CONTROVERSIAL TOPICS

CONTROVERSIAL TOPICS

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Malaysian passenger plane carrying 295 people 'shot down' over Ukraine near Russian border

 

 

 

Malaysian passenger plane carrying 295 people 'shot down' over Ukraine near Russian border

A Malaysian Airlines passenger plane has been shot down on the Russian-Ukraine border, killing all 295 people on board, according to a Ukrainian interior ministry official.

Flight MH17, which was carrying 280 passengers and 15 crew, was flying between Amsterdam and Kuala Lumpur after taking off at lunchtime today.

The Interfax news agency reported that the aircraft went missing near Donetsk, where pro-Russian rebels have been fighting Ukrainian government forces.

TV pictures from the scene showed a pall of smoke billowing into the sky apparently from the stricken aircraft.

It is believed the plane was struck by BUK surface-to-air missile at 33,000ft around 20 miles before entering Russian airspace.

 

Disaster: Smoke billows into the sky after a Malaysia Airlines passenger plane was shot down over eastern Ukraine, killing all 295 people on board

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Disaster: Smoke billows into the sky after a Malaysia Airlines passenger plane was shot down over eastern Ukraine, killing all 295 people on board

Tragedy: TV pictures show a pall of smoke billowing into the sky apparently from the stricken aircraft

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Tragedy: TV pictures show a pall of smoke billowing into the sky apparently from the stricken aircraft

Passenger plane 'shot down on Russia/Ukraine border'

The shoulder-launched Russian-made BUK surface-to-air missile can be packed into a golf bag and assembled and fired very rapidly by one person with minimal training.

Defence experts have expressed fears in the past they could be used to target at civil aircraft.

A similar launcher was seen by Associated Press journalists near the eastern Ukrainian town of Snizhne earlier today.

However, defence analyst Major Charles Heyman, who edited a book called Armed Forces of the European Union, believes it could have been downed by a 'slack' Ukraine air defence centre.

He told Sky News: 'It looks like confusion. It’s possible that Ukraine thought it was hostile and not civilian and shot it down.'

Malaysian Airlines said they have no information about any survivors.

In a tweet, the airline said: 'Malaysia Airlines has lost contact of MH17 from Amsterdam. The last known position was over Ukrainian airspace. More details to follow.'

The jet would have been flying at high altitude on an intercontinental flight that took it over the crisis hit region of Ukraine, where the authorities have accused Russia-backed separatists of previous attacks on aircraft.

Earlier today the Ukrainian authorities said one of their fighter jets was shot down by an air-to-air missile from a Russian plane and Ukrainian troops were fired upon by missiles from a village inside Russia.

The alleged episodes mark what Ukraine says is mounting evidence that Moscow is directly supporting separatist insurgents in eastern Ukraine who have substantial quantities of powerful weapons.

Ukraine said a military transport plane was shot down Monday by a missile fired from Russian territory. Security Service chief Valentyn Nalyvaichenko said he had "unconditional evidence" that Russia was involved in downing that aircraft.

Downed: A Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777-200, similar to the passenger plane that has crashed in the Ukraine

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Downed: A Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777-200, similar to the passenger plane that has crashed in the Ukraine

The crash comes three months after the mysterious disappearance of Malaysian Airlines flight MH370 which is though to have crashed into the Indian Occean.

Two weeks ago, investigators say what little evidence they have to work with suggests the plane was deliberately diverted thousands of kilometres from its scheduled route before eventually plunging into the Indian Ocean.

The search was narrowed in April after a series of acoustic pings thought to be from the plane's black box recorders were heard along a final arc where analysis of satellite data put its last location.

But a month later, officials conceded the wreckage was not in that concentrated area, some 1,000 miles off the northwest coast of Australia, and the search area would have to be expanded.

The next phase of the search is expected to start in August and take a year, covering some 60,000 sq km at a cost of AU$60 million ($56 million) or more. The search is already the most expensive in aviation history.

The new priority search area is around 2,000km west of Perth, a stretch of isolated ocean frequently lashed by storm force winds and massive swells.

 

A Ukrainian military transport plane which was shot down along the country's eastern border was likely to have been hit by a rocket fired from neighbouring Russia, Ukraine's defence minister has claimed.

Rebels in conflict-wracked eastern Ukraine immediately claimed responsibility for downing the Antonov-26 which authorities say may have been carrying up to 20 people.

But Ukrainian defence minister Valeriy Heletey said the plane was flying at an altitude of 21,300 feet, which is too high to be reached with separatists' weapons.

The tail-section of the Ukraine military An-26 transport aircraft which was shot down close to the Russian border. Pro-Russian rebel groups have claimed responsibility for the attack

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The tail-section of the Ukraine military An-26 transport aircraft which was shot down close to the Russian border. Pro-Russian rebel groups have claimed responsibility for the attack

The shooting followed a Moscow threat to use  'surgical retaliatory strikes', according to respected newspaper Kommersant.

Putin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov dismissed the report. 'I don't comment on this in any way. It's complete nonsense.' In the last two weeks, the government has halved the territory held by pro-Russia separatists, who have been forced back into strongholds around the eastern cities of Luhansk and Donetsk.

Those two mostly Russian-speaking regions have declared independence from the government in Kiev.

Fighting intensified around Luhansk as government forces stepped up efforts to disrupt rebel lines and reclaim more territory from the faltering insurgency. One resident said panic was gripping the city.

Despite reports of military successes, however, Ukraine's president announced he has more evidence that Russia has directly supported a separatist insurgency against his government that is dragging into its fourth month.

Photo taken on July 14, 2014 shows a destroyed armoured vehicle on the road of the airport in the south of Lugansk.  The defence ministry said Monday that Ukrainian jets carried out five air strikes against separatist positions close to Lugansk but there was no confirmation of rebel claims that Kiev had massed tanks in the outskirts ahead of a major push into the city. AFP PHOTO / DOMINIQUE FAGETDOMINIQUE FAGET/AFP/Getty Images

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A destroyed armoured vehicle on the road of the airport in the south of Lugansk. Russia's defence ministry said today that Ukrainian jets carried out five air strikes against separatist positions

There was no confirmation of rebel claims that Kiev had massed tanks in the outskirts ahead of a major push into the city of Lugansk

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There was no confirmation of rebel claims that Kiev had massed tanks in the outskirts ahead of a major push into the city of Lugansk

The defence ministry said government troops had retaken several villages around the rebel-controlled city of Luhansk and had reopened a corridor to its civilian airport

Today Russian state television has aired an unconfirmed report claiming the Ukrainian army publicly nailed a three-year-old boy to a board in a former rebel stronghold.

In move that has provoked a storm of criticism, Channel One broadcast an interview in which a woman gave graphic details of the alleged incident.

She said she recently saw Ukrainian soldiers round up people in the Ukrainian flashpoint city of Slavyansk and nail an insurgent's child to a notice board.

Attempts to corroborate the report have so far failed and Ukraine responded by accusing Russia of ratcheting up its propaganda war.

A spokeswoman for Ukraine's interior ministry, Natalya Stativko, on Monday slammed the report as 'following in the footsteps of Goebbels,' Nazi Germany's minister of propaganda.

'The cruder and the more monstrous the lie, the better it will look for the Russian propaganda machine,' Stativko said.

