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Story 1: Russian Separatist Rebels in Ukraine Shot Down Malaysian Airline Flight MH 17 Killing 298 Passengers and Crew With A Russian Provided SA 11 Gadfly Surface to Air Missile (SAM) From A BUK Launcher — Videos
Scenes reminiscent of MH370 disaster as distraught MH17 relatives gather at airports to learn the fate of their missing loved ones
- Relatives gathered at airports in Amsterdam and Kuala Lumpur
- Nine Britons and 27 Australians were among those on board, according to Dutch authorities
- Fears that up to 23 Americans could have been on Malaysian Airlines flight
- Plane was shot down over territory held by Pro-Russian rebels in Ukraine
Clutching the side of an escalator for support, one man weeps after finding out the fate of his relative at an information point set up at Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam, where the doomed plane took off from at lunchtime today.
At Kuala Lumpur International Airport, where flight MH 17 was due to land shortly after 6am local time on Friday morning, women cry into tissues as they hear about the fate of their loved ones.
Up to 100 children were thought to be among the 283 passengers and 15 crew who died when the plane was shot down in an ‘act of terrorism’ on the Russia-Ukraine border.
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A woman who believes that a relative was travelling on Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 cries as she waits for more information about the crashed plane at Kuala Lumpur International Airport
A relative of a passenger on flight MH17 walks past members of the press as he arrives at Schiphol airport in Amsterdam, to find out more information
A woman sobs on the phone after finding out the fate of her relative who was on board flight MH17. A full passenger list of those who were travelling on the plane has still not been published
A man clutches his head in anguish as he leaves Schiphol airport on a bus provided for the families of passengers travelling on MH17
A woman weeps into a tissue after hearing news regarding a relative who was travelling on the plane. She was one of a group of people who gathered in Kuala Lumpur International Airport early on Friday morning local time
Izzy Sim is visibly shaken after learning that she cheated death
Nine British passengers are among the 298 feared dead after a Malaysian Airlines plane was ‘shot down’ on the Russia-Ukraine border, according to Dutch authorities.
There were are fears that there were up to 23 Americans on the flight, though it has yet to be confirmed that any were on board.
In one image taken from the crash site, a pile of passports can be seen scattered amid the rubble.
Witnesses say body parts are scattered over a distance of 15km, suggesting the plane broke up in mid-air.
As shocking images emerged of bodies amid the smouldering wreckage of the Boeing 777 it raised concerns of renewed tension between the US and Russia.
A woman lights a candle in front of the Embassy of the Netherlands in Kiev on Thursday night to commemorate passengers of Malaysian Airlines flight MH17
A young girl places her head on a teddy bear as people around her light candles at the Embassy of the Netherlands in Kiev. They gathered on Thursday night to pay tribute to those on flight MH17
Flowers, signs and candles line the street in front of the Embassy of the Netherlands in Kiev. They commemorate the 295 passengers who died when flight MH17 was shot down
Tearful family members leave Schiphol airport in a bus provided after finding out the fate of their relatives. The crash site was littered with remains of charred passports
A tearful couple, who had loved ones on board flight MH 17, hold on to each other for support as they leave Schiphol airport on Thursday evening
Relatives, eyes red from crying, head towards the area in Schiphol airport in Amsterdam where family members of the victims are gathering to await further information
A family anxiously await news of passengers on flight MH17 at Kuala Lumpur International Airport early on Friday morning local time
Smoke and debris believed to be from flight MH17 falling to Earth
Pictures and footage taken from the wreckage show the charred remains of passports and suitcases scattered on the crash site.
MH17: DEATH TOLL SO FAR
154 Dutch nationals 45 Malaysians (including 15 crew members) 27 Australians 12 Indonesians Nine Britons Four Germans Four Belgians Three Filipinos One Canadian 41 unconfirmed
Emergency workers are seen tackling the blazes that broke out after the aircraft crashed near Donestsk, 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. Among those feared dead is a Dutch man who posted a photo on Facebook of the plane on the tarmac just hours before the crash.
Initially, friends commented on the photo wishing him happy holidays. But their messages turned to ones of concern once news of the crash broke.
Based on the number of flights leaving Amsterdam’s Schiphol airport, and the timing of his Facebook status, it is feared he was on the fated flight. His cousin later posted the flight number beneath the picture and shortly after friends began leaving messages saying ‘rest in peace’. Another said that his girlfriend was on the flight with him.
A relative of passengers onboard Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 from Amsterdam speaks on the phone as he waits for information outside the family holding area at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport
A couple walks towards the information point at Schiphol Airport that has been set up for loved ones of passengers travelling on flight MH17
One passenger is believed to have posted this picture of the doomed flight on the tarmac of Amsterdam airport just hours before it was shot down over Ukraine
Passports from some of the doomed passengers on-board MH17 found
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.’
In a statement on Thursday night Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond said: ‘We do believe that there were British Nationals on board the flight we’re currently working through passenger data cross checking it and referencing it to establish exactly the numbers and identities of those British nationals and as soon as we have further information we will be in contact with the families.’
It is believed the plane was struck by BUK surface-to-air missile at 33,000ft around 20 miles before entering Russian airspace.
Russian news footage taken from the crash site shows passports on the ground among the wreckage of MH17
A suitcase is found among the wreckage of flight MH17. Six British passengers were killed after the aircraft was shot down, according to Dutch authorities
Suitcases and bags are pictured at the crash site of Malaysian Airways flight MH17
A spokesman from the Foreign Office would not be drawn on whether any British nationals had been on board the plane.
‘We are aware of the reports and are urgently working to establish what has happened,’ he 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.’
David Cameron 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.
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.
Malaysian Airlines said they have no information about any survivors.
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
Charred plane parts litter the ground at the crash site of Malaysian Airlines flight MH17
Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 plane crash site in the settlement of Grabovo in the Donetsk region
Firefighters put out smouldering wreckage of ‘shot down’ MH17
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.
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
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
Kuala Lumpur International airport after plane downed
The crash comes four months after the mysterious disappearance of Malaysian Airlines flight MH370 which is thought 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
2014 – BBC World News – Obama: US Has Evidence MAS Plane Shot Down from Inside Ukraine – 19/7/14
Malaysian MH17 : SA 11 Buk Missile Dating to Soviet Era Eyed in MH17 Attack
U.S. Evidence Points to Separatist Missile Downing Airliner
Flight MH17: Ukraine releases video of ‘Buk missile unit’
Footage Emerges Of BUK Missile Launcher Being Smuggled Back To Russia ~ MISSING TOW ROCKETS!!!
Malaysia Airlines MH17 killed by Buk missile launcher in Ukraine rebel territory
SA-11 Gadfly (9К37 Бук) Soviet SAM System
The Buk missile system is the successor to the NIIP/Vympel 2K12 Kub (NATO reporting name SA-6 “Gainful”).
The first version of Buk adopted into service carried the GRAU designation 9K37 and was identified in the west with the NATO reporting name “Gadfly” as well as the US Department of Defense designation SA-11. Designed: 1972-1977, testing in 1977-1978, operation in 1979
Malaysia Airlines Flight MH 17 Crash: Timeline Of Flight MH17 Malaysian Plane Shot Down In Ukraine
List of Nationalities Aboard Malaysia Airlines MH-17
Obama says Malaysian plane shot down by missile from rebel-held part of Ukraine
President Obama said Friday that a Malaysia Airlines plane carrying nearly 300 people, including at least one U.S. citizen, was evidently shot down by an antiaircraft missile fired from an area controlled by pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine. In a White House news conference a day after the Boeing 777 crashed en route from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur, Obama stopped short of saying who fired the missile or directly blaming Russia for the deaths, which he called “an outrage of unspeakable proportions.” But he said the separatists “have received a steady flow of support from Russia,” including heavy arms, training and antiaircraft weapons. Pointing to rebel claims to have shot down several Ukrainian aircraft in recent weeks, including a Ukrainian fighter jet, Obama said it was “not possible for these separatists to function the way they’re functioning . . . without sophisticated equipment and sophisticated training, and that is coming from Russia.” Russian President Vladimir Putin “has the most control over that situation, and so far at least, he has not exercised it,” Obama said. He spoke after U.S. officials disclosed a preliminary intelligence assessment indicating that Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 was likely shot down by pro-Russian separatists with an SA-11 missile. The SA-11 is an early version of the Buk antiaircraft system that was previously identified by Ukrainian authorities as the weapon used to bring down the airliner.
As emergency workers continue to search for victims of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 after it was shot down near the Russian border, world leaders are calling for a cease-fire in Ukraine. (AP)
In public statements, senior members of the administration from the president down did not specify the perpetrators of the shootdown, although they made it clear that the rebels are the likeliest suspects.
Because of the “technical complexity” of the Russian-made surface-to-air missile system, “it is impossible to rule out Russian technical assistance” to the separatists in operating it, Samantha Power , the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, told the U.N. Security Council earlier Friday. Separately, military and intelligence officials said Friday that the United States has gathered a significant body of evidence that Ukrainian separatists have been trained on Russian territory in recent weeks to fire antiaircraft missiles. Obama identified the American victim on the plane as Quinn Lucas Schansman, a 19-year-old U.S.-Dutch dual national who reportedly lived in Amsterdam and was traveling to Kuala Lumpur to meet his family for a vacation. The president called for “a credible international investigation” into the tragedy and urged Russia to cooperate with it. As the shootdown sent the Ukraine war into the realm of international crisis, Obama called it a “global tragedy,” saying that “it is not going to be localized; it is not going to be contained.” He joined calls for an international investigation and said investigators from the FBI and National Transportation Safety Board have already been dispatched. At an emergency U.N. Security Council meeting Friday morning, Power was much more direct in holding Russia responsible for the shootdown, detailing the volume of weapons and other assistance that Moscow has provided to the separatists.
“Russia can end this war,” she said. “Russia must end this war.”
