preferred interpretation of internal and global affairs — has already figured out why.
In its view, the Ukrainian military is responsible.
An early report from RT, the multi-lingual worldwide news service formerly known as Russia Today, pinned the blame on the Ukrainian military at a very early point in its reporting. At the end of this video, RT spoke with an unnamed “person who was on the Russian-Ukrainian border when [the plane] went down:”
“Preliminary reports are that this could have been Ukrainian air defenses because the armaments that the militias possess are not enough to shoot down aeroplane from the height of 10,000 meters above ground,” the source concludes.
During the 2 PM hour, an anchor on RT’s U.S. channel noted that “some suspect the Ukrainian government” bears responsibility, while another eyewitness alleged that “the missile came form the position of the Ukrainian military.”
On its website, RT has taken a conspiratorial tone, claiming that the plane was brought down in a botched assassination attempt against Russian president Vladimir Putin.
Meanwhile, Ria-Novosti has already claimed that a “Ukrainian Army Buk missile likely downed” the Malaysian jet. “A Ukrainian army battalion of Buk air defence systems was deployed near the city of Donetsk a day before the crash of a Malaysian passenger plane on Thursday, making the downing of the aircraft by one of the missiles highly probable,” the state-owned outlet said, citing an anonymous expert source.
The Kremlin has settled on a narrative — or at the very least is spreading a preferred version of events at a time when very little has actually been confirmed. Speculation that pro-Moscow rebels were responsible for the plane’s destruction is already rife. Russia’s English-language media is pushing against this version of events, spreading doubt in the face of a situation with heavy blowback potential for the Kremlin.
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