|Quoting Klaus (Reply 224):|
The current sanctions aren't even half of the way up yet, and Putin knows it (which is the whole point).
Which is why I expect Russia to cut its losses and cooperate in the crash investigation rather diligently. I doubt there is much they could actually hide at this late point anyway. 300 dead civilians including many children don't leave them much of a choice in any case.
They will deny providing the equipment to the "rebels", and blame either the rebels using allegedly captured Ukrainian equipment, or Ukrainians, depending on how easy it will be to create a chain of artifacts pointing to the Ukrainians. They appear to have the flight recorder, so I'm sure they're working hard on their story. The "cooperation" will be in the form of selected elements that will tell the story the Russians want to be told. Even out of a serious mistake (shooting at something when you don't even know what it is you are shooting at), opportunities arise for special measures and disinformation.
They know the probably cannot fool the Ukrainians or the Americans. The goal is to create just enough uncertainty for the Europeans, who probably suspect the truth, but will not want to face it. Putin will zig zag to give the Europeans an excuse not to act, but Russian policy to eventually absorb Ukraine and other neighboring states will not change. The fundamental disconnect between freedom of peoples and realpolitik of an increasingly totalitarian state with an increasingly race-based ideology will be increasingly obvious, but difficult to face due to the increasing sacrifice entailed. Its easier to announce token sanctions and pretend nothing serious is happening.
In fact, its eerily similar to the events leading up to WWII.
There isn't even a qualified national authority able to access the crash site, except the neighboring country who likely supplied the weapon. I'm not optimistic about how useful the on site investigation will be in the current circumstances.
[Edited 2014-07-17 19:11:47]