MH17 was shot down nearly six years ago over eastern Ukraine, but one aviation expert has suggested that this disaster may have been a «calling card» reference to another tragedy the disappearance of MH370.
Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 came to grief on July 17, 2014, en route from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur, and all 298 people on board the plane were killed. This occurred during unrest in the area that had escalated into an armed conflict between pro-Russia separatists and the Ukrainian government, a few months after Russia annexed Crimea. The Dutch Safety Board and Dutch-led joint investigation team concluded that the Boeing 777-200ER had been downed by Russia-backed rebels with a Buk surface-to-air missile.
They also concluded that it had most likely been a tragic mistake to hit a civilian aircraft.
Just four months earlier, Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 had gone missing on March 8, 2014, en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing with 239 people on board.
MH370 was never found and it still remains one of the world’s most bewildering aviation mysteries.
However, one expert has claimed these two incidents are actually related ‒ and that they have the same perpetrator.
Jeff Wise, who has been investigating MH370’s disappearance since 2014, has concluded that it was Russia to blame for both attacks.
His theory is that Russia was hitting back against the West for sanctions imposed on Russia as a result of the annexation of Crimea and ongoing conflict in eastern Ukraine.
He posited that MH370 was chosen simply because Russian military intelligence had worked out a specific “hack” that meant they could swiftly and silently hijack a plane and send it to its doom.
Then, MH17 was chosen as a so-called “calling card”, an obscure way of demonstrating that the incidents were indeed related.
Mr Wise wrote in his 2015 book ‘The Plane That Wasn’t There’: “If I had to guess, I would say that perhaps MH370 was a demonstration of prowess.
«A way to say to the West: ‘You can hurt us with sanctions, but don’t sleep too soundly at night, because we can hurt you in ways that you can’t even imagine.’
“MH370 was targeted only because the Russians had worked out a hack that would only work in very particular circumstances and MH370 happened to fit them.
“MH370 might have been a reprise in a far blunter fashion, a way of saying in effect: ‘Remember the last time you zapped us? You hurt again, we’re hurting you again.’
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“This time, the victims’ aircraft type was chosen as a kind of calling card, like an insignia left behind on the victims of a massacre.”
Former CIA Operative Robert Bear apparently told him: “For Russia, this may have been a way of saying: ‘The day after sanctions, you want to see what sanctions are going to get you? We can prove it’s going to suck.’”
This theory only works, of course, if the West ‒ more specifically the US ‒ was aware that Russia was to blame for MH370.
While it seems unlikely for the US to know this piece of information and never reveal it, it may seem more plausible when it is considered that such an admission could escalate into an unwanted war with Russia.
One reason Mr Wise believes these incidents are related is their astonishing similarities and how unlikely it is to take place entirely coincidentally.
Both planes affected were Boeing 777s belonging to Malaysia Airlines of which there were 15 in the world out of a total of around 19,000 commercial airliners at the beginning of 2014.
As 777s have an almost perfect safety record and none have ever been lost to in-flight failure, the chances of this being a coincidence appear to be low.
What’s more, both resulted in the (presumed) deaths of over 200 people and, according to Mr Wise, neither have been adequately explained.
While the international community generally concluded after MH17 that it had been a tragic accident at the hands of untrained militiamen, others suggested it’s possible it was a more calculated attack from the Russian government.
Finally, both occurred after a similar dispute over sanctions.
On March 6, 2014, US President Barack Obama imposed sanctions against Russia in response to its interference in Ukraine.
On March 7, Russia’s foreign minister Sergey Lavrov responded by saying that sanctions would “inevitably hit the US like a boomerang” ‒ the next day MH370 went missing.
A few months later, on July 16, President Obama announced new sanctions against Russia and Vladimir Putin himself released a public statement, warning that sanctions “generally have a boomerang effect” ‒ the next day MH17 was shot down.
When considered in this context, the events of MH370 and MH17 are eerily similar.
Mr Wise added that, while the motive for these attacks may appear thin, it is “dangerous to theorise what another person will or will not do based on your perceptions of what their best interests are.
“What seems irrational to you might seem entirely reasonable given the desires, fears, goals and perceptions that only they themselves are aware of.”
However, this is just one theory and there are dozens of others, none of which have been proven.