A large, two-engined commercial airliner, flying at an altitude of 33,000 ft, cannot be brought down by a shoulder-fired missile, like a Russian copy of a Stinger. To do that requires serious anti-aircraft artillery. The principal Russian missile systems capable of doing the deed are the Buk (NATO codenames SA-11 Gadfly and SA-17 Grizzly), or the S-300/S-400 (NATO codenames SA-10 Grumble, SA-12 Gladiator, SA-20 Gargoyle, SA-21 Growler, and SA-23 Giant), systems. Apparently, there is credible evidence that the Boeing 777 was shot down by a Buk
It is important to realize that missiles of this size are not fired individually but forms part of a larger unit such as a battery or a battalion. In the case of the Buk:
“A standard Buk battalion consists of a command vehicle, target acquisition radar (TAR) vehicle, six transporter erector launcher and radar (TELAR) vehicles and three transporter erector launcher (TEL) vehicles. A Buk missile battery consists of two TELAR and one TEL vehicle.”
“The Buk-M1-2 TELAR uses the GM-569 chassis designed and produced by JSC MMZ (Mytishchi). TELAR superstructure is a turret containing the fire control radar at the front and a launcher with four ready-to-fire missiles on top. Each TELAR is operated by a crew of four and is equipped with CBRN protection.”
Click on the link for the “GM-569 chassis”. It is not a small vehicle, and it is not simple.
The S-300/S-400 systems are even more elaborate and complicated.
I point all of this out to demonstrate that it is very unlikely that Malaysian MH17 was not shot down by a bunch of local yahoos out on a lark. Missiles that can bring down major airliners flying at altitude require a team of men – each trained in his specialty - to operate. There can be only two sources of such men: ‘former’ Russian army ‘veterans’ who have ‘volunteered’ to fight in the Ukraine, or similar men still on the Kremlin payroll.
Either way, Putin sent them there.
If the United States had a real President, he would make hay of this – turning it into a major propaganda debacle for Putin. Instead, the President is Obama, and he will just fritter away the opportunity, allowing the incident to fade into obscurity.