People board buses as they depart as refugees to Russia in the city of Donetsk, eastern Ukraine Monday, July 14, 2014. Five busloads of Internally Displaced People from the towns of Slavyansk, Karlovka, Maryinka and Donetsk left here Monday morning for the Rostov region in Russia to ask for refugee status there. (AP Photo/Dmitry Lovetsky)

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Five busloads of 'Internally Displaced People' from the towns of Slavyansk, Karlovka, Maryinka and Donetsk left this morning for the Rostov region in Russia to ask for refugee status there

People look through a bus window as they depart as refugees to Russia in the city of Donetsk, eastern Ukraine Monday, July 14, 2014.  Five busloads of Internally Displaced People from the towns of Slavyansk, Karlovka, Maryinka and Donetsk left here Monday morning for the Rostov region in Russia to ask for refugee status there. (AP Photo/Dmitry Lovetsky)

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Refugees look through a bus window as they depart to Russia in the city of Donetsk, eastern Ukraine

Residents of the Donetsk region in eastern Ukraine prepare to board buses for Rostov-on-Don in Russia from a collection point in Donetsk July 14, 2014. Russia threatened Ukraine on Sunday with "irreversible consequences" after a Russian man was killed by a shell fired across the border, while Kiev said Ukrainian warplanes struck again at separatist positions in the east of the country, inflicting big losses. REUTERS/Maxim Zmeyev (UKRAINE - Tags: POLITICS CIVIL UNREST)

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Residents of the Donetsk region in eastern Ukraine prepare to board buses for Rostov-on-Don in Russia from a collection point in Donetsk

Galina Timchenko, former editor of Lenta.ru, a prominent news portal in Moscow, said the report was a gross breach of professional ethics by one of Russia's most watched channels.

'This is an egregious violation of professional ethics,' she said. 'Not only is there no proof anywhere -- this is not even being questioned.'

Opposition leader Alexei Navalny denounced the channel as 'nutty' for airing the report.

'Are they completely sick to be concocting this?' he wrote on his blog. 'The people behind this are a danger to society and what they are doing is a true crime.'

Representatives of Channel One declined immediate comment.

The report featured a woman named as Galina Pyshnyak, who was interviewed at a refugee camp in Russia, describing the incident that she labelled an act of revenge.

'They gathered women on the square because there are no more men. Women, girls, old people,' Pyshnyak said.

'They took a child of around three years old, a little boy in his underwear and a T-shirt and nailed him to a notice board like Jesus. One was nailing him and two others holding him.'

Russian official rhetoric often compares events in Ukraine to Nazi Germany and calls the pro-Western Kiev government a 'fascist junta'.

A Ukrainian serviceman patrols as the deminers neutralize mines and other explosives in the village of Semenovka, near the eastern Ukrainian city of Slavyansk in the Donetsk region on July 14, 2014,. Ukrainian troops claimed fresh gains Monday around one of the main remaining separatist strongholds as Moscow reportedly weighed up "targeted" cross-border strikes following the alleged deadly shelling of a Russian town.  AFP PHOTO/ GENYA SAVILOVGENYA SAVILOV/AFP/Getty Images

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A Ukrainian serviceman patrols as the de-miners neutralise mines and other explosives in the village of Semenovka, near the eastern Ukrainian city of Slavyansk in the Donetsk region

A Ukrainian serviceman looks inside an abandoned house as he patrols in the village of Semenovka, near the eastern Ukrainian city of Slavyansk in the Donetsk region on July 14, 2014. Ukrainian troops claimed fresh gains on July 14 around one of the main remaining separatist strongholds as Moscow reportedly weighed up "targeted" cross-border strikes following the alleged deadly shelling of a Russian town.  AFP PHOTO/ GENYA SAVILOVGENYA SAVILOV/AFP/Getty Images

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Ukrainian troops claimed fresh gains around one of the main remaining separatist strongholds as Moscow reportedly weighed up 'targeted' cross-border strikes following the alleged deadly shelling of a Russian town

Ukrainian deminer carries a mortar shell as they neutralizes mines and other explosives  in the village of Semenovka, near the eastern Ukrainian city of Slavyansk in the Donetsk region on July 14, 2014,. Ukrainian troops claimed fresh gains Monday around one of the main remaining separatist strongholds as Moscow reportedly weighed up "targeted" cross-border strikes following the alleged deadly shelling of a Russian town.  AFP PHOTO/ GENYA SAVILOVGENYA SAVILOV/AFP/Getty Images

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A Ukrainian de-miner carries a mortar shell as they neutralizes mines and other explosives in the village of Semenovka, near the eastern Ukrainian city of Slavyansk

Russia's defence ministry said today that Ukrainian jets carried out five air strikes against separatist positions close to Lugansk but there was no confirmation of rebel claims that Kiev had massed tanks in the outskirts ahead of a major push into the city.

Meanwhile, the Kremlin today threatened military strikes on Ukraine in an alarming escalation of the worst conflict between former member countries of the Soviet Union.

RUSSIA MASSING BORDER TROOPS

Russia is swelling its troop numbers again on the border with Ukraine amid new fears of an invasion of the east of the country, claimed Kiev sources yesterday.

The force could be sabotage squads or masked as 'peacekeepers', warned military analyst Dmytro Tymchuk.

Tymchuk claimed Russian special forces and intelligence brigades were massing across the border from Ukraine's Donetsk territory.

'Special force units are coming to Rostov region,' he said. 'This is reconnaissance and sabotage groups of staff brigades of the Russian GRU intelligence special forces.

'According to our data, the commanders of these units have been told that they will be brought into the territory of Ukraine on July 15.'

Tymchuk, coordinator of the Information Resistance Group, has previously accurately predicted troop deployments in the bloody conflict which has seen almost 600 people killed in the EU's backyard.

He warned that Russian forces could be sent into Ukraine as "peacekeepers" or in green uniforms without insignia as happened when Crimea was grabbed  in March.

Or a wave of sabotage squads could be sent into Ukraine to back "terrorists" - as pro-Western Kiev refers to insurgent pro-Moscow fighters.

Ukraine's president Petro Poroshenko yesterday claimed Russian troops were already fighting alongside the rebels inside his country.

'Russian staff officers are taking part in military operations against Ukrainian forces,' he said.

And official sources echoed the fears of a troop build-up, the month after Vladimir Putin assured Western leaders his armed forces were going back to their barracks.

'Deployment of Russian units and military equipment across the border from the Sumy and Luhansk border points was noticed. The Russian Federation continues to build up troops on the border,' warned Ukraine national security council spokesman Andriy Lysenko.

Kiev insists that a Russian man killed at a border town was shot by pro-Moscow separatists in an act of provocation.

'Fighters systematically fire mortars and shoot into Russian territory, which killed a Russian citizen," said Lysenko.

The threat will cause deep concern in the West and comes amid reports of residents fleeing the city of Donetsk amid fears of a major battle between Ukrainian troops and rebels.

Moscow is considering 'surgical retaliatory strikes' on the Ukrainian territory following claims that people in Russia were killed and wounded after being struck by shells from across the border.

'Our patience is not boundless,' a source told Kommersant newspaper, owned by Arsenal Football Club shareholder Alisher Usmanov.

'This means not a massive action but exclusively targeted single strikes on positions from which the Russian territory is fired at.'

The Russian side 'knows for sure the site where the fire comes from', said the source. ,

The proposed plan echoes a statement by a deputy speaker of Russia's upper house, Yevgeniy Bushmin, who told RIA Novosti news agency that using precision weapons in response to Ukraine's shelling would prevent further Kiev's attacks of Russian territory.

'There is a feeling that if before firing was not aimed against Russian border guards, now provocations have been on the rise as there is no other means of forcing us to join in the standoff with Ukraine's security troops,' he said.

'The only way to fight against this like civilised countries do, namely the US and the EU. We should use precision weapons, like Israel, to destroy those who fired this shell.'

Ukraine claimed that the attack was staged by pro-Moscow rebels, denying any involvement by its armed forces.

One Russian citizen was reported killed when a shell exploded in a yard of a house in a small border town also called Donetsk, the same name as the Ukrainian city.

Another shell hit a house, injuring two women, a 82-year-old mother and her daughter. The elderly woman was hospitalised with concussion and fractures.

Meanwhile there were reports that rebels have started using a Sukhoi Su-25 attack aircraft - their first warplane - against Ukrainian forces.