Among the 298 victims, Power said, were 80 children and three listed on the passenger manifest as infants. In response, Russian Ambassador Vitaly Churkin did not directly address charges that Moscow bears responsibility and was complicit in the missile attack. Agreeing that an international investigation is needed, Churkin criticized those who he said are “trying to prejudge the outcome with broad statements and insinuations,” and he accused the Ukrainian government of failing to warn international aviation to avoid the conflict area in eastern Ukraine. “Why did Ukrainian aviation dispatchers send [the Malaysian plane] to an area of strife, where there were antiaircraft systems in operation?” he asked. By continuing its military offensive to dislodge the separatists, Ukraine “chose the wrong path, and their Western colleagues supported them,” Churkin said. “I’m talking about the United States; they actually pushed them to escalate,” he said, and now “they are trying to lay the blame on Russia.” Britain, which lost nine citizens in the crash and called for the emergency Security Council meeting, demanded an independent international investigation. “The immediate priority has to be for investigators to gain access to the crash site,” British Ambassador Mark Lyall Grant said. “There must be no interfering or tampering with the evidence.” As the council session continued, and before any Russian response, most representatives concentrated on the need for an immediate cease-fire in eastern Ukraine and an independent probe. Many indirectly accused Russia of responsibility for the separatists’ actions, although China cautioned member nations not to “jump to any conclusions . . . or trade accusations.”
Speaking later in the White House briefing room, Obama said it was “too early for us to be able to guess what the intentions were of those who might have launched” the missile. “What we know right now, what we have confidence in saying right now, is that a surface-to-air missile was fired, and this is what brought the jet down. . . . That shot was taken within territory that was controlled by the Russian-backed separatists.” The identities of “what individuals or groups of personnel ordered” the strike, he said, are “still subject to additional information that we’re going to be gathering.” But after months of conflict in Ukraine, the shootdown should “snap everyone’s head” to action, he said. “We don’t have time for propaganda; we don’t have time for games.” “Time and again, Russia has refused to take the concrete steps necessary to de-escalate the situation,” Obama said. At least in public, the leaders of Germany, France and Britain expressed outrage over the downing of the airliner but were careful not to rush to judgment or publicly accuse Russia. Countries in the region considered more hawkish on Russia, however, were more willing to assign blame. “We are concerned over press reports that the Ukrainian side has captured phone conversation recordings indicating that pro-Russian separatists might be responsible for shooting the plane down,” the Polish Foreign Ministry said in a statement. British and German leaders were more cautious. “We have some information, but we need to find more information,” said British Prime Minister David Cameron. He called for an proper international investigation but added, “until we know more, it’s not really possible to say more.”
German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Friday pressed Russia to work harder toward a political solution in the Ukrainian conflict. But she also drew a line between the Russians and the separatists. “We’re assuming that the Russian president of course has an influence on Russian separatists,” Merkel told reporters in Berlin. “But still one has to differentiate between the separatists and the Russian government.” On Wednesday, both the United States and European Union slapped new sanctions on Russia, but the European moves were significantly less stinging. Suggesting Friday that she was in no rush to go further, Merkel called Wednesday’s move “an adequate response to what happened in the past few days.” But she also noted that the E.U. decision had left open the door to “act on a new level” if necessary. As the day wore on, and particularly after the Security Council meeting, the rhetoric grew somewhat harsher. “Those who are responsible for this would forfeit their right to claim their own concerns in the name of humanity,” German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said in Mexico City. In France, pressure mounted on the government to cancel the $1.7 billion sale to Russia of two Mistral-class helicopter carriers — capable of transporting 16 attack helicopters, dozens of tanks and 700 soldiers. Philippe Migault, a Russia expert at the Institute of International and Strategic Relations in Paris, said canceling the sale would cost the nation hundreds of jobs, result in a substantial cash penalty and portray France a nation that does not meet its defense contracts.
But, he said, “if there is further evidence of the responsibility of the pro-Russian rebels, there are chances that it might be” canceled. European governments have been more reluctant than the Americans to slap tougher sanctions on the Russians largely due to Moscow’s economic clout in the region. Should the pro-Russian separatists — with the direct or indirect aid of Russia — ultimately be proven responsible for the shootdown, analysts said the calculations in the region could change. “It’s a game-changer because it’s very difficult to see how anyone in Europe can continue as business as usual,” said Jonathan Eyal, director of international security studies at the Royal United Services Institute in London. “This time we have our own European casualties. It’s not a theoretical conflict in which people we do not know are dying.” Yet other analysts insisted that the desire of the Europeans to sidestep truly forceful sanctions to protect their economies should not be underestimated. Just as vital to their calculations, analysts said, will be a desire not to take steps that could dramatically ratchet up tensions and prompt the Russians to respond by cutting off important energy supplies to the region. “How Europe reacts, we don’t know. It could go either way,” said Andrew Wilson, senior policy fellow in the London office of the European Council on Foreign Relations. Jakov Devcic, deputy bureau chief of the Konrad Adenauer Foundation in Kiev, a group associated with Merkel’s CDU party, said that in Europe, as in the United States, military intervention remained ruled out. But if the rebels are found to have filed the missile, Germany and the E.U. will consider further sanctions, including import bans on luxury goods and, as a second step, moves targeting Russian financial transactions.
The U.S. intelligence assessment that rebels were responsible for the shootdown came as Ukrainian leaders stepped up their condemnation of Russia over the crash, calling for Moscow to be held accountable for allegedly supplying the missile system that they said was used by the rebels in eastern Ukraine. “This is a crime against humanity,” Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk said, as he called for swift international justice. “All red lines have been already crossed. . . . We ask our international partners to call an emergency U.N. Security Council meeting and to [do] everything we can to stop this war: a war against Ukraine, a war against Europe, and after these terrorists shot down a Malaysian aircraft, this is a war against the world.” Yatsenyuk added: “Everyone is to be accountable and responsible. I mean everyone who supports these terrorists, including Russians and the Russian regime.” Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, addressing the nation early Friday, also blamed pro-Russian separatists and those he called their Russian masters for the downing of the Boeing 777 with 283 passengers and 15 crew on board. The victims included “nearly 100 researchers and advocates” who were en route from Amsterdam via Kuala Lumpur to attend an AIDS conference in Australia, Obama said. “They were taken from us in a senseless act of violence,” he said. AIDS conference organizers have confirmed only seven names and said they think the number of people flying to the conference on the Malaysian flight could be much lower than 100.
“War has gone beyond the territory of Ukraine,” Poroshenko said earlier Friday. “Consequences of this war have already reached the whole world.” Russia and the separatists both denied any responsibility for the shootdown, pinning the blame instead on the Ukrainian government. But Poroshenko said recordings of what the Ukraine Security Service described as intercepted phone conversations between separatist rebels and Russian intelligence officials implicated them in the shootdown. The Security Service released new recordings Friday in which it said rebels discussed possessing and moving the Russian-made Buk missile launcher that Ukraine says shot down the airliner. The Ukrainian government released video purporting to show rebels moving a Buk antiaircraft missile system to the Russian border Friday from eastern Ukraine. The government claimed that the missile-launcher was missing one of its missiles. Neither the claims nor the authenticity of the video could be independently verified. Russia pushed back Friday, accusing Poroshenko of poisoning efforts to investigate the crash. A rebel leader on Thursday had briefly claimed responsibility for downing a plane that he described as a Ukrainian military aircraft. Soon after it was established that a commercial airliner had been shot down, the claim was removed. Ukraine’s top intelligence official said Friday that the plane crash was being investigated as a criminal case under Ukraine’s terrorism laws. Valentyn Nalyvaichenko, head of the Ukraine Security Service, said Ukraine now believes that the Boeing 777 was shot down by rebel forces using a Buk antiaircraft missile launcher that had recently been moved over the border from Russia. He said Ukraine has detained two Russian citizens who allegedly helped bring the missile launcher into Ukraine. Ukrainian intelligence services also observed rebels trying to move back into Russia a Buk launcher that had fired two missiles, he added. It was not immediately possible to independently verify the claims.
“The terrorists are trying to hide the crime,” Nalyvaichenko said. The Ukraine Security Service on Friday released a second series of recordings of what it said were intercepted phone calls between pro-Russian separatists over the last few days, in which the voices describe being in possession of and moving the Buk missile launcher. In the first conversation, which the Security Service said took place on July 14, an alleged rebel called “Oleg” said he missed a plane flying above a village. “We already have the Buk,” a woman identified as “Oreon” told him. “We’ll be knocking it down.” The Security Service said that on additional tapes from July 17, rebels discuss moving the Buk launcher. “Where do we ship this beauty to, Nikolayevich?” asked an alleged rebel identified by the Security Service as “Buryat.” “It’s not necessary to hide it anywhere,” came the reply. The rebel identified as Nikolayevich, also known as “Khmuri,” also talked about stocks of other weapons and the rebels’ relationship with the Russians at one point. “The thing is, we have Grads, but no spotters,” he said, referring to the mobile, Russian-made multiple rocket launcher. “We are waiting. Supposedly Russia should strike from that side at their positions.” In recent months, the rebels have shot down numerous Ukrainian military aircraft using short-range surface-to-air missiles. Experts said such missiles probably could not reach a plane flying at 33,000 feet, the reported altitude of Flight 17. But Ukrainian authorities have said the rebels recently obtained Russian-made Buk surface-to-air missiles — a complex system using ground radar to guide a missile to its target. Experts said it requires expertise and training to operate.
In Moscow, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Friday that the international community could not expect Russia to get the pro-Russian rebels in eastern Ukraine to lay down their arms. But Lavrov said he hoped that the OSCE would send monitors to the Russian-Ukrainian border before the end of the week. In an interview with Rossiya-24 television, he added that Russia was ready to guarantee the safety of those observers at Russia’s own border checkpoints but could make no promises about keeping them safe from bombardments from Ukraine, Interfax reported. Lavrov also accused Poroshenko of potentially poisoning the investigation of the plane crash by calling for a commission to look into it while also declaring it an act of terrorism. “Of course, attempts to claim that this was a terrorist act, so the Ukrainian researchers will be guided by this in their work — this is unacceptable, this pressure on the acts of the this commission,” Lavrov said. In an effort to cooperate with international investigations, Lavrov said, Russia would not accept the black box that rebels said they had recovered from the plane. “We are not going to take away these boxes,” he said. “We are not going to violate the rules existing with regard to this sort of cases within the international community.” Aleksey Komarov, a spokesman for the Russian Defense Ministry, called for “a thorough investigation with the use of representatives from all the interested international organizations.” He alleged that, according to the information available to the Russians, a Ukrainian military Buk-M1 type air defense system capable of bringing down the jet as it cruised at 33,000 feet was stationed in the area near the crash.
