- Iran is in effect on a war footing with the United States (US).
- The US and Ukraine are key allies.
- Russia, occupying several regions of eastern Ukraine and having annexed the Crimean Peninsula in 2014, is in effect at war with Kyiv.
- Ukraine International Airlines(UIA) flight PS752 flying between Tehran and Kyiv crashes shortly after take off. There were no survivors among the 176 passengers, which including 11 Ukrainian nationals but no Russians.
- Russia and Iran are allies, although it wouldn’t be mischievous to suggest that the former would take the side of any nation in dissentio with the US.
- Malaysian Airlines flight 17 operating between Amsterdam and Kuala Lumpur was brought down in 2014 over occupied eastern Ukraine. There were no survivors. The joint investigation team have concluded that Russia be held responsible for the crash, reportedly caused by a Buk surface-to-air missile fired from Russian-occupied territory. None of the 298 victims were Russian.
No longer a Superpower Russia nevertheless has the sophistication and intelligence to disrupt, make mischief, and remind the wider world that interference in what it regards as its own affairs will not be tolerated, or overlooked. Notwithstanding its alleged previous form would it though stoop so low to bring down the UIA flight on territory of an ally?
It is true that there are uncomfortable comparisons to be made at a time of heightened tension between the US and Iran, as well as the Trump administration’s less than subtle cosying up to Ukraine for its own ends. Is this a reminder from Russia that it is still in the room, and that the US assassination of Iranian general Qasem Soleimani is another example of outside interference, a trait that Moscow finds so obviously abhorrent? Or, is the UIA crash an accident and horrendous coincidence, that just so happened to occur at perhaps the most inopportune moment for an already complex Russian, Iranian, American, and Ukrainian Venn diagram to become yet more intriguing?
Source material and further information:
BBC News(UK): http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-51029994