Today's threat from the Kremlin followed a warning on Sunday by the Russian foreign ministry of 'irreversible consequences' from the border 'attack'.

Moscow deemed it 'an extremely dangerous escalation' .

Kiev claims that Moscow is arming rebels with Grad multiple-rocket system, and alleged any shooting across the Ukraine-Russian frontier was by insurgent fighters and not its armed forces.

The Kremlin allegation was 'total nonsense', it claimed.

Moscow earlier appeared to pull back tens of thousands of troops close to the border amid fears it could invade eastern Ukraine.

The Russian senate also rescinded permission for Vladimir Putin to deploy forces in Ukraine.

 

 

 

 

 

A Malaysian Airlines passenger plane has been shot down on the Russian-Ukraine border, killing all 295 people on board including a reported five to ten Britons and 23 Americans.

The Boeing 777 aircraft was hit by a sophisticated surface-to-air missile over territory near Donetsk held by pro-Russian rebels who the Ukrainian government says are backed by the Kremlin.

The Ukrainian authorities laid the blame for the attack on the rebels by denying any responsibility for the missile launch.

TV pictures from the scene showed a pall of smoke billowing into the sky near Donetsk, apparently from the stricken flight MH17.

Witnesses say body parts are scattered over a distance of 15km, suggesting the plane broke up in mid-air.

Whitehall sources told MailOnline that between five and ten Britons were feared dead. Interfax news agency reported that 23 U.S. citizens were on board.

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Destroyed: An armed pro-Russian separatist stands at a site of a Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 plane crash in the settlement of Grabovo in the Donetsk region of Ukraine

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Destroyed: An armed pro-Russian separatist stands at a site of a Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 plane crash in the settlement of Grabovo in the Donetsk region of Ukraine

Carnage: A firefighter tackles a blaze at the site of the Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 plane crash in the settlement of Grabovo in the Donetsk region of Ukraine

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Carnage: A firefighter tackles a blaze at the site of the Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 plane crash in the settlement of Grabovo in the Donetsk region of Ukraine

Salvage operation: Emergencies Ministry members work at the crash site after the plane was shot down, killing all 295 on board

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Salvage operation: Emergencies Ministry members work at the crash site after the plane was shot down, killing all 295 on board

Into a war zone: The jet was flying over the crisis-hit region of Ukraine, where the authorities have accused Russia-backed separatists of previous attacks on aircraft

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Into a war zone: The jet was flying over the crisis-hit region of Ukraine, where the authorities have accused Russia-backed separatists of previous attacks on aircraft

Catastrophic: A view of one of a crash site in the settlement of Grabovo in the Donetsk region. Witnesses said bodies were found scattered for many kilometres

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Catastrophic: A view of one of a crash site in the settlement of Grabovo in the Donetsk region. Witnesses said bodies were found scattered for many kilometres

Prime Minister David Cameron said: 'I'm shocked and saddened by the Malaysian air disaster. Officials from across Whitehall are meeting to establish the facts.'

He has summoned officials from across Whitehall for urgent talks at 7pm to discuss the latest on the crash, and what is known about any British casualties. A Whitehall source said that this evening's meeting was involving Government officials, rather than ministers, and was focused on establishing what needs to be done for any British citizens caught up in the incident.

The Foreign Office is in talks with consular teams in Amsterdam and Kuala Lumpur to obtain passenger lists to establish how many UK nationals were on board.

‘We are aware of the reports and are urgently working to establish what has happened,’ a Foreign Office spokesman said.

Asked about reports that up to 10 British people had been on board, the spokesman added: ‘Our first priority is to establish if there are any British persons on board but we are not in a position to go beyond that line.’

Discarded: Luggage from the plane is piled up at the crash site by rescue workers performing recovery work in east Ukraine

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Discarded: Luggage from the plane is piled up at the crash site by rescue workers performing recovery work in east Ukraine

Crash site: A picture taken this afternoon shows bodies amongst the wreckage of the doomed plane

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Crash site: A picture taken this afternoon shows bodies amongst the wreckage of the doomed plane

Search: The Foreign Office is in talks with consular teams in Amsterdam and Kuala Lumpur to obtain passenger lists to establish how many UK nationals were on board the plane

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Search: The Foreign Office is in talks with consular teams in Amsterdam and Kuala Lumpur to obtain passenger lists to establish how many UK nationals were on board the plane

Action: A Whitehall source said that this evening's meeting was involving Government officials, rather than ministers, and was focused on establishing what needs to be done for any British citizens caught up in the incident

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Action: A Whitehall source said that this evening's meeting was involving Government officials, rather than ministers, and was focused on establishing what needs to be done for any British citizens caught up in the incident

'Terrible': Twenty-three Americans are feared dead in the crash, which President Barack Obama called a 'terrible tragedy'

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'Terrible': Twenty-three Americans are feared dead in the crash, which President Barack Obama called a 'terrible tragedy'

Meanwhile, Russian President Vladimir Putin in a telephone conversation told U.S. President Barack Obama that a Malaysian airplane crashed on Ukrainian territory, the Kremlin said.

The two leaders held a pre-planned call on the situation in Ukraine during which information became available from air traffic controllers about the crash.

Twenty-three Americans are feared dead in the crash, which President Barack Obama called a 'terrible tragedy'.

The president spoke briefly about the crash as he appeared in Wilmington, Delaware on Thursday afternoon and said his national security team are working to determine if there were any U.S. citizens on board the plane that was carrying 295 people to Kuala Lumpur.

'Our thoughts and prayers are with all the passengers' families,' he added.

The aircraft, which was carrying 280 passengers and 15 crew, was flying between Amsterdam and Kuala Lumpur after taking off at lunchtime today.

It is believed the plane was struck by BUK surface-to-air missile at 33,000ft around 20 miles before entering Russian airspace.

Catastrophe: Fire and smoke rises from the wreckage. Ukraine President Petro Poroshenko denied his forces were involved in shooting down the plane

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Catastrophe: Fire and smoke rises from the wreckage. Ukraine President Petro Poroshenko denied his forces were involved in shooting down the plane

The aircraft, which was carrying 280 passengers and 15 crew, was flying between Amsterdam and Kuala Lumpur after taking off at lunchtime

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The aircraft, which was carrying 280 passengers and 15 crew, was flying between Amsterdam and Kuala Lumpur after taking off at lunchtime

'Terrorist act': The Ukrainian authorities laid the blame for the attack on the rebels by denying any responsibility for the missile launch

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'Terrorist act': The Ukrainian authorities laid the blame for the attack on the rebels by denying any responsibility for the missile launch

Ripped apart: Wreckage of the Malaysian Airlines flight after it crashed in rebel-held territory in Eastern Ukraine

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Ripped apart: Wreckage of the Malaysian Airlines flight after it crashed in rebel-held territory in Eastern Ukraine

Down: Smoke billows into the sky after a Malaysia Airlines passenger plane was shot out of the sky at 33,000ft over eastern Ukraine, killing all 295 people on board

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Down: Smoke billows into the sky after a Malaysia Airlines passenger plane was shot out of the sky at 33,000ft over eastern Ukraine, killing all 295 people on board

Tragedy: TV pictures show a pall of smoke billowing into the sky apparently from the stricken aircraft

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Tragedy: TV pictures show a pall of smoke billowing into the sky apparently from the stricken aircraft

An unverified image posted online show Ukrainian inspecting what appears to be wreckage from the doomed flight

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An unverified image posted online show Ukrainian inspecting what appears to be wreckage from the doomed flight

Personal belongings: It is believed the plane was struck by BUK surface-to-air missile at 33,000ft around 20 miles before entering Russian airspace

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Personal belongings: It is believed the plane was struck by BUK surface-to-air missile at 33,000ft around 20 miles before entering Russian airspace

Poignant: Passports of some of the victims. Emergency services rescue worker said at least 100 bodies had so far been found at the scene near the village of Grabovo

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Poignant: Passports of some of the victims. Emergency services rescue worker said at least 100 bodies had so far been found at the scene near the village of Grabovo

Doomed: Flight MH17 takes off from Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam hours before it was shot down over Ukraine

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Doomed: Flight MH17 takes off from Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam hours before it was shot down over Ukraine

SHOT OUT OF THE SKY: OTHER PLANES HIT MID-FLIGHT

April 20, 1978: Korean Airlines Flight 902, which diverted from its planned course on a flight from Paris to Seoul and strayed over the Soviet Union.