“Ukrainian Air Force planes armed with various types of missiles are constantly present in the Donetsk region airspace,” he said on Rossiya 24 TV. “This is an indisputable fact.” He said Kiev’s claims that these systems or planes did not shoot at airborne targets “raise serious doubts.” He added that “planes of the Russian Air Force did not fly in Russian regions bordering the Donetsk region on July 17, 2014.” The Ukrainians, however, have cited the purported intercepts and conflicting claims by the pro-Russian rebels, who have been operating with tactical Russian assistance, as evidence of their guilt. In recent days, the rebels, who have shot down numerous Ukrainian military aircraft using shorter-range missiles, claimed to have obtained more advanced antiaircraft missile systems. “Evidence and information we have as of now confirm that it was pro-Russian groups, and unfortunately this tragedy took the lives of 298 people,” Ihor Dolhov, Ukraine’s ambassador to NATO, told the BBC. Sergei Kavtaradze, a representative of the separatist militias, told Interfax on Friday that the purported recordings of intercepted phone calls amounted to “unprofessional propaganda.” http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/missile-downs-malaysia-airlines-plane-over-ukraine-killing-298-kiev-blames-rebels/2014/07/18/d30205c8-0e4a-11e4-8c9a-923ecc0c7d23_story.html
Did MH17 pilot divert INTO the danger zone? Aviation expert claims captain made last-minute change of course over Ukraine because he ‘felt uncomfortable’
- Russian military expert claims pilot radioed his concerns about the route before diverting over rebel-held territory
- Russian media explores theory that Ukrainian armed forces shot down Boeing 777 after mistaking it for Putin’s jet
- Malaysia Airlines filed flight plan requesting 35,000 feet through airspace but was told to fly at 33,000
- Kremlin leader was flying back to Moscow from Brazilian World Cup at around same time passenger plane crashed
- Russian aviation sources said the routes of the two planes ‘crossed at the same point and on the same altitude’
- Ukrainian official accuses Putin of smuggling missile launcher back into Russia to cover up Kremlin involvement
- Malaysian transport minister said MH17 was flying on approved route and pilot given no last-minute instructions
- Putin calls for a ceasefire by pro-Russian separatists and Ukrainian government forces to allow for negotiations
- Confusion over the two black boxes: Rebel says none found, another said it has eight, Ukraine says it has both
- Ukrainian officials issue plea for respect as it emerges looters are raiding the possessions of dead passengers
The pilot of MH17 radioed that he ‘felt uncomfortable’ about the route he was flying while over Ukraine and fatally altered his course to hostile territory, 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, after mistaking his plane for a government military transport aircraft. 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 changed direction. Little did he know, according to Dr Sutyagin, that his plane would then be mistaken by rebels who brought it down using a ground-to-air Buk missile system. Malaysia Airlines today denied that the plane was told to alter its course. His comments come as Vladimir Putin called for a ceasefire by pro-Russian separatists and Ukrainian government forces to allow for negotiations. A top separatist leader in east Ukraine has ruled out a truce with government forces but pledged to allow investigators to access the crash site. ‘There is no question of a ceasefire but we will let experts access the site of the catastrophe,’ Alexander Borodai, the prime minister of the self-proclaimed ‘Donetsk People’s Republic’, told journalists.
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Is this proof that MH17 change course into a war zone? A route map compiled by Twitter user Vagelis Karmiros using data from flight-tracking website Flightaware claims to show how the doomed Malaysia Airlines plane took a different flightpath to the ones taken by the previous ten MH17 flights
Stunned: Ukrainians inspect the wreckage of MH17 as coal miners, farmers and other volunteers help with the grisly task of clearing up the crash sites after the Malaysia Airlines jet was shot down by a surface-to-air missile over the east of the country
Decimated: A pro-Russian separatist looks at wreckage from the nose section of a Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 plane which was downed near the village of Rozsypne
Disturbing: A woman walks past a body covered with a plastic sheet in a sunflower field near the site of a crashed Malaysia Airlines passenger plane near the village of Rozsypne
All hand on deck: Coal miners help with the search effort at the crash site near the village of Rozsypne in eastern Ukraine
Emergency workers, police officers and even coal miners spread out across the sunflower fields and villages of eastern Ukraine, searching the wreckage of MH17
Out of the blue: A Ukrainian covers a body with a plastic sheet in a field. Malaysia’s prime minister said there was no distress call before the plane went down and that the flight route was declared safe by the International Civil Aviation Organisation
BRITAIN BLAMES PUTIN AS UKRAINE CALLS ON WORLD LEADERS TO ‘BRING THOSE B******* TO JUSTICE’
Britain today formally accused Russia of being responsible for bringing down flight MH17 over Ukraine – killing on 298 passengers on board. The UK’s representative at the UN said it was ‘clear’ who was to blame for shooting down the Malaysian Airways aircraft over Ukraine. Speaking at the UN in New York today, Ambassador Peter Wilson said the blame lay with ‘the senseless violence of armed separatists and with those who have supported, equipped and advised them’. Earlier, Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk urged Western leaders to ‘bring justice to those b*******’ who brought down the flight. He said world leaders needed to realised there was ‘a war in the heart of Europe’ taking place, amid growing fury at Moscow’s backing the pro-Russian separatists suspected of carrying out the assault.
Dr Sutyagin’s theory appears to be supported by a route map which shows the passenger plane travelling on a different course to the ones taken by the previous ten MH17 flights. Twitter user Vagelis Karmiros collated the information from Flightaware, the largest flight tracking website in the world. Dr Sutyagin 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 border, 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 south 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.’ His comments came as Malaysia Airlines said it filed a flight plan requesting to fly at 35,000 feet through Ukraine airspace but was instructed by Ukraine air traffic control to fly at 33,000. It would still have been in range of the missile were it flying at the higher altitude, however.
Rescue workers, police and even coal miners are today combing the site where a Malaysian Airlines jet crashed after being shot from the sky by a surface-to-air missile, scattering wreckage and bodies across the Ukrainian countryside.
Ukraine accused pro-Russian separatists of shooting down the plane which was flying from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur with 298 people on board, while the Russian media today blamed everyone but pro-Moscow rebels for the Malaysia Airlines horror.
One theory explored by TV and newspapers was that the Ukrainian armed forces may have shot the Boeing out of the sky after mistaking it for Vladimir Putin’s official Ilyushin jet.
The Kremlin leader was flying back to Moscow from Brazil at around the same time that the Boeing 777 was downed, stated TV and newspaper reports.
Video of debris at the site of MH17 plane crash in Ukraine
Blaming the Ukraine: Self-proclaimed Prime Minister of the pro-Russian separatist Donetsk People’s Republic, Alexander Borodai (centre), arrives at the crash site
Blame game: The pro-Russian self-proclaimed governor of the Donetsk region Paul Gubarev (centre) is surrounded by armed guards as he looks at debris of the Boeing
Under pressure: Ukrainian Defense Minister Valeriy Geletey arrives for a meeting with media in Kramatorsk as global demands mounted to find those responsible for downing the airliner
HORRIFIC IMAGE OF DEAD BABY IN FIELD ‘ON PUTIN’S CONSCIENCE’
A shocking photograph released today by an Ukrainian official shows the harrowing image of an infant victim lying on its own in a field. The baby, who is pictured sprawled in the dirt near the crash site, is thought to be the youngest victim of the crash. Ukraine government advisor Anton Gerashchenko, who published the picture, said in a statement: ‘This baby’s death is on your conscience Putin’ – placing the blame squarely on Russia. The nationality of the baby is still unknown.
Evidence for the theory seems scant, but an anonymous source in Russia’s Federal Agency for Air Transportation was quoted saying that there was a crossover flight path between the doomed Malaysian aircraft and Russian plane ‘number one’ used by Putin.
A source at the agency was quoted by Komsomolskaya Pravda newspaper as saying: ‘Vladimir Putin’s plane could have been a target for a Ukrainian missile.’
NTV cited a source from the same body as saying: ‘I can say that the routes of plane Number One and the Malaysian Boeing crossed at the same point and on the same altitude.
‘It was near Warsaw at altitude 10,100 metres, echelon 330. The plane Number One was at that point at 16.21 Moscow time, the Malaysian plane was there at 15.44 Moscow time.’
The source also said that the ‘plane’ contours are similar in principle, the real sizes are also similar, and ‘as for their liveries then at the distance they are almost identical’.
Putin’s equivalent of Air Force One is a specially modified Ilyushin, the Il-96 300. It is a four-engine long distance aircraft, with a length of 55 metres, and a wingspan of 60 metres.
The Boeing 777-200 is 63 metres long, and its wingspan 61 metres.
Asked last night on the route of Putin’s plane, agency head Alexander Neradko said: ‘We never comment on the routes and other details of the flights of the president of Russia.’
Obama: Ukraine crash is an outrage of unspeakable proportions
Political storm: Russian President Vladimir Putin has blamed Ukraine for the Malaysian Airlines tragedy that claimed the lives of all 298 people on board
Crumpled: Wreckage of the Malaysia Airlines jet carrying 298 people from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur a day after it crashed, near the town of Shaktarsk, in east Ukraine
Complex investigation: Rescue workers pick through the debris of Flight MH17 at the crash site outside Shakhtyorsk in the Donetsk region, eastern Ukraine
‘Circumstances need to be investigated carefully and objectively’: Vladimir Putin has called for a thorough probe into the cause of disaster
Earlier, Ukrainian government official Anton Gerashchenko accused Mr Putin of ‘a desperate attempt to hide the consequences of his deeds’ by permitting the smuggling of the Buk rocket launcher – suspected of being used to shoot down the Boeing – across the frontier into Russia.
An effort during the night was made ‘to hide the Buk rocket complex on Russian territory’, he alleged.
He did not say if it was known whether or not it had moved into Russia.
‘It is most likely that the machinery which fired the missiles at Malaysian aircraft will be destroyed and the people who committed the act of terror will be annihilated,’ warned Gerashchenko, an advisor to the Interior Ministry in Kiev.
‘Several hours ago, Putin made a statement in regard the catastrophic crash of the Malaysian Boeing in which he blamed it all on Ukrainian side. What else is there to be done for an international terrorist? Only lie.’
