Local experts weigh in on Malaysian Airlines crash

The world is now watching Ukraine and Russia again, this time to see who shot down a passenger plane carrying nearly 300 people.

NBC 10 talked to local experts who have knowledge of the region.

Thomas Fedyszyn is a professor at the Naval War College in Newport. He has spent time in Ukraine and was also stationed in Moscow for two years as the Navy's attach to Russia. He told NBC 10, "I was somewhat surprised, not completely surprised because there have been several aircraft shoot downs in that part of Ukraine over the last several days."

Fedyszyn said, "Perhaps the good news here is because NATO and US European Command has been watching this part of the world so closely for so long, we may well know quite a bit about what happened here."

URI professor Nicolai Petro, who recently finished a year as a visiting scholar in Ukraine, talked to NBC 10 in a telephone interview from Paris. "Over the past several months there have been gradually escalating conflict," Petro said.

As to who shot down the Malaysian Airlines plane, Petro said, "The Ukrainian military obviously has such weaponry, but it says that recently one of these kinds of weapons fell into the hands of the rebels."

Fedyszyn thinks all arrows point to the pro-Russian rebels, that they may have shot down the Malaysia Airlines plane by mistake. "To suggest they might be trigger happy might not be too far of a push," said Fedyszyn.

He believes either Ukrainian or Russian military would have known a plane a flying at that altitude and speed was not a military target. "A Russian separatist may not have had that level of expertise. In other words, a little bit out of control perhaps due to ignorance."