Nearly six years to the date, and the mystery of just what happened to Malaysia Air flight 370 remains.
As conspiracy theories about what downed the jet and presumably killed everyone onboard abound, the latest suggests that Russian military intelligence may have been involved in the ill-fated flight.
Aviation journalist Jeff Wise, who has been following and reporting on the case almost since the moment of the jet’s disappearance has suggested that it was the Russian military who is to blame for the tragedy.
In a recent article based on his book “The Plane That Wasn’t There,” Wise claims that the plane actually flew north, instead of south, and ended up in Kazakhstan, a close ally of Russia. According to Wise, a truly incredible coincidence is just one of the reasons this theory could be true.
He reports that in the weeks just before MH370 disappeared, Russia had annexed Crimea and was on the receiving end of criticism from the international community about it.
At the time of the annexation, European and American officials condemned the military interference in Ukraine.
Wise wrote, “Indeed the weeks before MH370’s disappearance saw incredibly critical language from European and American officials in response to Russia’s move in Ukraine.”
Then, on March 6, US President Barrack Obama took punitive action, signing an executive order imposing sanctions against “individuals and entities responsible for activities undermining democratic processes or institutions in Ukraine.”
Russia’s foreign minister Sergey Lavrov bit back, declaring Russia would respond in kind. Lavrov said Russian actions would “inevitably hit the US like a boomerang”.
The following day, MH370 vanished. According to Wise, it is therefore possible that MH370 was used as a political football, either to whack the Americans with, or indeed to distract from the escalating crisis. In this way, the timing alone is suspicious – but Wise claims that it is not the only suspicious factor implicating the Russians.
The idea that the plane could very well have terminated its journey in Kazakhstan leads to the obvious question of “Why?” For one thing, based on satellite data, the only country the plane could credibly have landed in, if not in international waters, is the country Kazakhstan – the country that is most closely allied with Russia in the world.
Kazakhstan’s President at the time, Nursultan Nazarbayev, was the only national leader to publicly support Vladimir Putin after the annexation of Crimea.
During a nuclear security summit meeting at The Hague on March 25, he likened the ascension of pro-Western leaders in Ukraine as “an unconstitutional coup d’etat”.
He added that the annexation was justified by the “discrimination of minority rights” referring to bigotry against ethnic Russians that took place under the regime.
Indeed, Russia’s Karaganov Doctrine asserts that Russia should pose as the defender of human rights of ethnic Russians living in former Soviet republics for the purpose of gaining political influence in those regions, and that it has the right to intervene militarily should these rights be infringed upon.
What’s more, the satellite data indicates that the plane could very well have landed in the area of the Baikonur Cosmodrome. Baikonur is a spaceport in southern Kazakhstan that is leased out to Russia.
It has a rich history, having been a launch pad for both Sputnik 1, the first artificial satellite, and Vostok 1, the first human spaceflight.
However, these days it sits mostly unused. Nearby is Yubileyniy Airport with an airstrip designed specifically for landing unmanned aircrafts.
All this information points to the fact that, had Russia managed to hijack MH370, for some kind of political leverage, it had two very good places in Kazakhstan to land it.
This, combined with the fact that Wise says some of the data indicates it very well could have finished its journey there, and Russians had a motive, could all add up to the solution to one of the greatest aviation mysteries of all time.