Missile system ‘seen in Ukraine’ hours before MH17 shot down
Poignant: A white flag placed by the Ukrainian Emergency Services marks the location of a body (not pictured) the settlement of Grabovo
Mangled: Malaysia Airlines is trying to arrange safe access for relatives of victims to the site in eastern Ukraine where its Boeing 777 airliner crashed
Distressing: Cards, games and money belonging to passengers on MH17 lie strewn across the grass near the town of Shaktarsk, in rebel-held east Ukraine
Clear-up operation: Personal luggage is collected at the site of the crashed Malaysia Airlines passenger plane near the village of Rozsypne
Global response: The UN Security Council has called for ‘a full, thorough and independent international investigation’ after approving a statement expressing ‘deepest sympathies and condolences to the families of the victims’
Meanwhile, Pro-Kremlin Izvestia cited separatists claiming the shooting out of the sky was ‘a planned provocation by Kiev’.
‘Judge for yourself, who could have done it? The rebels don’t have weapons that you could use to shoot down a plane at such a height, but Kiev does,’ one local leader told the paper.
Tabloid Tvoi Den splashed a full-page cover photograph of the crash scene with a line reading: ‘Donetsk People’s Republic Authorities Claim Plane Destroyed by Ukrainian Buk Missile,’ an anti-aircraft system.
Rebel official Sergei Kavtaradze was quoted saying: ‘According to our information, this plane was shot down by Ukrainian armed forces.’
Other media claimed it could have been a Ukrainian plot to give the Americans an excuse to deploy NATO on the ground in the eastern European country.
But a Ukrainian military expert, Igor Levchenko, told Kommersant business daily that although Kiev did have several Buks in the conflict zone, they ‘definitely would not be used against such a target as a passenger liner.’
IS THIS THE SMOKING GUN THAT PROVES SEPARATISTS WERE TO BLAME? FOOTAGE SHOWS MISSILE LAUNCHER BEING SMUGGLED BACK TO RUSSIA WITH TWO ROCKETS MISSING
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’.
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
Launch site? The BUK missile system photographed in Torez hours before MH17 was downed
‘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.
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
Is this SAM, missing 2 missiles, being smuggled out of Ukraine?
Missile system ‘seen in Ukraine’ hours before MH17 shot down
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.
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.
Grim: Bodies lie strewn among the wreckage of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 a day after it was shot down over pro-Russian rebel-held territory in eastern Ukraine
Macabre: As shocking pictures of bodies and debris emerged, the tragedy sparked a full-blown international crisis, increasing tension between Moscow and Washington
Devastation: Dutch authorities have said that at least nine Britons, 154 Dutch, 27 Australians were among the passengers and crew killed on board the flight
Turning some of the blame towards the aviation industry, the same paper cited aviation sources saying it was ‘reckless’ to allow passenger flights over the region.
Government newspaper Rossiiskaya Gazeta said: ‘It remains unclear how a Boeing 777 came to be above a conflict zone and why air traffic controllers didn’t prevent a potentially dangerous situation.
Malaysia’s transport minister today insisted there were no last-minute instructions to the pilots of MH17 before it took off.
Liow Tiong Lai said the Boeing 777 was flying on an internationally-approved route which other airlines had been using ‘in the hours before the incident’.
He said: ‘Our sympathies are with those affected by this tragedy. There were 298 passengers and crew. Our thoughts and prayers are with the families at this incredibly difficult time for them.’
Mr Lai reiterated that the plane had ‘a clean bill of health’ and all its systems were functioning normally.
The route taken over Ukraine was one approved by the International Civil Aviation Authority and by the International Air Transport Association.
He went on: ‘There were no last-minute instructions given to the pilots to change the route. In the hours before the incident, a number of airlines used this route.’
Mr Lai said that of the 41 passengers whose nationalities were initially unknown, 21 had now been identified.
Listing the nationalities, he confirmed that nine UK passengers were among those lost.
He added that the full passenger manifesto would be released once all next of kin had been informed.
Mr Lai called for the crash site to be preserved, adding that Malaysia was sending a dozens-strong team to Ukraine, which would include 15 medical staff. Malaysia Airlines is also sending 40 staff to Amsterdam to support families there.
Speaking at a media conference in Kuala Lumpur, Mr Lai said Ukraine would start the investigation into the crash and he supported a call for an international investigation.
LOOTERS RAIDING POSSESSIONS OF 298 PASSENGERS AND CREW STREWN BETWEEN DEAD BODIES
Cash and jewellery is being stolen from victims of the Malaysian plane crash, Ukrainian politicians claim. The missile strike which brought down the MH17 flight left naked bodies strewn across fields surrounded by hundreds of possessions including children’s books, playing cards, slippers, letters and old vinyl records. But tonight it has emerged looters have descended on the distressing scene, stealing valuable goods from the 298 passengers and crew, who all died in the blast. Anton Gerashchenko, an advisor to the Kiev government, said: ‘I have received information that terrorist death-hunters were collecting not only cash and jewellery of the crashed Boeing dead passengers but also the credit cards of the victims. ‘Currently, they might as well try to use them in Ukraine or pass them on to Russia. ‘My humble request to the relatives of the victims to freeze their credit cards, so that they won’t loose their assets to terrorists.’
The Duke of Cambridge spoke today of his ‘deep sadness’ over the Ukraine plane disaster.
Speaking at an event at Australia House in London to remember a British explorer, William said words ‘cannot do justice to our sense of loss’.
Prime Minister David Cameron said the crash of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 in Ukraine was ‘an absolutely appalling, shocking, horrific incident’ and said his thoughts were with the families of those killed.
Mr Cameron said: ‘If, as seems possible, this was brought down, then those responsible must be held to account and we must lose no time in doing that.’
Emergency workers, police officers and even off-duty coal miners spread out Friday across the sunflower fields and villages of eastern Ukraine, searching the wreckage of a jetliner shot down as it flew miles above the country’s battlefield.
By midday, 181 bodies had been located, according to emergency workers in contact with officials in Kiev.
Malaysia Airlines said the passengers included 189 Dutch, 29 Malaysians, 27 Australians, 12 Indonesians, nine Britons, four Germans, four Belgians, three Filipinos and one person each from Canada and New Zealand.
Still Nataliya Bystro, a spokeswoman for Ukraine’s emergency services, said rebel militiamen were interfering with the recovery operation.
It came as the UN Security Council has called for ‘a full, thorough and independent international investigation’ after approving a statement expressing ‘deepest sympathies and condolences to the families of the victims and to the people and governments of all those killed in the crash’.
Security Council members stood in a moment of silent tribute to the 298 victims at the start of an emergency council meeting.
The council called for an investigation ‘in accordance with international civil aviation guidelines and for appropriate accountability’.
It stressed the need for ‘immediate access by investigators to the crash site to determine the cause of the incident’.
The crash site is spread out between two villages in eastern Ukraine with pro-Russia separatists apparently controlling access in and out.
Confusion surrounds the fate of the plane’s flight recorders after conflicting reports over whether they had been found.
An assistant to the insurgency’s military commander, Igor Girkin, said earlier that eight out of the plane’s 12 black boxes had been located and that he was considering whether to give international crash investigators access to the crash site.
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.
But another separatist leader, Aleksandr Borodai, said later: ‘No black boxes have been found. We hope that experts will track them down and create a picture of what has happened.’
Earlier, the separatists claimed that one of the black boxes had been sent to Moscow.
Meanwhile, Kostyantyn Batozsky, adviser to the Donetsk regional governor, claimed the voice and data recording devices by the Ukrainian Emergency Services Ministry after workers were granted access to the crash site by rebels, it was reported by The New York Times. But Mr Batozsky said he did not know the current location of the devices or who had them.
Large chunks of the Boeing 777 that bore the airline’s red, white and blue markings lay strewn over a field.
The cockpit and one of the turbines lay more than half a mile (1km) apart and residents said the tail landed about six miles (10km) away, indicating that the aircraft probably broke up before hitting the ground.
PASSENGERS AND CREW WILL HAVE BEEN OBLIVIOUS TO HORROR AS MISSILE BLEW APART AIRCRAFT
The 298 passengers and crew aboard MH17 will have been oblivious to the horror as a shrapnel-based missile instantly shredded the doomed plane, experts claim. The SA-11 missile – known as a Grizzly – that hit the doomed Malaysian Airlines flight is designed to pulverise aircraft on impact. It will have perforated the plane at various points, ignited the fuel, and taken out the engines and the wings within a split second – meaning the people aboard will have been unconscious almost instantly. Justin Bronk, researcher analyst at the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI), told MailOnline: ‘An SA-11 missile is designed to shred aircraft. ‘The extent at which the remains of the aircraft are spread across a large area seems to confirm that. ‘The missile is programmed using a tracker to get within a metre of the target then let off a ring of shrapnel, which will enter the aircraft at various points. ‘The shrapnel will have hit the wings, the engines and the fuel tanks, igniting the fuel. ‘A large aircraft like that is highly pressurised to allow humans to breathe at that altitude so it will have exploded instantly.’
Bodies and body parts strewn across the field outside the village of Rozsypne about 2.5 miles (4km) away from the crash site. Shocking new accounts of the carnage emerged today. ‘The plane broke up in the air and the parts and human bodies are lying within a three-kilometre area,’ said a post by Vsevolod Petrovsky after visiting the scene. ‘One body broke a hole in the thin roof of a summer terrace in a private house. I got out of the car and immediately saw the naked body of a woman, covered by some leaves. ‘There were many bodies without clothes around. Probably, their clothing was torn away after the loss of pressurisation. Horrible. ‘I go further and see a hill made of the cockpit parts. The area is lit. The pilot’s body is in this seat, with seat belt fastened, he is dressed in his clothes. ‘Among the plane parts there were many parcels. Letters tied with a rope, books, old vinyl records, somebody’s shoes. Children’s caps with the Dutch national flag colours. Amazingly, almost all of these things are not destroyed. ‘There was no fire in this part of the plane. The fire was in the back part which is lying not far from Grabovo village.’ A local farmer said: ‘I was herding my cows and heard a buzzing noise. I lay on the ground and thinking only that it would not hit me and my cows. ‘Then I looked and saw that something turns sharply and two big wings were flying. Bang. And something explodes. It came from eastern side, from the side of Sokholikha mountain.’
