An assassination attempt against Russian President Vladimir Putin. A desperate ploy to draw the West into the battle for Ukraine’s east. A botched mission to commit mass murder against Russian citizens. Russian news consumers are getting plenty of explanations for the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, which killed 298 people. While they vary wildly in content, all point the finger at Ukraine. None admits the possibility that Russia may bear responsibility. Yekaterina Andreyeva, one of Russia’s most famous TV anchors, delved into one theory hours after news of the crash broke: Putin, travelling home from Brazil, passed along the same flight path as the Malaysian passenger jet less than one hour before it was hit—suggesting an assassination attempt.
The presidential plane and the Malaysian Boeing crossed paths at the exact point and at the same flight level … The shape of the plane and the length are absolutely similar, and their colour would appear almost identical at such a distance.
Yekaterina Andreyeva, famed TV anchor, indulging in speculation
By Friday morning, the assassination theory was replaced by other scenarios. One focused on the Buk missile launcher that Ukraine says brought down the plane. State-owned Rossiya TV pinned blame on Kiev by saying the rebels did not own one, while Ukraine recently deployed a Buk launcher to the area. An Associated Press journalist saw a Buk launcher—which rebels have bragged about owning in social media—in rebel-held territory near the crash site hours before the plane was brought down. Rossiya further said that the red, white and blue of the Malaysia Airlines logo “resembles the Russian tricolour”—hinting at a Ukrainian attempt to blow up a Russian passenger jet.
The fact that the plane fell is an American provocation … They always do everything possible to blame Russia. It’s possible that there were corpses that were placed ahead of time in the seats of the plane.
Vladimir Zhirinovsky, Russian MP