An Australian father who lost three children in the downing of Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 has ripped into Donald Trump for his failure to hold Vladimir Putin accountable for Russia’s involvement in the attack.
The Boeing 777 was traveling from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur in July 2014 when it was shot down in eastern Ukraine. An investigation concluded earlier this year that the plane was downed by a Russian BUK anti-aircraft missile system. All 298 passengers and crew were killed, including Mo, Evie and Otis Maslin, along with their grandfather Nick Norris.
In a post on Facebook, Anthony Maslin delivered a scathing condemnation of Trump’s non-performance for not holding Vladimir Putin accountable during their summit in Helsinki.
“That the passenger flight MH17 was shot out of the sky and 298 innocent people were murdered is an irrefutable fact. That the plane was hit by a Russian missile has been proven to be an irrefutable fact,” he said. “That the man whose arse you’ve just been kissing did this, and continues to lie about it, is an irrefutable fact… You have no empathy for your fellow man, and you clearly have no idea what love is.”
On Wednesday, the fourth anniversary of the tragedy, the State Department was also criticized for its conspicuous silence. The last three years have been marked with anniversary statements criticizing Russian involvement in the attack, but this year the Department was completely silent — despite a statement having been drafted.
The draft, which was first obtained by Foreign Policy, stated that the United States “has complete confidence’ in the investigative team’s finding that a Russian BUK missile system was responsible for the crash. “It is time for Russia to cease its callous disinformation campaign and fully support the next investigative phase of the JIT [Joint Investigative Team] and the criminal prosecution of those responsible,” it read. “We will never forget the 298 innocent civilian lives tragically lost on that day.”
The statement briefly appeared on the U.S embassy’s front page in Moscow, but was quickly taken down. A State Department spokesperson would not comment on the statement to Foreign Policy, but said that the U.S. position “had not changed”. The State Department eventually did release a statement, but only after being pressed to by Foreign Policy, and after both the British and Canadian Foreign ministries posted their own MH17 statement on their websites.
Trump did not address the MH17 downing at his press conference with Vladimir Putin on Monday, or the Novichok poisoning in England, or Russian intervention in Crimea. But he did fined time to mention Hillary Clinton’s emails.