American intelligence authorities believe a surface-to-air missile brought the plane down but are still working on who fired the missile and whether it came from the Russian or Ukrainian side of the border, a U.S. official said.
Malaysia’s prime minister said there was no distress call before the plane went down and that the flight route was declared safe by the International Civil Aviation Organisation.
More than half of the passengers on board – 154 – were Dutch citizens, with 43 from Malaysia, including the 15 crew members.
Another 27 were Australians, 12 from Indonesia, and nine Britons. The victims included three infants.
Earlier it was feared that 23 Americans had perished based on a Reuters report, but there has been no confirmation of any U.S. deaths since then from the State Department.
Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko called it an ‘act of terrorism’ and demanded an international investigation. He insisted his forces did not shoot down the plane.
U.S. Senator John McCain said there ‘would be hell to pay’ if the plane was shot down by the Russian military or separatists.
Putin lays blame on Ukrainian government after MH17 tragedy
Earlier this week, the rebels claimed responsibility for shooting down two Ukrainian military planes.
In Kuala Lumpur, several relatives of those on board the jet gathered at the international airport.
A distraught Akmar Mohamad Noor, 67, said her older sister was coming to visit the family for the first time in five years.
‘She called me just before she boarded the plane and said, “See you soon”,’ she said.
Counsellors were meeting with a few family members in the airport viewing gallery, sealed off from a horde of journalists. One woman emerged in tears and was escorted out of the airport by a security officer without saying anything.
‘This is just too much,’ said Cindy Tan, who was waiting at the airport for a friend on another flight.
‘I don’t know really why this happened to a MAS (Malaysia Airlines) plane again.’
Ukraine’s security services produced what they said were two intercepted telephone conversations that showed rebels were responsible.
In the first call, the security services said, rebel commander Igor Bezler tells a Russian military intelligence officer that rebel forces shot down a plane.
In the second, two rebel fighters – one of them at the crash scene – say the rocket attack was carried out by a unit of insurgents about 15 miles (25km) north of the site.
MH17 WASN’T THE ONLY ONE FLYING OVER DANGER ZONE: 55 OTHER AIRCRAFT ALSO DID ON THE SAME DAY
A Singapore Airlines passenger plane was flying just 15 miles away from flight MH17 when it was shot out of the sky over Ukraine.
Data from Flightradar24.com reveals the Copenhagen to Singapore flight was in airspace above the dangerous Donetsk region just two minutes before a surface-to-air missile hit the Malaysia Airlines plane on Thursday.
Figures also reveal 55 planes – including six flights from London’s Heathrow Airport – flew over the war zone on the same day the tragedy happened.
The flights were still operating in the conflict zone despite warnings from as far back as April from the UN’s International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) about potential risks to commercial planes.
Danger zone: Flightradar24.com data shows the closest plane in the air to MH17 just two minutes before it was shot out of the sky over Ukraine was a Singapore Airlines flight
The radar route of Malaysian Airlines plane MH17
Russia’s Interfax news agency quoted Sergey Kavtaradze, a special representative of the Donetsk People’s Republic leader, as denying that the intercepted phone conversations were genuine.
U.S. President Barack Obama called the crash a ‘terrible tragedy’ and spoke by phone with Russian President Vladimir Putin as well as Mr Poroshenko. Britain called for an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council on Ukraine.
Later, Mr Putin said Ukraine bore responsibility for the crash, but he did not address the question of who might have shot it down and did not accuse Ukraine of doing so.
‘This tragedy would not have happened if there were peace on this land, if the military actions had not been renewed in southeast Ukraine,’ he said, according to a Kremlin statement issued early today.
‘And, certainly, the state over whose territory this occurred bears responsibility for this awful tragedy.’ At the United Nations, Ukrainian Ambassador Yuriy Sergeyev told the AP that Russia gave the separatists a sophisticated missile system and thus Moscow bears responsibility, along with the rebels.
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
Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott told Parliament today that authorities owe it to the families of the dead to find out exactly what happened and who was responsible.
‘As things stand, this looks less like an accident than a crime. And if so, the perpetrators must be brought to justice,’ he said.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said he was ‘horrified’ by the crash, and the United States was prepared to help with an international investigation.
Ukraine’s crisis began after pro-Moscow President Viktor Yanukovych was driven from office in February by a protest movement among citizens angry about endemic corruption and seeking closer ties with the European Union.
Russia later annexed the Crimean Peninsula in southern Ukraine, and pro-Russians in the country’s eastern regions began occupying government buildings and pressing for independence. Moscow denies Western charges that it is supporting the separatists or sowing unrest.
Kenneth Quinn, of the Flight Safety Foundation, said an international coalition of countries should lead the investigation.
Safety experts say they are concerned that, because the plane crashed in area of Ukraine that is in dispute, political considerations could affect the investigation.
The RIA-Novosti agency quoted rebel leader Alexander Borodai as saying that talks were under way with Ukrainian authorities on calling a short truce for humanitarian reasons. He said international organisations would be allowed into the conflict-plagued region.
Aviation authorities in several countries, including the FAA in the United States, had issued warnings not to fly over parts of Ukraine prior to yesterday’s crash, but many carriers, including cash-strapped Malaysia Airlines, had continued to use the route because ‘it is a shorter route, which means less fuel and therefore less money,’ said aviation expert Norman Shanks.
Within hours of the tragedy, several airlines said they were avoiding parts of Ukrainian airspace.
A U.S. official said American intelligence authorities believe the plane was brought down by a surface-to-air missile but are still working to determine additional details about the crash, including who fired the missile and whether it came from the Russian or Ukraine side of the border.
But American intelligence assessments suggest it is more likely pro-Russian separatists or the Russians rather than Ukrainian government forces shot down the plane, according to the official.
The United States has sophisticated technologies which can detect missile launches, including the identification of heat from the rocket engine.
Anton Gerashenko, an adviser to Ukraine’s interior minister, said on his Facebook page the plane was flying at about 33,000ft (10,000m) when it was hit by a missile from a Buk launcher, which can fire up to an altitude of 72,000ft (22,000m). He said only that his information was based on ‘intelligence’.
Igor Sutyagin, a research fellow in Russian studies at the Royal United Services Institute, said both Ukrainian and Russian forces have SA-17 missile systems – also known as Buk ground-to-air launcher systems.
Rebels had recently bragged about having acquired Buk systems.
Mr Sutyagin said Russia had supplied separatists with military hardware but had seen no evidence ‘of the transfer of that type of system from Russia’.
Earlier yesterday, AP journalists saw a launcher that looked like a Buk missile system near the eastern town of Snizhne, which is held by the rebels.
Mr Poroshenko said his country’s armed forces did not shoot at any airborne targets.
Separatist leader Andrei Purgin told the Associated Press news agency he was certain that Ukrainian troops had shot the plane down, but gave no explanation or proof.
There have been several disputes over planes being shot down over eastern Ukraine in recent days.
A Ukrainian fighter jet was shot down on Wednesday by an air-to-air missile from a Russian plane, Ukrainian authorities said, adding to what Kiev says is mounting evidence that Moscow is directly supporting the insurgents.
Pro-Russia rebels claimed responsibility for strikes on two Ukrainian Sukhoi-25 jets on Wednesday. Ukraine’s Defence Ministry said the second jet was hit by a portable surface-to-air missile but the pilot landed safely.
The tragic victims of Flight MH17: EIGHTY children among the 298 who perished on doomed plane – including a brilliant young British mathematician, Catholic nun, UN worker and leading Aids doctor
- Three Australian children – Mo, Evie and Otis Maslin, aged between eight and 12 – were among those killed
- An entire Indonesian family – including a five-year-old boy and a three-year-old girl, also died in the attack
- Two British students – Richard Mayne, 20, and Ben Pocock, in his early 20s, were also named as victims today
- Also named were press officer Glenn Thomas, 49, and Newcastle United fans John Alder and Liam Sweeney
- As many as 100 of the victims are thought to have been Aids experts on their way to a conference in Melbourne
By SIMON TOMLINSON and MICHAEL SEAMARK and LOUISE ECCLES and WILL STEWART and TED THORNHILL
Eighty children were among the victims killed when a passenger jet was shot out of the sky at 32,000ft by a surface-to-air missile yesterday.
Two Indonesians aged just three and five who were flying with their parents, as well as three Australian children headed home with their grandfather, numbered among the 298 dead after Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 was shot down over rebel-held Ukraine yesterday.
Also on board the doomed flight were around 100 Aids experts on their way to an international conference, a Catholic nun from Australia and a British university student.
The nationalities of more victims were confirmed today – with the toll now including 189 Dutch, 44 Malaysians, 27 Australians, 12 Indonesians and nine Britons. Four passengers are yet to be verified. No victims are thought to be U.S. citizens.
The Boeing 777 aircraft was travelling from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur when it 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. Russian President Vladimir Putin has blamed Ukraine for the attack.
Children: Evie (left), Mo (centre) and Otis (right) Maslin, pictured celebrating a birthday, are among the Australian victims of the disaster, in which a Malaysia Airlines plane was shot down by a missile over Ukraine
Young: Evie Maslin, 10, from Australia was flying with her siblings
Accompanying: Grandfather Nick Norris, pictured, was on board the flight with his three grandchildren
Pose: Mo Maslin has is pictured above at a parade
Child victims: Three grandchildren, Mo Maslin, 12, (left), his brother Otis, eight, (centre) and sister Evie Maslin, 10, (right) were killed on the flight along with their grandfather Nick Morris
At one swoop: An entire Indonesian family was killed in the attack: John Paulissen, his wife Yuli Hastini and two children, Martin Arjuna Paulissen, five and Sri Paulissen, three
Devastation: A surviving relative shows photographers images of the family, who were on the doomed plane
The plane was shot down in an ‘act of terrorism’, killing all 298 passengers and crew on board, including three Australian children, aged between eight and 12, who were travelling with their grandfather. The family had been on holiday and the children’s parents had remained in Amsterdam for a few extra days, but Mr Norris took his grandchildren on MH17 to get them back to Australia in time for school, Australian broadcasters reported.
NATIONALITIES OF THE MH17 VICTIMS
Netherlands: 189 Malaysia: 44 Australia: 27 Indonesia: 12 UK: 9 Germany: 4 Belgium: 4 Philippines: 3 Canada: 1 New Zealand: 1 Unverified: 4
The tragedy has sparked outrage across the globe, with Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk leading calls on world powers to support his government in bringing to justice ‘those b****** who committed this international crime’ after a passenger plane was shot down over his country.
