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The bitter lessons of MH17

By Pavlo Klimkin
updated 6:55 PM EDT, Tue July 29, 2014
Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 crashed in mid-July in eastern Ukraine. Here, a woman walks with her bicycle near the crash site on Saturday, August 2. Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 crashed in mid-July in eastern Ukraine. Here, a woman walks with her bicycle near the crash site on Saturday, August 2.
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Malaysia Airlines jet crashes in Ukraine
Malaysia Airlines jet crashes in Ukraine
Malaysia Airlines jet crashes in Ukraine
Malaysia Airlines jet crashes in Ukraine
Malaysia Airlines jet crashes in Ukraine
Malaysia Airlines jet crashes in Ukraine
Malaysia Airlines jet crashes in Ukraine
Malaysia Airlines jet crashes in Ukraine
Malaysia Airlines jet crashes in Ukraine
Malaysia Airlines jet crashes in Ukraine
Malaysia Airlines jet crashes in Ukraine
Malaysia Airlines jet crashes in Ukraine
Malaysia Airlines jet crashes in Ukraine
Malaysia Airlines jet crashes in Ukraine
Malaysia Airlines jet crashes in Ukraine
Malaysia Airlines jet crashes in Ukraine
Malaysia Airlines jet crashes in Ukraine
Malaysia Airlines jet crashes in Ukraine
Malaysia Airlines jet crashes in Ukraine
Malaysia Airlines jet crashes in Ukraine
Malaysia Airlines jet crashes in Ukraine
Malaysia Airlines jet crashes in Ukraine
Malaysia Airlines jet crashes in Ukraine
Malaysia Airlines jet crashes in Ukraine
Malaysia Airlines jet crashes in Ukraine
Malaysia Airlines jet crashes in Ukraine
Malaysia Airlines jet crashes in Ukraine
Malaysia Airlines jet crashes in Ukraine
Malaysia Airlines jet crashes in Ukraine
Malaysia Airlines jet crashes in Ukraine
Malaysia Airlines jet crashes in Ukraine
Malaysia Airlines jet crashes in Ukraine
Malaysia Airlines jet crashes in Ukraine
Malaysia Airlines jet crashes in Ukraine
Malaysia Airlines jet crashes in Ukraine
Malaysia Airlines jet crashes in Ukraine
Malaysia Airlines jet crashes in Ukraine
Malaysia Airlines jet crashes in Ukraine
Malaysia Airlines jet crashes in Ukraine
Malaysia Airlines jet crashes in Ukraine
Malaysia Airlines jet crashes in Ukraine
Malaysia Airlines jet crashes in Ukraine
Malaysia Airlines jet crashes in Ukraine
Malaysia Airlines jet crashes in Ukraine
Malaysia Airlines jet crashes in Ukraine
Malaysia Airlines jet crashes in Ukraine
Malaysia Airlines jet crashes in Ukraine
Malaysia Airlines jet crashes in Ukraine
Malaysia Airlines jet crashes in Ukraine
Malaysia Airlines jet crashes in Ukraine
Malaysia Airlines jet crashes in Ukraine
Malaysia Airlines jet crashes in Ukraine
Malaysia Airlines jet crashes in Ukraine
Malaysia Airlines jet crashes in Ukraine
Malaysia Airlines jet crashes in Ukraine
Malaysia Airlines jet crashes in Ukraine
Malaysia Airlines jet crashes in Ukraine
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STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Pavlo Klimkin: With downing of MH17, price of peace in eastern Ukraine already too high
  • Klimkin: Ukrainians know bitterness of loss, share grief with families of the deceased
  • He says the guilty must be promptly punished

Editor's note: Pavlo Klimkin is the Foreign Minister of Ukraine. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.

(CNN) -- During the last four months, the people of Ukraine have been fighting for their freedom, independence and European path in a war started by Russia-backed terrorists and their accomplices.

Ukrainian military forces suffer heavy losses in battles against terrorists equipped with the newest Russian weaponry. We've seen reports of the pro-Russian thugs shooting women and children, cynically calling it a "protection of the Russian-speaking population."

The price we are paying to bring peace back to the regions of Donetsk and Luhansk in eastern Ukraine is too high. Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has proposed the decentralization of power as part of his peace plan. It means more freedom, more economic autonomy and more opportunities to use languages spoken in a particular community for every region.