After being fired upon by an interceptor aircraft, the crew made a forced landing at night on the surface of a frozen lake. Two of the 97 passengers were killed by the hostile fire
September 1, 1983: Korean Air Lines Flight 007 shot down by at least one Soviet air-to-air missile after the 747 had strayed into Soviet airspace. All 240 passengers and 29 crew were killed
July 3, 1988: Iran Air Flight 655 Aircraft was shot down by a surface to air missile from the American naval vessel U.S.S. Vincennes. All 16 crew and 274 passengers were killed

The missile system is an old Soviet-built weapon designed to engage light aircraft, cruise missiles and drones.

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko issued a robust denial that his forces were involved in shooting down the plane, saying: 'We do not exclude that this plane was shot down, and we stress that the Armed Forces of Ukraine did not take action against any airborne targets.'

'We are sure that those who are guilty in this tragedy will be held responsible,' he added.

Pro-Russian rebels also denied they were involved in the attack, saying they believed the plane had been shot down by the Ukrianian air force.

Earlier, pro-Russia rebels claimed responsibility for surface-to-air missile on two Ukrainian Sukhoi-25 jets yesterday.

The Ukrainian Defense Ministry said the second jet was hit by a portable surface-to-air missile - not a BUK - adding that the pilot was unscathed and managed to land his plane safely.

Defence experts have expressed fears in the past they could be used to target at civil aircraft.

Earlier, defence analyst Major Charles Heyman, who edited a book called Armed Forces of the European Union, believes it could have been downed by a 'slack' Ukraine air defence centre.

He told Sky News: 'It looks like confusion. It’s possible that Ukraine thought it was hostile and not civilian and shot it down.'

Powerful: The BUK surface-to-air missile system (like this one) that is believed to have shot down flight MH17 is an old Soviet-built weapon designed to engage light aircraft, cruise missiles and drones

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Powerful: The BUK surface-to-air missile system (like this one) that is believed to have shot down flight MH17 is an old Soviet-built weapon designed to engage light aircraft, cruise missiles and drones

Path to disaster: A graphic showing the flight path of Malaysia Airlines MH17 after taking off from Amsterdam at lunchtime en route to Kuala Lumpur

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Path to disaster: A graphic showing the flight path of Malaysia Airlines MH17 after taking off from Amsterdam at lunchtime en route to Kuala Lumpur

The radar route of Malaysian Airlines plane MH17

Why was MH17 flying through a warzone? European safety watchdog warned against using Ukraine airspace since APRIL

Air accident investigators are planning to inspect the proposed flight plan lodged by pilots on board Malaysian Airlines flight MH17.

The 17-year-old jet was shot down over Donetsk in Eastern Ukraine despite commercial aircraft being warned against using the airspace because of the ongoing conflict.

One of the major questions is whether the Malaysian flight crew received the warning from flight safety officials about the risk to safety.

The jet was travelling at 33,000 feet at 490 knots when it disappeared from radar screens over Donetsk.

It is believed that the Malaysian Airlines pilots ignored several warnings to avoid the airspace over Ukraine. It is understood the Malaysian Airline jet used the Ukrainian route to save fuel as diverting north or south would have taken longer.

In April, the European Aviation and Safety Agency warned: ‘Taking into consideration the recent publication by the Russian Federation of a series of notices to airmen (NOTAMs) modifying the Simferopol FIR which is under the responsibility of Ukraine, and their intent to provide air traffic services (ATS) within this airspace, the Agency draws the aviation communities’ attention to the possible existence of serious risks to the safety of international civil flights.

The doomed flight on the tarmac of Amsterdam airport just hours before it was shot down over Ukraine  

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The doomed flight on the tarmac of Amsterdam airport just hours before it was shot down over Ukraine 

‘Due to the unsafe situation where more than one ATS provider may be controlling flights within the same airspace from 3 April 2014, 0600 UTC onwards, consideration should be given to measures to avoid the airspace and circumnavigate the Simferopol FIR with alternative routings. ‘

On July 8, the State Aviation Administration of Ukraine closed its airspace to civilian aircraft after rebels shot a military transport aircraft that was flying over 20,000 feet.

The restriction, warned commercial aircraft from transiting

British aircraft were warned to avoid the area altogether. A Notice to Airmen, seen by Mail Online warned: ‘Due to the potential for conflicting air traffic control (ATC) instructions from Ukrainian and Russian authorities and for the related potential for misidentification of civil aircraft, UK aircraft operators are strongly advised to avoid, until further notice, the airspace over Crimea, the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov.’

The EASA supplied airlines with a list of alternative routes avoiding the conflict zone.

The US Federal Aviation Authority had also banned its aircraft from the Crimea region.

The suspected shooting down of a large passenger plane while flying at altitude presents airlines and their passengers with an extremely serious new development in air travel, according to aviation experts.

They also question the future of Malaysia Airlines - caught in the global glare of bad publicity following the disappearance of flight MH 370 earlier this year.

If today's incident is confirmed as a deliberate act then Ukraine airspace could well be closed down, meaning diversions for UK carriers who currently fly to and over the area.

‘This could be a very serious development,’ said David Kaminski-Morrow, air transport editor of Flightglobal magazine.

He went on: ‘If reports are true, we are not talking about small-arm fire but serious weaponry. Normally even if planes fly over a war zone they can go high enough for the conflict not to be a worry.

‘Any decision about the opening or closing of Ukranian airspace will be a matter for the Ukrainians. It could well be that part or all of that airspace will now be closed.

‘Also, individual airlines, including UK carriers, could decide to detour around Ukraine.’

Mr Kaminski-Morrow continued: ‘It's really quite incredible that it should be Malaysia Airlines involved in this, after what happened earlier in the year.

‘This is not a small airline on a faraway route. This was a major airline flying from a European destination to a capital in the Far East. There must be serious concerns about how the airline can recover from this.

‘There will obviously be political as well as aviation concerns from all this. This will run and run.’

Malaysian Airlines said they have no information about any survivors.

In a tweet, the airline said: 'Malaysia Airlines has lost contact of MH17 from Amsterdam. The last known position was over Ukrainian airspace. More details to follow.'

A Boeing spokesman said: ‘Our thoughts and prayers are with those on board the Malaysia Airlines airplane lost over Ukrainian airspace, as well as their families and loved ones.

'Boeing stands ready to provide whatever assistance is requested by authorities.'

The jet would have been flying at high altitude on an intercontinental flight that took it over the crisis hit region of Ukraine, where the authorities have accused Russia-backed separatists of previous attacks on aircraft.

Earlier today the Ukrainian authorities said one of their fighter jets was shot down by an air-to-air missile from a Russian plane and Ukrainian troops were fired upon by missiles from a village inside Russia.

The alleged episodes mark what Ukraine says is mounting evidence that Moscow is directly supporting separatist insurgents in eastern Ukraine who have substantial quantities of powerful weapons.