Security forces from Ukraine claim to have intercepted two phone conversations in which in which pro-Russian separatists seem to celebrate hitting the plane. In the wake of the aviation disaster tributes have poured in for the victims, who include families and renowned researchers.
Nick Norris, from Perth, Australia, was flying on the service with his grandchildren Mo, 12, Evie, 10, and Otis Maslin, eight, when it was shot down at around 16.00 BST yesterday.
Mr Norris’s son Brack, 24, paid tribute to his father, niece and nephews. ‘I’m a bit dizzy right now,’ he told MailOnline in Australia. The family had been on holiday and the children’s parents had remained in Amsterdam for a few extra days, but Mr Norris took his grandchildren on MH17 to get them back to Australia in time for school, Australian broadcasters reported. Mr Norris, the managing director of management consulting firm Collaborative Systemic Change Pty Ltd, is survived by his son Brack, who is the company’s marketing manager, and daughter Kirstin, a marine engineer with the Royal Australian Navy. He was a well-known member of the South Perth Yacht Club. The identities of British victims also emerged today, including two Newcastle United fans on their way to see the club play in New Zealand, and a student from Leeds University.
A Leeds university student has also been named as one of the British nationals who died when flight MH17 crashed in eastern Ukraine. Richard Mayne, 20, was originally from Leicester where he lived with his parents.
He also leaves behind his brothers Thomas, 24, and William, 19. Mr Mayne was studying maths and finance at the university.
Student: Richard Mayne, 20, was another of the British victims, who studied maths and finance at Leeds University
Traveller: Mr Mayne was on his way to spend a year in Australia, friends said, and had been at a celebratory barbecue days before where he was wished good luck
Speaking from the family home today, his father Simon, 53, said: ‘He was on his way to Perth. When we were looking at flights together, there was this one that stopped in Amsterdam and we thought it would be perfect.
‘I took him to the airport at 3am myself, to fly to Amsterdam. When I first saw it on the news, my heart dropped. I just thought, oh god, oh god – I couldn’t believe it. We were hoping and praying he had fallen asleep at Amsterdam and missed his flight. ‘You think you’ve got problems and them something like this happens and it all just takes over. I can’t even bring myself to look at a photograph of him. We are beyond devastated. It is such a beautiful sunny day but our lives have been torn apart.’ Student Ben Pocock from Bristol was also named today as one of the victims. Mr Pocock, who was in his early 20s, had just finished studying at Loughborough University and was headed to Australia for a year’s placement abroad. The university paid tribute to Mr Pocock, today, saying he was destined to achieve a first-class degree. ‘We are incredibly saddened to hear that one of our students, Ben Pocock, was believed to be a passenger on flight MH17,’ a spokesman said.
Student: Ben Pocock, a student from Bristol who had just finished exams at Loughborough University, was headed to a holiday in Australia on MH17
‘Ben had just completed the second year of his international business BSc degree and was flying out to begin a professional placement and to study abroad at the University of Western Australia as part of his third year. ‘Ben was an excellent student and on course to gain a first class degree. He was also a fine athlete, who played on the university athletic union’s Ultimate Frisbee team and won their Player of the Year honour.’ Glenn Thomas, a 49-year-old UN worker from Blackpool, was on board the flight. Mr Thomas was a media relations co-ordinator for the World Health Organisation, an agency of the United Nations agency, and had previously worked as a journalist for the BBC.
Malaysia Airlines has confirmed that 189 Dutch, 44 Malaysian (including 15 crew and two infants), 12 Indonesian, nine British, four German, three Filipino, and one Canadian citizen were also on the plane.
Mr Thomas grew up in Blackpool and worked as a journalist in the Lancashire seaside resort in the early 1990s, where his twin sister Tracey Withers still lives. The Blackpool Gazette reported that he moved to Geneva, Switzerland, a decade ago to start working for the WHO. He was said to have posted a status update shortly before starting his journey, which was supposed to end in Melbourne.
He caught a place from Geneva to Amsterdam, and boarded the doomed service from the Dutch capital to Kuala Lumpur, where he would have boarded a connecting flight. Mr Thomas lived in Geneva with his partner who lived in Geneva with his partner Claudio-Manoel Villaca-Vanetta, but is said to have kept up his ties to Blackpool.
Today one of his nephews said the family was ‘totally torn up’ by his death. The relative, a son of Mr Thomas’s sister Tracey and her husband Mark, said his parents were on holiday in Spain when they heard the news. He said: ‘She is on her way home; she is totally torn up. Like any twins they are very close-one of them feels everything the other does.She must have known in her mind something terrible was going on.’
Tributes were paid to Mr Thomas today, whom colleagues described as ‘a wonderful personal and a great professional’. WHO spokesman Fadela Chaib said: ‘I can confirm he was on the flight travelling to Australia to attend the Aids conference in Australia.
Victim: Briton Glenn Thomas, 49, was among the 298 killed when Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 was blasted out of the sky by a surface-to-air missile
International: Mr Thomas (circled) is pictured above at a press conference delivered by the World Health Organisation – an agency of the United Nations – and is surrounded by high-ranking experts from the body
‘For the time being we would like to give his family time to grieve. We have lost a wonderful person and a great professional. Our hearts are broken. We are all in shock.’
It was also revealed that two Newcastle United fans were among the nine Britons killed. A fan site for the football club posted that two people were aboard MH17 on their way to New Zealand, where the team is playing in a pre-season tour.
One of the men is thought to be fan John Alder, who was in his 60s. The loyal supporter is known to other fans as The Undertaker because of his tradition of wearing a suit to every game.
He is thought only to have missed a single match since he started attending in 1973, and follows the team around the world for their away games.
It is believed John was travelling to the game with another 28-year-old fan, believed to be Liam Sweeney, from Newcastle.
Before the flight John had made his way from Amsterdam, then boarded the flight destined for Kuala Lumpur.
Tributes have started to pour in for the former BT worker, who was also known for his mullet-style haircut.
Newcastle Fans: John Alder, pictured left, and Liam Sweeney, right, were football supporters who were travelling to watch Newcastle United play in New Zealand when MH17 was shot out of the skies
GROWING LIST OF THE DEAD: NAMED VICTIMS FROM THE MH17 TRAGEDY
Mo Maslin, 12, Australian Otis Malsin, eight, Australian Evie Maslin, 10, Australian John Paulissen, Indonesian Yuli Hastini, Indonesian Martin Arjuna Paulissen, five, Indonesian Sri Paulissen, three, Indonesian Glenn Thomas, 49, British, WHO press officer Richard Mayne, 20, British, student John Alder, 60s, NUFC fan Liam Sweeney, 28, NUFC fan Elaine Teoh, student, Australian Nick Norris, Australian Albert Rizk, Australian, estate agent Mari Rizk, Australian Sister Philomene Tiernan, Australian, nun Roger Guard, Australian, pathologist Jill Guard, Australian Joep Lange, leading HIV expert Pim de Kuijer, Aids expert Martine de Schutter, Aids expert Eugene Choo Jin Leong, Malaysian, pilot Regis Crolla, Dutch Azrina Yakob, Malaysian, air stewardess Sanjid Singh Sandu, 41, Malaysian, air steward Shazana Salleh, Malaysian, air hostess Angeline Premila, Malaysian, air hostess Ben Pocock, early 20s, British, student Fatima Dyczynski, Australian, entrepreneur Liliane Derden, Australian, researcher Willem Witteveen, 62, Dutch, senator Cameron Dalziel, British, helicopter pilot Fan Shun-Po, Hong Kong, chef
Newcastle United manager Alan Pardew said today his players were ‘deeply shocked and saddened’ at the deaths of two such ‘dedicated’ fans.
The club said both men were familiar faces at every United away game and attended reserve and academy matches as well as first-team games.
The sixth Briton named today was helicopter rescue pilot and father-of-two Cameron Dalziel.
Mr Dalziel, 43, is from South Africa but travels on a British passport, it is believed. He moveed to Malaysia last October with his wife Reine, and their two sons Sheldon, 14, and four year-old Cruz, to take up a job with CHC Helicopter.
He had previously worked as a helicopter rescue pilot in KwaZulu-Natal, a province of South Africa.
Mr Dalziel’s brother-in-law, Shane Hattingh, said his sister Reine was so traumatised she has not been able to answer phone calls from anxious relatives, according to Eye Witness News.
He said: ‘She is basically alone there other than with new friends. So she couldn’t even talk to me. Apparently three people from the company were there with her. It’s crazy, the kids are going to be absolutely shattered.’
It is understood Mr Dalziel had been sent for training in the Netherlands and was returning on yesterday’s Malaysia Airlines flight when the plane was shot down.
Helicopter pilot: Cameron Dalziel, who lived in South Africa but used a British Passport, was named today as another victim, the sixth Briton
The airline has now said that all European flights operated by Malaysia Airlines will now be taking alternative routes, avoiding the usual route over Ukraine. A real estate agent, from Victoria, Australia, his wife, a Perth management consultant, a Melbourne university student and a Sydney Catholic nun are among the Australian dead on board Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 that was shot down on the Russian-Ukraine border. A Catholic nun from Sydney was also on board the flight. Sister Philomena, a teacher at girls’ high school Kincoppal-Rose Bay, was the relative of school students at St Mary’s Catholic Primary School in North Sydney. Malaysian student Elaine Teoh, who had been studying at Melbourne University, was on the flight, along with recently retired pathologist Roger Guard and his wife Jill from Toowoomba in Queensland, have also been identified from the MH17 flight. Dr Guard was well regarded in the medical community, acting as the director within the Pathology Queensland laboratory in Toowoomba Hospital. He also helped perform autopsies on the victims of the Queensland flood and was well known for organising local marathon events in his local community for the Toowoomba Road Runner fitness group. A Victorian couple Frankie Davison and her husband Liam were on MH17. Mrs Davison was a teacher at Toorak College Community, south-east of Melbourne.
