World / Opinion

Expert: air disaster raises stakes

( Updated: 2014-07-18 10:37

Expert: air disaster raises stakes
Live reporting: Malaysian plane downed in Ukraine
SUMMARY: UK security expert says the Russia-Ukraine conflict is no longer a regional dispute, but one of global significance stretching all the way to East Asia.

A leading UK security expert has said the crash of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 over eastern Ukraine has brought greater international significance to the simmering dispute in the former Soviet republic.

Paul Cornish, professor of Strategic Studies at The University of Exeter's Strategy and Security Institute, told China Daily, the Russia-Ukraine confrontation is of great significance for the stability of post-Cold War Europe, and now the rest of the world has been brought a step closer to the front.

"(The conflict) called into question the judgment and behavior of Russia and Ukraine and also other European governments, the European Union and NATO," said Cornish.

"Up until today it was a regional crisis which carried the serious danger of being copied on other European borders, such as in the Baltic States. Yet it was, curiously, a crisis which Europe and the world was becoming used to. This has change."

According to Cornish, if the Malaysian Airlines aircraft was destroyed by a missile then "this brings the conflict onto the international scale".

Cornish continued: "There must be immediate and extensive work to identify the reason for the disaster. If it turns out that the reason was indeed a missile strike then it will be vital to identify the launch site and missile type.

"My final thought is that if the aircraft was destroyed at the normal operating height for civil airlines then the missile system responsible must have been of an advanced capability, of the sort which would be available only to well-organized and well-equipped air defense forces."



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