A statement released by the Ukrainian President denying the plane was shot down by government forces

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A statement released by the Ukrainian President denying the plane was shot down by government forces

Malaysia Airlines confirms that it lost contact with flight MH17, the second tragedy to hit the airline this year after the disappearance of MH370

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Malaysia Airlines confirms on Twitter (above) that it lost contact with flight MH17, the second tragedy to hit the airline this year after the disappearance of MH370, while Boeing is also investigates

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Malaysia Airlines confirms on Twitter (above) that it lost contact with flight MH17, the second tragedy to hit the airline this year after the disappearance of MH370, while Boeing is also investigates

Ukraine said a military transport plane was shot down Monday by a missile fired from Russian territory. Security Service chief Valentyn Nalyvaichenko said he had "unconditional evidence" that Russia was involved in downing that aircraft.

The crash comes four months after the mysterious disappearance of Malaysian Airlines flight MH370 which is though to have crashed into the Indian Ocean.

Two weeks ago, investigators say what little evidence they have to work with suggests the plane was deliberately diverted thousands of kilometres from its scheduled route before eventually plunging into the Indian Ocean.

The search was narrowed in April after a series of acoustic pings thought to be from the plane's black box recorders were heard along a final arc where analysis of satellite data put its last location.

But a month later, officials conceded the wreckage was not in that concentrated area, some 1,000 miles off the northwest coast of Australia, and the search area would have to be expanded.

The next phase of the search is expected to start in August and take a year, covering some 60,000 sq km at a cost of AU$60 million ($56 million) or more. The search is already the most expensive in aviation history.

The new priority search area is around 2,000km west of Perth, a stretch of isolated ocean frequently lashed by storm force winds and massive swells.

HIJACKINGS, CRASHES AND UNSOLVED MYSTERIES: A TIMELINE OF OTHER  DISASTERS TO HIT MALAYSIA AIRLINES

December, 4 1977 - Flight MH653 was hijacked and crashed in Tanjung Kupang, Johor, killing all 100 people on board.

September 15, 1995 - Flight MH2133 touched down too far along the runway at Tawau Airport, Sabah, killing 32 passengers and two crew members.

March 15, 2000 - Flight MH85, travelling to Kuala Lumpur to Beijin, was damaged by the chemical oxalyl chloride, which leaked from canisters during unloading. The Airbus A330-300 was sufficiently damaged to be written-off.

March 8, 2014 - Fight MH370, carrying 12 Malaysian crew members and 227 passengers, went missing on a flight from Kuala Lumpur International Airport to Beijing Capital International Airport.

The Boeing 777 has still yet to be found, despite months of extensive searches in the southern Indian Ocean where it was believed to have crashed. The next phase of the search is expected to start in August and take a year, covering some 60,000 sq km at a cost of AU$60 million ($56 million) or more.

March 24, 2014 - Flight MH066, travelling from Kuala Lumper to Incheon, South Korea, was forced to make an emergency landing in Hong Kong after its main electricity generator failed.

Passengers onboard the flight later revealed they were told to prepare for an emergency water landing. However, the plane landed safely in Hong Kong in the early hours of the morning.

April 21, 2014 - Flight MH192, carrying 166 people, was forced to turn back to Kuala Lumpur while flying to India after a tyre burst and the right-hand landing gear malfunctioned.  Police later confirmed an investigation had begun into whether the flight had been interfered with before take-off.

April 24, 2014 - A plane belonging to Firefly Airlines (a subsidiary of Malaysia Airlines) was forced to return to Penang after suffering problems with its landing gear.

A statement on the company's website said: 'This was because the aircraft's landing gear was unable to retract after being airborne. As safety is of utmost priority to Firefly Airlines, the aircraft was required to turn back to Penang.'

July 17, 2014 - Flight MH17 was shot down on the Russian-Ukraine border, killing all 295 people on board.

 

 

 

 

Russia 'shoots down Ukraine jet on mission over Luhansk' as Putin hits out at tougher sanctions

  • Russian jet destroys Ukrainian ground attack aircraft with a missile
  • Pro Russian separatists attempt to destroy two more Sukhoi-25 aircraft
  • Ukrainian air force accused of bombing apartment in eastern Ukraine

A Ukrainian air force fighter jet has been shot down by a missile fired from a Russian plane, according to Ukraine's Security Council.

The pilot of the Sukhoi-25 jet was forced to bail out after his plane was hit, said spokesman Andrei Lysenko.

Meanwhile, pro-Russian rebels claimed responsibility for strikes on two Sukhoi-25 jets.

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The Sukhoi-25 ground attack aircraft  was shot down by a Russian jet according to Ukrainian sources, file photo

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The Sukhoi-25 ground attack aircraft was shot down by a Russian jet according to Ukrainian sources, file photo

Rescuers search for bodies after an airstrike destroyed an apartment complex in Eastern Ukraine killing 11

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Rescuers search for bodies after an airstrike destroyed an apartment complex in Eastern Ukraine killing 11

Pro-Russian rebels blamed the major attack in Snizhne, in the east of the country upon the Ukrainian air force

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Pro-Russian rebels blamed the major attack in Snizhne, in the east of the country upon the Ukrainian air force

Ukraine's Defence Ministry said the second jet was hit by a portable surface-to-air missile, but the pilot was unhurt and managed to land safely.

Moscow denies it is supporting the separatists or sowing unrest in its neighbour's territory.

The incidents came after Russian president Vladimir Putin criticised the latest round of US sanctions against Moscow, saying they are harming bilateral relations and hurting not only Russian but US businesses.

Mr Putin's comments came hours after president Barack Obama announced broader sanctions against Russia, targeting two major energy firms, a pair of powerful financial institutions, eight weapons firms and four individuals. The increased US economic pressure is designed to end the insurgency in eastern Ukraine that is widely believed to be backed by the Kremlin.

The US penalties stopped short of the most stringent actions the West has threatened, which would fully cut off key sectors of Russia's oil-dependent economy. But officials said those steps were still on the table if Russia failed to abide by the West's demands to stop its support for pro-Russia insurgents who have destabilised swathes of eastern Ukraine.

Pro-Russia insurgents have been fighting government troops in eastern Ukraine for four months in a conflict the UN says has killed more than 400 and displaced tens of thousands.

Obama announces new sanctions on Russia

A Ukrainian fighter jet was shot down by an air-to-air missile from a Russian plane and Ukrainian troops were fired upon by missiles from a village inside Russia, a spokesman for Ukraine's Security Council said Thursday.

The alleged episodes mark what Ukraine says is mounting evidence that Moscow is directly supporting the separatist insurgents in eastern Ukraine who have been seen to have substantial quantities of powerful weapons in recent weeks.

Security Council spokesman Andrei Lysenko said the pilot of the Sukhoi-25 jet hit by the air-to-air missile Wednesday evening was forced to bail after his jet was shot down. He said the rockets launched at Ukrainian troops were fired from the Russian village of Kuibyshevo.

Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk, right, talks to an officer during inspection of a Ukrainian Army position outside the eastern town of Slovyansk, ...

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Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk, right, talks to an officer during inspection of a Ukrainian Army position outside the eastern town of Slovyansk, Ukraine, Wednesday, July 16, 2014. Yatsenyuk hopes to restore the infrastructure in Donetsk and Lugansk regions from state budget, thanks to private investors and international aid, he said during his visit to the Slovyansk on Wednesday. (AP Photo/Andrew Kravchenko, Pool)

Pro-Russia rebels, meanwhile, claimed responsibility for strikes Wednesday on two Ukrainian Sukhoi-25 jets.

The Defense Ministry said the second jet was hit by a portable surface-to-air missile, but added the pilot was unscathed and managed to land his plane safely

Moscow denies Western charges that is supporting the separatists or sowing unrest in its neighbor. The Russian Ministry of Defense could not be reached for comment Thursday about the latest accusations and Russia's foreign ministry did not respond to multiple requests for comment.

Earlier this week, Ukraine said a military transport plane was shot down Monday by a missile fired from Russian territory. Security Service chief Valentyn Nalyvaichenko said he had "unconditional evidence" that Russia was involved in downing that craft.

