The front pages: 'Putin the pariah'
- 21 July 2014
As the newspapers continue to be dominated by stories around the apparent shooting down of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 over east Ukraine, questions of culpability and sanctions dominate Monday's press.
The Times says US intelligence claims to have proof that Russia supplied the ground-to-air missiles - suspected of bringing down the passenger jet - to separatist rebels in eastern Ukraine. Russia also provided training, the paper adds.
The Americans say the three Buk-M1 systems, of the type believed to have carried out the attack, crossed into rebel territory from Russia as part of a military convoy of 150 vehicles, the newspaper reports.
The vehicles are said to have recrossed the border "within hours" of the incident on Thursday, the paper continues.
The Times has shown experts pictures of the downed plane's fuselage which they say shows damage consistent with a fragmentation warhead.
The Sun is among many papers showing a picture of a uniformed man holding what appears to be one of the jet's "black box" flight recorders.
It reproduces a transcript of a recording which Ukrainian intelligence says it has made of separatist rebels discussing the boxes.
One commander apparently says: "Our friends from high above are very interested in the fate of the black boxes. I mean people from Moscow. Try to take everything that you find so that it doesn't get into somebody else's hands."
The Daily Mail explains that "the black boxes would be of great interest to Russia as they could be used to pinpoint exactly where the aircraft was when it was hit and so calculate where the missile launcher is likely to have been stationed".
The paper quotes an air safety expert who says Moscow may be "able to alter" information on the recorders, if they have them in their possession.
The Financial Times says social media images that seemingly show the smoke trail of a Buk missile being launched suggest it was fired from the rebel-held Torez-Snizhne area which "rules out a launch from further away by Ukrainian forces".
The paper says an image of a Buk-M1 uploaded on to YouTube on Thursday shows the missile launcher in the town of Snizhne, near the Russian border.
Turning to the West's response to the plane's downing, the Daily Mail's headline says the prime minister has warned that "Russia's billions" would be frozen.
The paper says Britain is pushing for sanctions against "Mr Putin's 'crony group' of wealthy supporters", many of whom have homes in London.
"Downing Street refused to say which individuals would be targeted, but there is speculation it could eventually include well-known figures, such as Roman Abramovich, who has close links to Putin," the paper continues.
The Independent quotes Britain's new Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond as saying "we have tools in our toolbox. We can inflict damage on the Russian economy".
The Times leader column says European foreign leaders meeting on Tuesday "must set out in detail the price of Russia's refusal to accept responsibility for the rebels it is backing in eastern Ukraine".
The Guardian interviews a variety of ordinary Russians - many of whom accuse the Ukrainians or Americans of engineering the jet's demise.
As well as the politics, the papers still report the human side of the MH17 tragedy.
The Daily Mirror pictures the train used to carry a reported 196 bodies away from the crash site.
Headlining its report "the death train", the paper says the bodies may be being moved "in a bid to hide clues from inspectors".
The train - with refrigerated carriages - moved in the middle of the night to the separatist-held town of Torez, the Mirror adds.
The Daily Telegraph reports fears of bereaved families that the remains of their loved ones will be used as "bargaining chips" by pro-Russian forces.
"Relations last night described the situation as 'horrific' and called on David Cameron and other Western leaders to do more to ensure the bodies of their loved ones are returned," the paper says.
The Guardian says that as of Sunday "not a single international aviation expert or investigator" has been able to access the crash site.
The paper's Shaun Walker, at the scene, was told by locals from the area "you only come here because they are foreigners dead. We've been having a war here for months".
The Times quotes a pro-Russian separatist leader as saying they are storing the evidence and waiting for the experts' arrival.
"They must be walking from Kiev," Andrei Purgin told the paper.
The Times reports that journalists at the scene claim to have seen some locals filling car-boots with items pilfered from the plane.
The Daily Mail's Ian Birrell says the train was a "chilling echo of Nazi death trains".
He adds a "gruesome tussle" is developing over the dead from flight MH17.
