July 23 was marked by progress in the fact-finding into the terrorist attack on the passenger aircraft Boeing 777 that was shot down by the Russian terrorists in the conflict zone in Eastern Ukraine. On July 22 the first reports came that the black boxes from the downed aircraft were handed over to Malaysian officials. Day later these reports have been confirmed and the recorders have continued their journey to the destination. The members of the expert group from the Dutch Security Council got them. Then they transported them to the city of Farnborough (United Kingdom), were the flight data recorder is to be analysed very soon. The British investigators promised to provide results of the decrypting in 24 hours after receipt of the black boxes.
The British newspaper The Daily Telegraph with reference to the spokesman of the British Prime Minister David Cameron announced that major Russian businessmen who has close links to Vladimir Putin hastily began to withdraw their assets from London, fearing a new wave of economic sanctions. Let us recall that after the crash the Malaysian Boeing 777 the British citizens have called for tough punishment of Russians who are participating in ‘actions threatening the territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence of Ukraine’.
The British cabinet ministers are reviewing the economic cooperation with Russia, suspending all existing licenses and applications for the supply of arms to Russia, all licenses for dual-use products for the Russian armed forces and the federal agencies, export license transfers to third countries, if there is a risk that the final product will be delivered to Russia and be used against Ukraine.
There are some details on the next phase of enhanced sanctions which been negotiated at the meeting of the European Council on July 16. Тhe Board of Directors of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) has decided that new investment in Russia is impossible in the near future, but EBRD has no intention of closing the representative office in Russia, and will continue to invest in existing projects. In fact the Bank has implemented the recommended following the results of the Council meeting.
The German Chancellor Angela Merkel does not tire of calling Russia to influence the terrorists in Eastern Ukraine, and facilitate international investigations into the disaster. She also declared that Germany supports the European Union’s decision to place additional restrictive measures on Russia. It seems that the tragedy with the Boeing-777 affected the political rhetoric of Mrs Merkel strongly. She is more uncompromisingly speaking against Russia, but in some aspects including the refusal to support the idea of abolishing the right of Russia to host the 2018 Soccer World Cup, Frau Ribbentrop was stick to her dual line.
In the midst of these events the result of the public opinion poll in Germany showed that 53 percent of the Germans support the imposition of sanctions and the freezing of bank accounts of some people of high rank of the Russian Federation. The Christian Democratic Union (the German political party) and its leader Karl-Georg Wellmann call the Europe ‘indecisive’ and already action taken ‘too weak’. This is positive for Ukraine.
The same time the United States had become increasingly active. On July 23 the leaders of the three committees of the Senate urged Barack Obama to find DPR as a terrorist organization, and expand the sanctions to the energy, financial and defence sectors of the Russian Federation. The Republican Senator John McCain also expressed doubt that Europe is capable of more, and described the present sanctions as “a joke”. Latest events demonstrate the hard-line position of the United States and show that Ukraine has a strong ally, which less talks and does more in comparison with Europe.
In Russia an urgent special session of the State Duma convened by the Vladimir Putin was announced. What question will be the key for this meeting is unknown, but Ukraine should be ready to respond quickly to any possible threat.
For the past few days the mourned Ukrainians pay tribute at the Dutch embassy in Kiev. They place candles, wreaths, messages and flowers to commemorate the victims of Malaysia Airlines MH17. On July 23 we join the people of the Netherlands in the National day of mourning which declared in the country for the first time in 50 years…