The rebels are known to possess portable anti-aircraft rocket launchers, but Ukrainian officials say that kind of weapon would have been unable to reach the plane at the altitude at which it was flying Monday. Aviation experts, however, have questioned whether the stricken transport plane was flying at the altitude Ukrainian officials had claimed.

Although the pro-Russia insurgents fighting the government in Kiev suffered a major setback earlier this month when they abandoned their stronghold in the city of Slovyansk, they still appear well-supplied militarily and have incurred heavy losses among government troops.

An Associated Press reporter on Thursday saw seven rebel-owned tanks parked at a gas station outside the eastern Ukrainian town of Snizhne. In the town, he also observed a Buk missile system, which can fire missiles up to an altitude of 22,000 meters (72,000 feet).

Ukraine's border service said Thursday it has evidence that five Grad multiple-rocket launchers and two armored personnel carriers were brought across the border Wednesday from Russia.

"Having crossed 60 meters (yards) over the border, they fired in the direction of Ukrainian army positions," the border service said in a statement. "In the location from which they fired, we found fragments of missiles and the traces of burned ground."

The U.S. slapped tougher sanctions against Russia on Wednesday for its actions in Ukraine. That prompted a strong reaction Thursday from Russian President Vladimir Putin, who said the sanctions will hamper bilateral relations and hurt not only Russian but also American businesses.

Russia's benchmark MICEX was down 2.4 percent in trading late Thursday after news of the sanctions while Russia's biggest oil company, Rosneft, was 4.4 percent down.

The U.S. sanctions target Rosneft and another major Russian energy firms, a pair of powerful financial institutions, eight weapons firms and four individuals.

The U.S. penalties, however, stopped short of the most stringent actions the West has threatened, which would fully cut off key sectors of Russia's oil-dependent economy. But officials said those steps were still on the table if Russia fails to abide by the West's demands to stop its support for the pro-Russia insurgents.

 

   

An expert believes that MH17 was downed by a missile fired from rebel-held Torez in eastern Ukraine - and a BUK anti-aircraft launcher has been pictured rumbling into the town just two hours before the crash, leading to speculation that it was this piece of equipment that was used to bring about the tragedy.

On Friday a missile launcher with two rockets missing was then filmed by Ukrainian intelligence services being smuggled on the back of a truck to Russia.

Anton Gerashchenko, from Ukraine's interior ministry, said of the missing missiles that 'it's not hard to guess why'.

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Suspicious: Ukrainian spies reportedly filmed the launcher used in the attack being smuggled to Russia - with two missiles missing

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Suspicious: Ukrainian spies reportedly filmed the launcher used in the attack being smuggled to Russia - with two missiles missing

A view of what is believed to be a BUK surface-to-air missile battery being driven along a path on July 17 in Torez, Ukraine

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A view of what is believed to be a BUK surface-to-air missile battery being driven along a path on July 17 in Torez, Ukraine

Launch site? The BUK missile system photographed in Torez hours before MH17 was downed

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Launch site? The BUK missile system photographed in Torez hours before MH17 was downed

Russian air defense missile system Buk M2 seen at a military show at the international forum "Technologies in machine building 2010" in Zhukovsky outside Moscow, Wednesday, June 30, 2010. (AP Photo/Mikhail Metzel)

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Russian air defense missile system BUK  M2 seen at a military show at the international forum in Zhukovsky outside Moscow, in 2010

A map showing the distance between the launch site and the MH17 crash site

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A map showing the distance between the launch site and the MH17 crash site

Is this SAM, missing 2 missiles, being smuggled out of Ukraine?

Missle system 'seen in Ukraine' hours before MH17 shot down

'It was exactly these missiles which brought death to almost 300 innocent passengers of the ill-fated Malaysian Boeing,' he said, according to the Telegraph.

He continued: 'International terrorist Igor Strelkov, aka Girkin, last night visited Snizhne to settle the situation with the downed Malaysian Boeing.

'In the night the Buk system, from which the missile was launched, was removed to Russia, where it is likely to be destroyed.'

He claimed that the 'direct performers of the terrorist attack' are also likely to have been killed to avoid any witnesses.

The rebels 'happily announced that they had downed the Ukrainian AN-26' when in fact they had shot the Boeing, he said.

Dr Igor Sutyagin, Research Fellow in Russian Studies from the Royal United Services Institute, believes that MH17 was shot down by rebels based in the 3rd District of Torez.

Dr Sutyagin said the evidence that Russian separatists were responsible was very strong - and that there's even a suggestion the BUK missile launcher was being manned by soldiers from Russia.

A pro-Russian militant passes by the wreckage of a Boeing 777, of Malaysia Arilines flight MH17 debris

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A pro-Russian militant passes by the wreckage of a Boeing 777, of Malaysia Arilines flight MH17 debris

He said: ‘These separatists boasted on Twitter about capturing an BUK SA11 missile launcher [capable of downing high-flying airliners] on June 29, and several hours before the downing of the plane locals in Torez reported seeing BUK missile launchers and separatist flags around the city.

‘Later, there was lots of video posted of the plane falling down and rebels saying that “it was not pointless moving it [the BUK] there”.'

Dr Sutyagin then underscored the emerging Russian link to the tragedy.

He said: 'The military leader of the Donetsk Republic, Igor Strelkov, real name Girkin, a Muscovite, a Russian citizen, posts a video of the intercept.'

This video was taken down once it was discovered that the downed plane was civilian.

The expert implicated Russia further, revealing that the former commander of Russian Air Force Special Operations Command, a Colonel-General, stated recently in an interview that the separatists did not have the expertise to operate the BUK launchers, that only Russian personnel could do so.

It's also suspicious, Dr Sutyagin said, that Russian news agency RIA Novosti reported the crash at 16.13 Moscow time, several minutes before the crash actually happened - at 16.20.

'The plane is safely in the sky, and RIA Novosti publishes information that it has been shot down,' he said.

Dr Sutyagin also told MailOnline that information had been leaked from a source he was unwilling to name that the pilot of MH17 'felt bad' about his course over Ukranian airspace, so turned south. Little did he know, according to Dr Sutyagin, that his plane would then be mistaken by rebels for a Ukrainian government resupply flight.

He said: 'There is a Ukrainian mechanised brigade blocked by separatists near the Russian border. It's blocked on three sides by separatists and behind the brigade is the Russian boarder, so they can't get out. The Ukrainians try to resupply them from the air by transport aircraft.

'Now, the pilot of MH17 said that he "felt bad" and wanted to change course to get out of the danger zone. But several kilometers to the south is a Ukrainian Army heavy transport plane, an IL76, or Candid, which has the same echo as a 777 on a radar screen.

'The two planes came close. They tried to shoot down the transport delivering supplies to the brigade. They believed that they had been firing at a military plane, but they mistakenly shoot down a civilian airliner.'

Doomed: Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 takes off at 12.31pm from Schiphol airport near Amsterdam on Thursday

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Doomed: Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 takes off at 12.31pm from Schiphol airport near Amsterdam on Thursday

Interpol announced today it would fully assist the investigation of the horror.

Separatist rebels who control the crash site issued conflicting reports Friday about whether they had found the plane's black boxes or not.

'No black boxes have been found ... we hope that experts will track them down and create a picture of what has happened,' said Donetsk separatist leader Aleksandr Borodai.

Yet earlier Friday, an aide to the military leader of Borodai's group said authorities had recovered eight out of 12 recording devices.

Since planes usually have two black boxes - one for recording flight data and the other for recording cockpit voices - it was not clear what the number 12 referred to.

Earlier Ukrainian security services claim to have intercepted two phone conversations in which pro-Russian separatists appear to admit to shooting down Flight MH17, railing, 'They shouldn’t be f*****g flying. There is a war going on.'

The Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) reportedly released recordings of the intercepted phone calls between Russian military intelligence officers and Russian-backed Cossack militants to the Kiev Post.