Entrepreneur: Fatima Dyczynski, the founder of data company Xoterra Space, is thought to have been on board. Her parents are believed to be Australian
Pilot: Eugene Choo Jin Leong was flying MH17 when it was shot down. Malaysia Airlines has described him as one of their most trusted pilots
Victims: Melbourne student Elaine Teoh
It has also been confirmed that NSW resident Sister Philomene Tiernan (centre), a teacher at eastern Sydney’s Catholic girls’ school in Kincoppal-Rose Bay, was also on the plane
Shot down: Recently retired pathologist Roger Guard (left) and his wife Jill (right) from Toowoomba in Queensland, have also been identified from the MH17 flight
Scientist: Leading HIV researcher Joep Lange (pictured) died in the MH17 crash
Conference: Pim de Kuijer, another AIDS researcher, was on his way to the Melbourne conference
Victim: Martine de Schutter, pictured, was another one of the delegation
‘Toorak College Community is saddened by the loss of much loved teacher Frankie Davison and her husband Liam who were on the Malaysia Airlines flight that was brought down over Ukraine, this morning,’ said a statement on the college Facebook page. ‘Our hearts and sympathy goes out to their children Milly and Sam, and family. We are devastated by the news of this tragedy.’ Victorian real estate agent, Albert Rizk, and his wife Marie also died in the crash.
They had been in Europe on holidays for several weeks. They had been travelling with family friends who took an earlier flight and were waiting for the Rizks to arrive home in Sunbury, Victoria, where they were high-profile members of a tight-knit community.
Mr Rizk was a director of Raine & Horne in Sunbury.
President of the Sunbury Football Club Phil Lithgow said Mr Rizk was a sponsor of the AFL club as well as an enthusiastic community worker and his wife worked in the club canteen.
The couple’s son James, who is also a real estate agent, plays football for the Sunbury club.
‘He is a very good footballer and Albert and Marie were just lovely people,’ Mr Lithgow told Daily Mail Australia.
‘It is a shock to us all, Albert was just such a community person in the area.’
Australian death: Liliane Derden, from Canberra, was also named as a victim. She worked for the National Health and Medical Research Council
Victims from around the world: Regis Crolla, left, was one of the 189 Dutch nationals on board the flight out of Amsterdam, while stewardess Azrina Yakob, right, was thought to have been working on board the flight
Twist of fate: Sanjid Singh Sandu, 41, switched shifts on to the doomed liner at short notice
Loss: Shazana Salleh, pictured, was reportedly one of the Malaysian flight attendants on board
‘Killed’: Angeline Premila was another airline worker thought to have been on board
A spokesman for The University of Melbourne released a statement saying they were ‘saddened’ to hear reports about one of their students.
‘Ms Teoh graduated from the University of Melbourne with a Bachelor of Commerce in 2008,’ the spokesman said. ‘Our thoughts are with her family and friends at this time.’
Other victims from around the world were also name today, including four members of the Malaysia Airlines cabin crew and the pilot. Authorities confirmed that almost two thirds of those on board were Dutch, including a member of the country’s Senate, Professor Willem Witteveen. Also named was Hong Kong native Fan Shun-po, a chef at an Asian restaurant in Rotterdam. He is thought been on board with his Malaysian wife Jenny Loh, who owns the restaurant.
Denis Napthine, a political leader in Victoria, Australia, confirmed MH17 was to connect with MH129 arriving in Melbourne this evening.
‘It is with deep regret that I can now confirm nine Australian nationals from Victoria are among those who have been killed in the MH17 tragedy,’ he said.
‘This is a sad and tragic day, not just for Victorians, but for all people and all nations. The shooting down of a passenger aircraft full of innocent civilians is an unspeakable act that will forever leave a dark stain on our history.’
Travellers: Asian chef Fan Shun-Po, left, from Hong Kong, and Dutch senator Willem Witteveen, right, were also named today as victims
Mourners have laid flowers at the doorstep of the embassy to pay respect to victims
Passengers board their Malaysia Airlines flight at Bangkok airport as it prepares to depart for Kuala Lumpur early on July 18
Relics in the rubble: Passports of victims, such as this one which appears to show a Dutch teenager, were found in the crash site wreckage
UN chief expresses “deep condolences” over MH17 crash
Leading HIV researchers, including former president of the International Aids Society Joep Lange, were en route to the 20th International Aids Conference, AIDS2014, which will begin this weekend despite the attack. It was also revealed today that the U.S. government does not believe any of its own citizens were on board, as nobody used an American passport to get on the plane. Internal White House emails shown to Buzzfeed indicate that a list of passengers on the flight seen by government officials did not include details of U.S. passports.
Although there is a possibility that U.S. citizens with dual nationalities – which could give them access to another passport – were on board, nobody is thought to have contacted the U.S. consulate in Amsterdam.
Malaysia Airlines Flight 17
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Malaysia Airlines Flight 17
Incident summaryDate17 July 2014SummaryAppears to have been shot down by a surface-to-air missile launched from Ukraine, although still under investigationSiteNear Hrabove, Donetsk Oblast, Ukraine 48°7′56″N 38°39′19″ECoordinates: 48°7′56″N 38°39′19″EPassengers283Crew15Fatalities298Survivors0Aircraft typeBoeing 777-200EROperatorMalaysia AirlinesRegistration9M-MRDFlight originAmsterdam Airport SchipholDestinationKuala Lumpur International Airport
Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 (MH17/MAS17)[a] was a scheduled international passenger flight from Amsterdam toKuala Lumpur that appears to have been shot down by a surface-to-air missile launched from Ukraine on 17 July 2014 near Hrabove in Donetsk Oblast, Ukraine, about 40 km (25 mi) from the Ukraine–Russia border. All 283 passengers and 15 crew members on board the Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777-200ER aircraft were killed. The crash occurred in the conflict zone of the ongoing Donbass insurgency. Ukrainian Interior Ministry advisor Anton Gerashchenko said a Buk missile hit the aircraft at an altitude of 10,000 m (33,000 ft). Ukrainian security services said they intercepted two phone conversations in which pro-Russian separatists discuss having just shot down a civilian plane with Russian intelligence officers. Russia’s Defence Ministry said that a Ukrainian Buk missile system radar was operational in the area where the Malaysian plane was downed. Pro-Russian separatist rebels, however, accused the Ukrainian government of shooting down the plane. U.S. President Barack Obama, citing U.S. intelligence officials, said the plane was shot down by a missile and that there was “credible evidence” it was fired from a rebel-held location. The crash, Malaysia Airlines’ deadliest ever, was the airline’s second major incident of the year; Flight 370 (9M-MRO) disappeared on 8 March en route to Beijing from Kuala Lumpur. With 298 deaths, MH17 was the deadliest aviation incident since the 11 September 2001 attacks and the deadliest-ever Boeing 777 hull loss.
Flight 17 was operated with a Boeing 777-2H6ER,[b] serial number 28411, registration 9M-MRD. The 84th Boeing 777 produced, it first flew on 17 July 1997, exactly 17 years before the incident, and was delivered new to Malaysia Airlines on 29 July 1997. Powered by two Rolls-Royce Trent 892 engines and configured to carry 282 passengers in a 35-Business and 248-Economy configuration, the aircraft had logged more than 43,000 hours of flight time, including 6,950 cycles, before the crash. The Boeing 777 entered commercial service on 7 June 1995; as of June 2014, there were more than 1,200 in service. Aviation experts say it has one of the best safety records in commercial aircraft. Only four other 777s have suffered a hull loss: British Airways Flight 38 in January 2008; a cockpit fire in a parked EgyptAir777-200 at Cairo International Airport in 2011; and Asiana Airlines Flight 214 in July 2013, in which three people died. Another Malaysia Airlines 777, Flight 370(registration 9M-MRO), went missing on 8 March 2014 and was still being searched for at the time of Flight 17’s crash.
Passengers and crew
There were 283 passengers and 15 crew members aboard; all perished. The 15 crew members were all Malaysian. Two thirds of the passengers were from the Netherlands. Authorities initially said there were 295 people on board, having not accounted for three infants. Among the passengers were delegates en route to the 20th International AIDS Conference in Melbourne, including Joep Lange, a former president of the International AIDS Society, which organizes the conference. Also on board was Dutchsenator Willem Witteveen.
Route of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17
Amsterdam Airport Schiphol
Kuala LumpurInternational Airport
Location of crash site, departure and destination airports
The aircraft departed from Amsterdam Airport Schiphol Gate G03 at 12:14 CEST (10:14 UTC). It was due to arrive at Kuala Lumpur International Airport 11 hours and 45 minutes later at 06:00, 18 July MYT(22:00, 17 July UTC). According to Malaysia Airlines, MH17 filed a flight plan requesting to fly at 35,000 feet throughout Ukrainian airspace, but “upon entering Ukrainian airspace, MH17 was instructed by Ukrainian air traffic control to fly at 33,000 feet”. Malaysia Airlines released a statement saying “it received notification from Ukrainian ATC that it had lost contact with flight MH17 at 1415 (GMT)[f] at 30 km (19 mi) from [the] TAMAK waypoint (47°51′24″N 39°13′6″E ), approximately 50 km (31 mi) from theRussia–Ukraine border.” The plane crashed near the village of Hrabove just north of Torez, a city in eastern Ukraine’s Donetsk Oblast, as it was approaching the Russian border. The moment at which a fireball rose due to the impact was captured on a video clip. Flightradar24 reported that a Singapore Airlines Boeing 777-200ER (Flight SQ351) and an Air India Boeing 787-8 (Flight AI113) were each about 25 km (16 mi) away from the Malaysian airliner when it disappeared. Photographs from the site of the crash show scattered pieces of broken fuselage and engine parts, as well as bodies and passports. Some of the wreckage fell close to houses in Hrabove. In the evening on 17 July, the lifenews.ru portal released the following statement “On July 17 near the village of Rassypnoye over the Torez city in Donetsk region an An-26 transport plane of Ukrainian Air Force was taken down, said the militia. According to them, the plane crashed somewhere near the “Progress” mine, away from residential areas. According to one of the militias, at approximately 17:30 local time an An-26 flew over the city. It was hit by a rocket, there was an explosion and the plane went to the ground, leaving a black smoke. Debris fell from the sky”. ITAR-TASS and RIA Novosti had also reported that an An-26 had been shot down by the militia near Torez at around 16:00 local time.
