Originally posted by Simon Shuster on July 17, 2015 for Time.com—
“An investigation remains stymied one year after a plane with almost 300 people on board was shot down.
There was never any lack of witnesses to the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, which killed all 298 people on board. It happened in broad daylight exactly a year ago, on July 17, 2014, in a part of eastern Ukraine that separatist fighters had seized a few months earlier with abundant help from Russia. The names and whereabouts of their leaders are well known. Western and Ukrainian officials have long accused them of shooting down the plane with a Russian-made missile. So the problem is not in finding them but in bringing them to justice, which will be nearly impossible without Russia’s help. And that help has not usually been forthcoming.
Take, for instance, the Russian paramilitary group known as the Don Cossacks, which enjoys the financial support and legal recognition of the Russian state. From May until November of last year, the commander of this group, Nikolai Kozitsyn, was in control of a patch of territory in eastern Ukraine around the coal-mining town of Antratsyt, which is about 10 miles down the road from the crash site of Flight 17.”
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