international intrigue

MH17 Black Boxes Are in Malaysian Custody

A Malaysian investigator, left, takes a black box from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 as it is handed over by a Donetsk People's Republic official in the city of Donetsk, eastern Ukraine Tuesday, July 22, 2014. Bowing to international pressure Monday, pro-Moscow separatists released a train packed with bodies and handed over the black boxes from the downed Malaysia Airlines plane, four days after it plunged into rebel-held eastern Ukraine. (AP Photo/Dmitry Lovetsky)
Photo: Dmitry Lovetsky

After a weekend of back-and-forth over who actually found the black boxes from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, they’ve finally surfaced for real. In the wee hours of the morning on Tuesday (Ukrainian time), the rogue pro-Russian rebels of the Donetsk People’s Republic passed the recordings to Malaysian officials. Ukraine, Russia, and Dutch investigators were all apparently left out in the cold.

According to journalists present at the makeshift press conference, the DPR’s paperwork came complete with specially designed pechats — stamps — to signify the legitimacy of its government. Alexander Borodai, the so-called prime minister of the region, reportedly told Malaysian officials that Ukrainians shot down the plane. They, in turn, told him they “would like to convey our sincere appreciation to His Excellency Mr. Borodai for obeying our request.” A screenwriter couldn’t draft a shadier scene if he tried. 

Of course, it’s not like Malaysia is known for furnishing the unvarnished truth. In the early days of the MH370 disappearance in March, Malaysian officials had their own bit of backtracking and story-changing, and that investigation still hasn’t been closed. But we’ll keep our fingers crossed that in this case, their only motive is uncovering the truth.

MH17 Black Boxes Are in Malaysian Custody