The phone calls, which could prove damning to Vladimir Putin, are allegedly from minutes after the Boeing 777-200 crashed and were apparently made near the village of Chornukhine, which is 50 miles north-west of Donetsk, near to the border with Russia, where the aircraft came down.

The first phone call was reportedly made at 4.40pm local time, or 20 minutes after the crash.

Admission of guilt or not? In a recording of an intercept, played to journalists, a Russian (military intelligence officer) called Igor Bezler (left and right) is heard reporting on the downing to his superior in Russian military intelligence, Colonel Vasily Geranin Admission of guilt or not? In a recording of an intercept, played to journalists, a Russian (military intelligence officer) called Igor Bezler (left and right) is heard reporting on the downing to his superior in Russian military intelligence, Colonel Vasily Geranin

Admission of guilt or not? In a recording of an intercept, played to journalists, a Russian (military intelligence officer) called Igor Bezler (left and right) is heard reporting on the downing of the Boeing 777-200 to his superior in Russian military intelligence, Colonel Vasily Geranin (not pictured here)

On the line allegedly is Igor Bezler, who according to the SBU is a Russian military intelligence officer and commander of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic.

He is apparently on the phone to a colonel in the Russian Federation armed forces named Vasili Geranin, explaining that the plane has gone down.

The SBU also released to the Kiev Post another telephone conversation between two militants identified only as 'Major' and 'Grek' who have apparently returned from the crash site.

This phone call takes place 40 minutes after the phone call which allegedly took place between Bezler and Geranin.

Airliner downed: Assault rifles in hand, four pro-Russian separatists survey the smouldering wreckage of a passenger jet destryoed by a missile in war-torn Ukraine

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Airliner downed: Assault rifles in hand, four pro-Russian separatists survey the smouldering wreckage of a passenger jet destryoed by a missile in war-torn Ukraine

'Unspeakable horror': Emergency workers survey the wreckage of flight MH17, which came down in the Donetsk region of eastern Ukraine

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'Unspeakable horror': Emergency workers survey the wreckage of flight MH17, which came down in the Donetsk region of eastern Ukraine

Putin lays blame on Ukrainian government after MH17 tragedy

A third part of the conversation that involves the 'Major' and 'Grek' seems to bring in Cossack commander Nikolay Kozitsin, who suggests that the Malaysian Airlines plane must have been carrying spies, otherwise it had no business flying in that airspace.

During the phone call between 'Grek' and the 'Major' they exclaim, 'holy s***' when they realize their error in shooting down a passenger jet.

Indeed, Reuters reported that Ukraine's state security chief accused two Russian military intelligence officers of involvement with pro-Russian rebels in the downing of a Malaysian airliner on Thursday, releasing chilling testimony of what he called an 'inhuman crime.'

SBU chief Valentyn Nalivaychenko based his allegation on intercepted telephone conversations between the two officers and pro-Russian fighters, one of whom referred to seeing 'a sea of women and children' in the wreckage of the Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777.

The downing of flight MH17

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Crash site: Rescue workers inspect the wreckage of a Malaysia Airlines passenger plane which was shot down today above Ukraine, killed all 298 people on board

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Crash site: Rescue workers inspect the wreckage of a Malaysia Airlines passenger plane which was shot down today above Ukraine, killed all 298 people on board

Crash site: A picture taken this afternoon shows bodies amongst the wreckage of the doomed plane

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Crash site: A picture taken this afternoon shows bodies amongst the wreckage of the doomed plane

Smoke and debris believed to be from flight MH17 falling to Earth

'We will do everything for the Russian military who carried out this crime to be punished,' Nalivaychenko told journalists, who were shown video and audio transcripts of the recordings. 'The terrorists will not go on dancing on corpses.'

In a recording played to journalists of a conversation said to have taken place at 4.33 pm Kiev time, a rebel fighter going by the nom de guerre of 'Major' is heard telling another comrade called 'Grek' that a group of fighters had brought the airliner down.

'The plane broke up in the air, near the Petropavlovskaya mines. The first (casualty) has been found. It was a woman. A civilian,' he says.

At 5.42 pm 'Major' acknowledges the plane was civilian: 'Hell. It's almost 100 percent certain that it's a civilian plane.'

Destruction: The Boeing 777 aircraft was hit by a sophisticated surface-to-air missile over territory near Donetsk held by pro-Russian rebels who the Ukrainian government says are backed by the Kremlin

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Destruction: The Boeing 777 aircraft was hit by a sophisticated surface-to-air missile over territory near Donetsk held by pro-Russian rebels who the Ukrainian government says are backed by the Kremlin

Laying the blame: The Ukrainian authorities laid the blame for the attack on the rebels by denying any responsibility for the missile launch, with President Petro Poroshenko called the downing an act of terrorism

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Laying the blame: The Ukrainian authorities laid the blame for the attack on the rebels by denying any responsibility for the missile launch, with President Petro Poroshenko called the downing an act of terrorism

Arrival: The self-proclaimed Prime Minister of the pro-Russian separatist 'Donetsk People's Republic' Alexander Borodai (centre) arrives on the site of the crash

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Arrival: The self-proclaimed Prime Minister of the pro-Russian separatist 'Donetsk People's Republic' Alexander Borodai (centre) arrives on the site of the crash

Asked if there were many people on board, he replies in the affirmative with a swearword, adding: 'The bits (of the plane) were falling down in the streets ... There were the bits of couches, chairs, bodies.'

Asked if any weapons were found on board, 'Major' says: 'No - Civilian things, medical things, towels, toilet paper.'

He says ID documents of an Indonesian student had been found.

In another recording of an intercept, played to journalists, a Russian (military intelligence officer) called Igor Bezler is heard reporting on the downing to his superior in Russian military intelligence, Colonel Vasily Geranin.

'A plane has just been shot down. It was the 'Mine-laying' group ... They've gone to search and photograph the plane. It is smoking,' Bezler tells Gernanin at 4.40 p.m.

Asked 'How long ago?' he replies: 'About 30 minutes ago.'

THE FULL TRANSCRIPT OF THE ALLEGED REBEL CONVERSATION THAT COULD PROVE DAMNING TO PUTIN AND RUSSIA

A phone call between rebels where they are heard to say ‘holy s***’ when they realized their error was intercepted by Ukraine’s security services, according to a Ukrainian newspaper.

Militants nicknamed ‘Major’ and ‘Greek’ were recorded speaking as ‘Major’ inspected the crash site and found only ‘civilian items’.

Also on the line were Igor Bezler, who authorities says is a Russian military intelligence officer and leading commander of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic, and a colonel in the main intelligence department of the general headquarters of the armed forces of the Russian Federation, Vasili Geranin.

The unverified transcript was posted online by the Kiev Post newspaper:

Igor Bezler: We have just shot down a plane. Group Minera. It fell down beyond Yenakievo (Donetsk Oblast).

Vasili Geranin: Pilots. Where are the pilots?

IB: Gone to search for and photograph the plane. Its smoking.

VG: How many minutes ago?

IB: About 30 minutes ago.

Allegations: This is a grab from the video provided to the Kiev Post. Pictured are Igor Bezler and Vasili Geranin. While (right) are likenesses of 'Major' and 'Grek' Allegations: This is a grab from the video provided to the Kiev Post. Pictured are Igor Bezler and Vasili Geranin. While (right) are likenesses of 'Major' and 'Grek'

Allegations: This is a grab from the video provided to the Kiev Post. Pictured are Igor Bezler and Vasili Geranin. While (right) are likenesses of 'Major' and 'Grek'

SBU comment: After examining the site of the plane the terrorists come to the conclusion that they have shot down a civilian plane. The next part of the conversation took place about 40 minutes later.

'Major': These are Chernukhin folks who shot down the plane. From the Chernukhin check point. Those cossacks who are based in Chernukhino.

'Grek': Yes, Major.

