Monday, 1 September 2014

Airspace anxiety

Full article in JPG format:
page 18/19 & page 20/21

The downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 (MH17) over eastern Ukraine in July gave an international dimension to what had hitherto been a bilateral conflict between Moscow and Kiev. Unlike in February, when the West quietly stood by as Russia annexed Crimea, the murder of 298 mostly Dutch passengers by Moscow-backed rebels forced the European Union (EU) to act, imposing harsh economic sanctions on Russia.

How the conflict will play out under these new dynamics remains to be seen, with NATO estimating that 20,000 Russian troops have amassed at Ukraine’s border ahead of what many fear will be a full-blown invasion. Hopes that Russian president Vladimir Putin might have been chastened by the catastrophe were quickly dashed. Within days of the loss of MH17, two more Ukrainian military jets were shot down. The death toll on both sides has surpassed 2,000 and is rising daily.

But as well as dragging East-West relations to their lowest ebb since the Cold War, MH17 is stoking fears about wider vulnerabilities in the world’s increasingly crowded skies...