Putin’s chilling message to Xi Jinping after MH17 downing – ‘leave it to me’

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It has been nine years since Flight MH17 was shot down while flying over eastern Ukraine.

All 238 passengers and 15 crew were killed after a surface-to-air missile was fired at the commercial aircraft.

The nine years have plagued all those involved, especially the families of the perished, who have yet to receive full closure over the person and country responsible for the deaths of their loved ones.

It took until February of this year for Dutch investigators to conclude that Russian President Vladimir Putin likely supplied the missile that downed the flight.

Back then, in 2014, the Ukrainian region had for months been engulfed in a bitter and intense conflict between Russian-backed separatists and the Ukrainian state — a battle that spilled over into the rest of Ukraine in early 2022.

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Suggestions that Putin was implicated in the crime against humanity have been floated for years, with private investigators and authors all attempting to find the true culprit.

In 2021, Florence De Changy, a foreign correspondent for the French publication Le Monde, threw her hat into the ring with her book, The Disappearing Act: The Impossible Case of MH370.

The MH370 disaster was separate from MH17, but Ms De Changy believes the two incidents are linked, claiming that Putin himself became actively involved in the disasters to improve his political pedigree on the global stage.

Among some of the goals Ms De Changy accuses Putin of pursuing were to get “revenge” on the US and to better his relationship with Chinese President Xi Jinping.

Both Russia and China, Ms De Changy says, suspect the US of shooting down Malaysia Airlines’ Flight MH370 — which disappeared mid-flight — in March 2014 while it was flying from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing, months before the shooting of Flight MH17.

Onboard MH370 were 153 Chinese citizens of 227 passengers, all of whom are presumed dead.

Linking the two incidents, Ms De Changy writes about a source who appears to allege Putin’s hand in the Flight MH17 disaster.

The source says that Putin, speaking to Xi after Flight MH370, said: “What happened is not acceptable. Leave it to me.”

Downing MH17, Ms De Changy argues, gave the Russian President a chance to send a message to Washington: “You mess with us, and we’ll mess with you.”

Speaking to The Sun, she said: “What is obvious is that the likelihood of this double accident is basically beyond statistics.

“To have two planes of the same model and the same company destroyed in four months should not be treated as just bad luck.”

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She continued: “I noticed that Xi and Putin were getting closer than ever during that period of time and they happened to have been physically together in Brazil when MH17 was downed. The day before, they talked of taking their relationship to a new ‘higher level’ and Putin mentions ‘striking the iron while it’s hot’.

“I also discussed this [theory] with people in that world [intelligence services] and to my great surprise, the more informed and high ranking they were, the less shocked they seemed about this hypothesis.

“In fact, one told me, the more outrageous the more likely it is to be true, in this kind of operation.”

Others have made similar links, including Jeff Wise, a journalist, who in his book, The Plane That Wasn’t There, argues that Russia downed both Flight MH370 and MH17 in order to tell the West, “You can hurt us with sanctions, but don’t sleep too soundly at night.”

Nine years on, the pursuit of justice for the victims killed in MH17 continues. In recent years the Dutch court has made significant steps forward in advancing the case, including finding three men — two Russians and a Ukrainian — guilty of murder in absentia and sentencing them to life in prison. A third Russian was acquitted.

Lengthy investigations concluded that a Russian-made missile had been supplied by Russia and fired by an armed group under Russian control.

Putin has since been called on to hand over the three men involved so they can face their charges in a European court. But Russia condemned the verdict as scandalous and politically motivated.

The two Russians, Igor Girkin and Sergei Dubinsky, and Ukrainian Leonid Kharchenko, were all senior figures in the so-called Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR).

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