Burnt out ambulances
The Ukraine is not the only grim tale in Monday's press; in the wake of the deadliest day of fighting in Gaza for years, many papers examine the conflict.
The death of at least 87 Palestinians in the Gaza City suburb of Shejaiya has been condemned as a "war crime" by the Palestine President Mahmoud Abbas.
Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called the area "a fortress of terror" which had "been used to fire rockets into Israel".
The Independent lists some of the hellish conditions in the district: an old woman trapped for hours under rubble; a 10-year-old boy injured by a tank shell that killed a woman standing feet away from him; a doctor and a paramedic dead in one of four burnt out ambulances.
"Shejaiya had been hammered, with not one building left undamaged in many streets," it adds.
The paper says Mr Netanyahu has accused Gaza's Hamas leadership of wanting to "pile up as many civilian dead as they can" to make Israel look bad.
"They want more dead, the more the better," he said.
The Daily Telegraph reports the fear of Israelis living on kibbutzim near the Gaza Strip border.
As well as rocket alarms - 10 had been sounded in a few hours on Sunday alone, the paper says - they fear militants coming from tunnels to kill or kidnap them.
The kidnap fears have been fuelled by equipment found on dead and captured militants which included "syringes, tranquilisers, plastic handcuffs and Israeli uniforms," the paper reports.
The Times reports that destroying the tunnels is the Israeli forces key objective, the Times reports.
The paper says the country's military had worked for years at formulating plans to destroy the tunnels, but they had concluded the task could "only be done with a ground invasion of Gaza... the entrances of many tunnels are inside homes and can only be taken from the ground".
In an analysis piece, the paper says military experts say stopping rocket attacks from Gaza will be "all but impossible" without occupying the area for months, if not years. That would entail "a far higher death toll than Israel has the stomach to see, and a far higher Palestinian death toll than the world would be willing to see," it adds.
The Guardian has two opinion pieces on the conflict.
The first, from columnist Owen Jones, quotes a human rights campaigner who says when Palestinians die "Israelis don't deny they have died, but they've gone through a mental process that blames the Palestinian deaths on Palestinians themselves".
In the second, Israeli politician Hilik Bar says: "As Israel's ambassador to the UK Daniel Taub said recently 'We don't have to apologise for Israelis not being killed'.
"Perhaps Israel should switch off the early-warning system to notify Israelis of missiles, and stop using Iron Dome until more Israelis than Palestinians have been killed?
"Only then, having satiated the media thirst for Israeli blood by dying in sufficient numbers, would Israel be 'allowed' to resume its protective operations to let Israelis live peaceful lives free from terror."
There is some lighter news in Monday's papers, in particular in their discussion of Northern Ireland golfer Rory McIlroy's victory at the British Open.
The Daily Mirror is one of a number of papers to report that McIlroy's father Gerry had a double reason to be ecstatic having collected £110,00 on a £200 bet that he and a friend placed in 2004 that his son would win The Open in the next 10 years.
A further bet by one of Gerry McIlroy's friends won £50,000, the paper reports.
The Daily Express says McIlroy dedicated his success at Hoylake to his mother Rosie, who was watching him sink the final putt.
The County Down-born golfer's parents certainly deserve praise for their part in their son's success, the Express adds.
Gerry McIlroy worked 100 hours a week in several jobs and Rosie took a night job in a factory to provide enough money for a young Rory to compete in tournaments in America, it explains.
The Financial Times' "Mr Sport" Matthew Engel says McIlroy's victory "puts him on par with [Jack] Nicklaus and [Tiger] Woods".
Engel says this year's Open "was won... by the most exciting player of his generation after four rounds of thrilling golf. What can be better than that?"
He adds that like Andy Murray, McIlroy has had to deal with "the question of nationality on top of other pressures".
Coming from a Catholic background, McIlroy has opted to represent the Republic of Ireland at the next Olympics, but - as a contender for BBC Sports Personality of the Year - Engel says the 25-year-old is "British enough for us".
Pointing out that McIlroy's win made him one of three Northern Irish golfers to win majors in the last for years, Engels concludes: "A region that rarely offers good news now has some."
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