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Ukraine

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Index
  1. Ukraine Main Page
  2. An Independent Nation
  3. A Struggling Economy and a Troubled Government
  4. Gas Causes an Energy Crisis
  5. Several Rounds of Elections and Another Gas Crisis
  6. Ally of Former Prime Minister Jailed
  7. 2012 Language Bill and New Election
  8. Massive Protests Call for Yanukovich's Resignation
  9. Yanukovich Flees Capital
  10. Russian Troops Sent to Crimea
  11. Putin Announces Annexation of Crimea
  12. Unrest Spreads to Other Eastern Cities
  13. Referendums on Autonomy Held in Other Eastern Regions
  14. Billionaire Businessman Wins Presidential Election
  15. Passenger Jet Crashes in Eastern Ukraine
  16. Offensive by Ukrainian Military Results in Gains; Rebels, Government Agree on Cease-Fire
  17. Pro-Western Parties Dominate Parliamentary Elections
Passenger Jet Crashes in Eastern Ukraine

A Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 crashed in eastern Ukraine near the Russian border on July 17, killing all 298 passengers and crew members. The crash occurred in territory where pro-Russian separatists have been battling Ukrainian troops. President Poroshenko said the crash was an act of terror. "I would like to note that we are calling this not an incident, not a catastrophe, but a terrorist act," he said. Ukrainian, European, and American officials said the plane was shot down by a Russian-made surface-to-air missile, citing satellite images. The plane took off from Amsterdam and was headed to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Poroshenko accused the separatists of launching the missile, which they denied. Russian president Putin also denied having any role in the disaster.

A day after the crash, President Obama said he believed that the rebels shot down the plane. He called the crash a "global tragedy" and faulted Putin for continuing to arm the rebels and for not stopping the fighting. Most analysts said rebels may have thought they were targeting a military transport plane rather than a commercial jet. A day before the crash, the U.S. imposed further sanctions on Russia in response to Putin's refusal to stop arming the separatists. The latest round of sanctions are the most punitive yet against Russia and target large defense and energy firms and banks. Previously, only Russian individuals and the businesses directly related to the destabilization in Ukraine had been sanctioned. The U.S. began providing rebels with nonlethal aid, including military advice, intelligence, and body armour. Officials from the U.S., Ukraine, and NATO said they believe that not only is Russia arming the rebels, that the country is also firing rockets from inside Russia.

The European Union and U.S. imposed a coordinated round of broad sanctions on Russia on July 29. The sanctions place an embargo on new weapons sales to Russia, limit the sale of some technology and equipment to the oil industry, and ban Europeans and European companies from doing business with Russian-owned banks. Businesses and several individuals closely connected to Putin were also affected by the sanctions, which are the toughest imposed on Russia since the Cold War. In response, Putin banned the import of food from countries involved who imposed the sanctions.

The rebels were criticized for denying outside access to the bodies of the victims and to the crash site. The separatists transported the bodies to refrigerated train cars in Torez, another rebel-controlled city in eastern Ukraine. They were also accused of removing important evidence from the crash site. On July 22, the rebels transported the bodies and the flight recorders to Kharkiv, a government-controlled city, but they still refused to allow inspectors to investigate the wreckage.

The Netherlands' air safety board, which investigated the crash of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, released a preliminary report in early September and determined the plane was brought down by "high-energy objects from outside the aircraft." The report confirmed that a missile caused the crash. The report did not say who launched the missiles. It did rule out either pilot error or a mechanical problem with the plane.

Prime Minister Yatsenyuk resigned on July 24 when two major parties, Svoboda and Udar, bolted from the governing coalition. Parliament, however, rejected his resignation.

Next: Offensive by Ukrainian Military Results in Gains; Rebels, Government Agree on Cease-Fire
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