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Ukraine: Malaysian airliner shot down near Russian border

Posted by pakin On July - 18 - 2014

Ukrainian rebels are reported to have shot down a Malaysian jet carrying 295 people over eastern Ukraine near its border with Russia, a Ukrainian Interior Ministry official said.

The Boeing 777 flight between Amsterdam and Kuala Lumpur was said to have been hit by a missile and went down near the eastern town of Torez, Ukrainian Interior Minister adviser Anton Gerashchenko said on his Facebook page. The plane was carrying 280 people and 15 crew, he said.

The plane began losing altitude about 50 kilometres from Russian air space, news service Interfax reported, citing an unidentified aviation official. The wreckage of the plane was found burning on Ukrainian territory, in an area that has seen heavy fighting between pro-Russian separatists and Ukrainian government forces.

The airline said on its Twitter account that it lost contact with flight MH17 from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur. “The last known position was over Ukrainian airspace,” it said.

The fate of the passengers remains unclear.

Both Russian and Ukrainian sources confirmed that the plane went down between the city of Donetsk and the Russian border.

Mr Gerashchenko said the plane was downed with a surface-to-air missile system supplied to the rebels by Russia.

Separatist leaders have denied the accusation and suggested that the plane was shot down by Ukrainian forces.

Andrei Purgin, a leader of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic, told Interfax that the insurgents had no Russian-made “Buk” missile systems.

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said the Malaysia Airlines jet that crashed over rebel-held eastern Ukraine may have been shot down.

“We do not exclude that the plane was shot down and confirm that the Ukraine Armed Forces did not fire at any targets in the sky,” Mr Poroshenko said in a statement posted on the president’s website.

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