'Major': The plane fell apart in the air. In the area of Petropavlovskaya mine. The first '200'. We have found the first '200' - which is code for a civilian.

'Grek': Well, what do you have there?

'Major': In short, it was 100 percent a passenger (civilian) aircraft.

'Grek': Are many people there?

'Major': Holy sh__t! The debris fell right into the yards (of homes).

'Grek': What kind of aircraft?

Official: A third part of the conversation that involves the 'Major' and 'Greek' seems to bring in Cossack commander Nikolay Kozitsin, who suggests that the Malaysian Airlines plane must have been carrying spies Official: A third part of the conversation that involves the 'Major' and 'Greek' seems to bring in Cossack commander Nikolay Kozitsin, who suggests that the Malaysian Airlines plane must have been carrying spies

Official: A third part of the conversation that involves the 'Major' and 'Greek' seems to bring in Cossack commander Nikolay Kozitsin, who suggests that the Malaysian Airlines plane must have been carrying spies

'Major': I haven’t ascertained this. I haven’t been to the main sight. I am only surveying the scene where the first bodies fell. There are the remains of internal brackets, seats and bodies.

'Grek': Is there anything left of the weapon?

'Major': Absolutely nothing. Civilian items, medicinal stuff, towels, toilet paper.

'Grek': Are there documents?

'Major': Yes, of one Indonesian student. From a university in Thompson.

Militant: Regarding the plane shot down in the area of Snizhne-Torez. It’s a civilian one. Fell down near Grabove. There are lots of corpses of women and children. The Cossacks are out there looking at all this.

They say on TV it’s AN-26 transport plane, but they say it’s written Malaysia Airlines on the plane. What was it doing on Ukraine’s territory?

Nikolay Kozitsin: That means they were carrying spies. They shouldn’t be f…cking flying. There is a war going on.

Pro-Russian rebels 'discuss downing of Malaysian jet'

 
DID PILOT OF MH17 DIVERT  INTO HOSTILE TERRITORY?

The pilot of MH17 radioed that he 'felt uncomfortable' about the route he was flying while over Ukraine and tragically altered his course to hostile territory, where Russian separatist missile operators mistook his plane for a government military transport aircraft, according to an expert.

Dr Igor Sutyagin, Research Fellow in Russian Studies from the Royal United Services Institute, believes that MH17 was shot down by rebels based in the 3rd District of Torez, in eastern Ukraine, using a ground-to-air SA11 missile system .

He told MailOnline that information had been leaked from a source he was unwilling to name that the pilot of MH17 'felt bad' about his course over Ukrainian airspace, so turned south.

Little did he know, according to Dr Sutyagin, that his plane would then be mistaken by rebels for a Ukrainian government resupply flight.

He said: 'There is a Ukrainian mechanised brigade blocked by separatists near the Russian boarder. It's blocked on three sides by separatists and behind the brigade is the Russian boarder, so they can't get out. The Ukrainians try to resupply them from the air by transport aircraft.

'Now, the pilot of MH17 said that he "felt bad" and wanted to change course to get out of the danger zone. But several kilometers to the south is a Ukrainian Army heavy transport plane, an IL76, or Candid, which has the same echo as a 777 on a radar screen.

'The two planes came close. They tried to shoot down the transport delivering supplies to the brigade. They believed that they had been firing at a military plane, but they mistakenly shoot down a civilian airliner.'

In a third conversation, a rebel fighter says: 'It turned out to be a passenger plane. It fell in Hrabove area. There's a sea of women and children ...'

He adds: 'But what was it (the Malaysian airlines flight) doing over Ukraine?'

The man he is talking to replies: 'That means they've called up spies. No way to flights. This is war.'

'Okay, understood,' he replies.

'They discuss Russian saboteurs bringing down a passenger plane. They discuss the number of victims. We have fixed this conversation as taking place at 4.20. Now you know who carried out this inhuman crime against humanity,' Nalivaychenko said.

'We will open up to all possible channels, the means of this crime being objectively investigated, and the officers of the Russian Federation who carried out this crime being punished.'

Russia's Interfax news agency quoted Donetsk rebel spokesman Sergey Kavtaradze as denying that the intercepted phone conversations were genuine. 

Yesterday it emerged that rebels laughed as they filmed the plane crashing, gleefully bragging ‘that was a blast – look at the smoke!’ while a fireball rose from the debris.

One of the voices is believed to be Strelkov, who then penned a triumphant war cry on Twitter, saying: ‘We warned you – do not fly in 'our sky'.’

A sickening mobile phone video posted online shows a pall of black smoke billowing over the crash site as three rebels provide an excited commentary.

The extraordinary footage – apparently filmed by the shooters themselves – charts the terrible final moments of the doomed airliner.

Their camera does not zoom in enough to see the plummeting plane in the sky, but the rebels’ voices can be heard talking happily of ‘black spots – these are the parts flying’, suggesting it fell to earth in several pieces.

A voice believed to be that of Strelkov – dubbed ‘Igor the Terrible’ – announces: ‘The plane was hit!’ He adds: ‘Look at those black spots, these are the parts, flying … it was a blast … look, look, black smoke!’

Another rebel, possibly referring to the missile system, laughs and says: ‘It was worth bringing this thing, wasn't it?’

None of the rebels can be seen in their horrific film, but it appears to be genuine because at the time only they seemed to know what was happening. Ordinary life carries on in the village where they are standing. A bus trundles by and an unsuspecting villager is seen wandering past the camera.

Shortly after the passenger plane was downed, Strelkov – seen smirking in propaganda photos – tweeted a boastful message claiming responsibility.

At the time, he apparently believed he had shot down an Antonov-26 military plane of the Ukrainian Air Force, saying it landed near a mine named Progress.

His chilling message read: ‘In the area Torez we just hit down An-26, it’s lying somewhere in the mine 'Progress'.

‘We warned you – do not fly in 'our sky'. And here is the video confirmation of the 'bird dropping'.

‘Bird fell near the mine, the residential sector was not disturbed. Civilians are not injured.’

Later as the horror became clear, the tweet was deleted.

Boast: Ukraine separatist Igor Strelkov said on Twitter ¿We warned you ¿ do not fly in ¿our sky¿. And here is the video confirmation of the ¿bird dropping¿

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Boast: Ukraine separatist Igor Strelkov said on Twitter ‘We warned you – do not fly in 'our sky'. And here is the video confirmation of the 'bird dropping'

Former US secretary of state Hillary Clinton said European leaders should put more pressure on Mr Putin if Russia was involved in the incident.

She told PBS's Charlie Rose there should be 'outrage in European capitals' over Russian aggression in the region but ultimately it was up to Europe to take the lead.

She said: 'The questions I'd be asking is, number one, who could have shot it down? Who had the equipment? It's obviously an anti-aircraft missile. Who could have had the expertise to do that? Because commercial airlines are big targets, but by the time they got over that part of Ukraine they should have been high, so it takes some planning.

'And the Ukrainian government has been quick to blame it on terrorists, which is their name for the Russian insurgents. And there does seem to be some growing awareness that it probably had to be Russian insurgents.

'Now, how we determine that will require some forensics, but then if there is evidence pointing in that direction, the equipment had to have come from Russia. What more the Russians may or may not have done, we don't know.

'Europeans have to be the ones to take the lead on this. It was a flight from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur over European territory. There should be outrage in European capitals.'

Mrs Clinton endorsed stepped-up US sanctions against Russia but said they would not 'necessarily restrain' Mr Putin or change his calculations.

Struggle: A firefighter sprays water on the flames in an attempt to extinguish the fire

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Struggle: A firefighter sprays water on the flames in an attempt to extinguish the fire

Fighting the fire: Airline fuel continues to burn amongst the wreckage as night falls over the crash site

 

Fighting the fire: Airline fuel continues to burn amongst the wreckage as night falls over the crash site

   

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