How rebels in Ukraine built up an arsenal capable of reaching the skies

Pavlo Klimkin
Pavlo Klimkin

Ukraine has also demonstrated its genuine willingness to resolve this crisis through negotiations and compromises. Our armed forces have shown exceptional restraint during their military operations in order to avoid casualties among peaceful civilians and prevent destruction of their towns and villages. Our unilateral cease-fire in the zone of the conflict had lasted from June 20 to June 30, during which 27 Ukrainian servicemen, from all over Ukraine, were killed by the bandits.

On July 17 we believe the terrorists fired at the Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777, cutting short the lives of almost 300 people. This was a tragic wake-up call to the whole world. From now on Russian exporters of terrorism bring tragedy and tears to people across the planet -- from the Netherlands to Australia.

Ukrainians, knowing too well the bitterness of loss, sincerely share grief with the families of the deceased. Our government is conducting, together with a team of international experts, a thorough investigation of the circumstances of this heinous act of terrorism. There is already incontrovertible evidence that the airliner was shot down by an anti-aircraft missile system that had arrived from Russia.

Russia denies involvement in Ukraine
Kidnappings 'terrorize' Ukraine
Fighting stalls MH17 investigation

When civilian planes are shot down

For the first time since 1983, when a Soviet jet fighter deliberately shot down a South Korean Boeing 747, Russia stands entangled in such a horrendous tragedy. We remember that an objective investigation of that catastrophe was made possible only 10 years later, after the USSR collapsed. We would not like to have to wait that long to learn the truth about the tragedy of MH17.

Indeed, the guilty must be promptly punished.

We are encouraged with the growing understanding in both the West and the East of the nature of terrorism in eastern Ukraine. While U.S. senators and European Union ministers already consider designating the Donetsk People's Republic and its Luhansk twin as terrorist organizations, we expect Russia to halt its support to terrorists. Since most of them are Russian citizens and "former" security service officers, we also urge Moscow to take them away from Ukraine. They must go home.

Russian sponsorship of terrorism in Ukraine amply demonstrates that in the 21st century any regional conflict invariably poses a threat to global security.

International and internal terrorism, as well as unbridled export of conventional and high-tech weaponry, have no regard for state borders, national sovereignty or human lives.

Ukraine has been consistently advocating not only international control of nuclear weapons, but today we also stand for the creation of a universal mechanism for international control of conventional arms.

We strive for a world based on the respect for international law and trust between nations.

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Part of complete coverage on
updated 8:58 AM EDT, Tue September 9, 2014
Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 broke apart in the air after it was hit by a burst of "high-energy objects" from outside, according to a report.
updated 7:40 AM EDT, Tue September 9, 2014
The report into Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 says everything. And yet it says nothing about the cause of the plane's crash and the criminals.
updated 7:34 AM EDT, Tue September 9, 2014
"There were many scenes that defied logic," writes OSCE spokesman Michael Bociurkiw, who was one of the first international observers to arrive at the site.
updated 6:55 PM EDT, Tue July 29, 2014
During the last four months, the people of Ukraine have been fighting for their freedom, independence and European path in a war started by Russia-backed terrorists and their accomplices.
updated 2:57 PM EDT, Wed July 23, 2014
A nun, an AIDS researcher, an athlete and a family traveling on summer vacation. These were some of the victims aboard MH17.
updated 8:29 AM EDT, Sat July 26, 2014
The mother of two brothers killed in the MH17 plane crash has spoken of her regret at not taking her youngest son's fears over the flight seriously.
updated 2:01 PM EDT, Sun July 27, 2014
A long line of hearses, accompanied by police, carried the remains slowly toward a Dutch military base, where forensic investigators will begin the grim work of identifying them.
updated 2:08 PM EDT, Fri July 25, 2014
Seeing the images of the mangled wreckage of an aircraft after a crash is difficult for any flight attendant.
updated 7:04 PM EDT, Thu July 24, 2014
The United States and its allies are angrier at Russia now over Ukraine, but will they do anything more about it -- especially Europe?
updated 3:00 AM EDT, Thu July 24, 2014
When passengers boarded Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 last week, they couldn't have known they were about to fly over a battlefield.
updated 5:25 AM EDT, Wed July 23, 2014
The horrifying crash has put the pro-Russia rebels center stage -- and raised all kinds of questions about who they are, what they want and who's in charge.
updated 11:40 AM EDT, Sun July 20, 2014
Some contend that larger weapons have come into Ukraine from Russia.
updated 1:04 PM EDT, Mon July 21, 2014
Aerial photos show the scale of the crash site and help investigators to answer lingering questions.
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