In mid-July Malaysian Airlines Flight MH 017 was shot down by a Russian SA-11 missile while flying over the eastern Ukraine, killing all 298 on board. This incident seems likely to have far greater impact on Western relations with Russia than the Russian attacks on Ukraine and, previously, on Georgia. Western governments inclined not to enforce expensive economic sanctions against the Russians may find it almost impossible to ignore the images of innocent citizens, most of them Dutch and Australian, killed by a Russian missile fired irresponsibly (or perhaps intentionally, which would be far worse) into an area traversed by airliners. Conversely, that the Russians preferred to cover up responsibility for the attack, rather than make any attempt at an apology and restitution, seems destined to inflame the affair and to keep its memory alive.
World Naval Developments - Implausible Deniability
By Norman Friedman