Closure of airspace
As a result of the incident, Ukraine closed all routes in the Eastern Ukraine airspace, at all altitudes. The airspace above Donetsk Oblast had been previously closed by Ukraine on 1 July 2014 below 26,000 feet (7,900 m), and on 14 July 2014 below 32,000 feet (9,800 m). Eurocontrol issued a statement in which it explained that at the time of the crash the MH17 was at Flight Level 330 (33,000 feet or 10,058.4 metres), so the aircraft was above restricted airspace. A few airlines, such as Qantas, Korean Air Lines and British Airways, had already been avoiding the area for a number of months because of security concerns.
On the day of the crash, a meeting was convened in the Trilateral Contact Group (consisting of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), the Ukrainian national government, and Russia). After they had held a video conference with representatives of the Novorossiya rebels (who control the area where the plane crashed), the rebels promised to “provide safe access and security guarantees” to “the national investigation commission” by cooperating with Ukrainian authorities and OSCE monitors. However, on 18 August the militants denied the OSCE team free access to the crash site; after spending only 75 minutes on the site, the team returned to Dontesk. According to National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine, “all evidence being seized” by the militants who “have surrounded the crash site and SES crews work literally at gunpoint”. Off-duty coal miners, along with local police and rescue crews, were assisting in the immediate response to the crash, by combing through debris and searching for survivors. A senior U.S. administration official said to ABC News that FBI and NTSB officials are poised to head to Ukraine in an “advisory role” in the investigation.
Events before the crash
- On 29 June, NTV reported that separatists had access to a Buk after taking control of a Ukrainian air defence base A-1402. On the same day, the Donetsk People’s Republic claimed possession of such a system in a since-deleted tweet.
- On 10 July, shorter-range vehicle-mounted 9K35 Strela-10 missiles were filmed by Russian Lifenews team near Donetsk. On the other hand, high ranking Ukrainian officials have stated that rebels do not possess Buk systems. Ukraine’s foreign minister, Pavlo Klimkin, additionally stated that the Ukraine did not have sophisticated surface-to-air missile systems in the area.
- On 13 July Sergey Kurginyan declared that Buk launchers taken over from Ukrainian army were going to be fixed soon by specialists from Russia.
- On 14 July, a Ukrainian military An-26 transport aircraft was shot down (confirmed to be shot using “Buk”).
- On 16 July, a Ukrainian military Sukhoi Su-25 close air support aircraft was shot down and Ukrainian government officials accused the Russian military of downing the aircraft, but a spokesman for Russia’s Defence Ministry rejected those accusations as absurd.
- On 17 July, an unnamed Associated Press journalist had seen a Buk launcher in Snizhne, a town in the Donetsk Oblast, roughly 10 miles southeast of the crash site. The reporter also saw seven rebel tanks at a filling station near the town.
Hypotheses on cause
Multiple sources cited a post on the VKontakte social networking service that was attributed to Igor Girkin, commander of the pro-Russian Donbass People’s Militia, in which he acknowledged shooting down an aircraft at approximately the same time that the flight was reported to have crashed in eastern Ukraine in the same area near the Russian border. The post specifically referenced how warnings were issued for planes not to fly in their airspace and the downing of an Antonov An-26 which the Ukraine Crisis Media Center suggested was a case of misidentification with MH17. The post was deleted later in the day and the account behind it said that Igor Girkin had no official account on that social network. Ukrainian interior ministry official Anton Gerashchenko stated that the airliner was “shot down with a surface-to-air missile by terrorists”, referring to militants seeking to unite eastern Ukraine with Russia. Later the Ukrainian President stated that Ukrainian authorities “don’t exclude” the possibility that the plane was shot down. This was denied by the rebels, stating that they have no weapons capable of shooting down planes at the height the Malaysian airliner was flying. A defence expert later reported that to shoot down an aircraft at such a high altitude would have required a long-range surface-to-air missile, possibly assisted by radar, or an air-to-air missile from another aircraft. After the MH17 crash, the DNR said on numerous occasions that they “do not have access to weapons able to reach airplane at 10 km”. Just before the MH17 crash, DNR reported having access to a Buk missile system that can fire missiles up to 22,000 metres (72,000 ft), and uses radar guidance for targeting. On 18 July, a Ukrainian newspaper said that a column of three tanks, 2 BTR vehicles and Buk transported on a lorry was photographed near Dmitrovka village. Jane’s Defense Weekly and Defense24.pl stated in their analyses that a Buk missile launcher vehicle without well trained crew or without its support vehicles (command vehicle and acquisition radar vehicle) would have been unable to tell a civilian Boeing 777 from a military AN-26 aircraft, but would still would be able to hit it. Brig. Gen. Kevin Ryan, director of the Defense and Intelligence Project at Harvard University said that without extensive training crews would be unable to hit anything at all. According to The Wall Street Journal, U.S. agencies are divided over whether the plane was downed by the Russian military or by pro-Russia separatists, who may lack the expertise required. Still they insist that, “All roads lead to the Russians to some degree”. On 18 July 2014, U.S. President Barack Obama said in a White House briefing that the missile was fired from a territory controlled by Russian-supported separatists. A source from Russia’s Agency Rosaviatsia said the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine had closed its airspace over eastern Ukraine because of what it called “anti-terrorist operation[s].” Shortly after the crash theInternational Air Transport Association wrote in a statement: “Based on the information currently available it is believed that the airspace that the aircraft was traversing was not subject to restrictions.” The Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) published what they said were wiretaps of separatist commanders reporting that a civilian airliner had been shot down. According to the recording, Flight 17 was shot down by a group of pro-Russian separatists manning a checkpoint near the village of Chornukhine, Luhansk Oblast, some 80 km (50 mi) north-west ofDonetsk. On 18 July, Russian Defence Ministry declared that at the time of the crash “anti-aircraft units of Russian Federation did not operate in that area”. Russia said that Ukrainian Buk-M1 units were located north-west from Donetsk and that Russian units detected their radar activity at the time of the incident. The Ministry also stated that the Ukrainian Buk battery was deployed at a site from which it could have fired a missile at the airliner. DPR representatives made a number of statements, some reporting seeing that a military An-26 transport aircraft was hit, others stating they had no missiles that could reach 10 km altitude and hit an airliner , while LPR representatives said that they had witnessed a Ukrainian aircraft, identified as a Su-25, shoot down the Boeing. Gazeta.ru pointed out that both sides of the conflict, Ukraine and DPR, have Buk missiles capable of reaching 10 km altitude, but that the service ceiling at 5 km of Su-25 aircraft make it impossible for it to shoot down a high altitude airliner.
- Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko vowed support for a Dutch probe into the crash, which he called an act of terrorism. He offered condolences for the air disaster in a telephone conversation with Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte. Ukrainian citizens spontaneously brought flowers to the Dutch and Malaysian embassies in support.
- Malaysian Deputy Foreign Minister Hamzah Zainuddin said that the foreign ministry would be working closely with the Russian and Ukrainian governments with regard to the incident. Prime Minister Najib Razak later said on his statement that “At this stage, however, Malaysia is unable to verify the cause of this tragedy. But we must, and we will, find out precisely what happened to this flight. No stone will be left unturned”. He also added “If it transpires that the plane was indeed shot down, we insist that the perpetrators must swiftly be brought to justice”. The Malaysian government has declared to fly the country national flagat half-mast from 18 July until 21 July.
- Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott said that if the incident was proven to be a shoot-down, it would be a crime and the perpetrators would be brought to justice. The Australian Department of Foreign Affairs said the incident was a huge tragedy and that any Australians who were concerned about family members’ wellbeing should try to contact them directly. It also said it was awaiting confirmation on the number of Australian passengers on board.
- Belgian Prime Minister Elio Di Rupo said “On behalf of the Belgian government, he expressed his sincere condolences to the families and friends of the many victims of the flight of Malaysia Airlines. His thoughts are paying particular to the five Belgian victims, their families. He also spoke of his deep sympathy for the Dutch people and the Dutch authorities, as stood on his statement issued in Friday. Di Rupo wants “full clarity comes over the exact circumstances of this tragedy and those who are responsible should be quickly identified and brought to justice”.
- Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper said that “Canada stands ready to provide whatever support it can to assist authorities in determining the cause of the crash.”
- The Hungarian Ministry of Foreign Affairs said it is important that an independent international body investigate the shooting and name those responsible for “this cowardly and inhumane act”. Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán described the crash as “unusual, rare and shocking”, and added that “a significant influx of refugees from eastern areas of Ukraine has been registered in Transcarpathia. These movements affect the Hungarian community living there as well as Hungary itself”.
- India Prime Minister Narendra Modi said in his Twitter feedback, “Our thoughts & prayers are with the families of those who lost their lives on board Flight MH17. We stand with them in this hour of grief.”
- Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono stated that the aircraft downing is “a violation against international law and the law of war“. He asked that whoever shot down the aircraft be punished unequivocally, and offered to help with the investigation.
- Philippines Deputy Presidential Spokesperson Abigail Valte said in a statement “Malacañang offer our sincerest condolences to the families of all the victims, recognising full well the enormity of their loss. At this difficult time, we stand with them in solidarity as one people and one country”.
- Russian President Vladimir Putin expressed his deepest condolences and his most sincere words of compassion and support to the families and friends of the victims, but said responsibility for the crash rests with “the country in whose airspace the plane was in when it crashed”, and that “the disaster wouldn’t happen if the military action in south-east of Ukraine was not reenabled”.
- British Prime Minister David Cameron described the crash as “an absolutely appalling, shocking, horrific incident”, and stated that “if, as seems possible, this was brought down then those responsible must be brought to account and we must lose no time in doing that”. The United Kingdom has requested an emergency meeting of the United Nations Security Council.
- U.S. President Barack Obama said, “The U.S. will offer any assistance we can to determine what happened and why. As a country our thoughts and prayers are with all the families of the passengers, wherever they call home.” In a press statement, White House spokesman Josh Earnest called for an immediate ceasefire. Vice President Joe Biden said the plane appeared to have been deliberately “blown out of the sky”, and vowed U.S. assistance for the investigation into the crash. U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power stated that the flight “was likely downed by a surface-to-air missile, an SA-11, operated from a separatist-held location in eastern Ukraine,” that the U.S. could not “rule out technical assistance by Russian personnel” in operating the system, and that “Russia must end this war.”
- The UN Security Council was scheduled to hold an emergency meeting on the Ukraine crisis. A British-drafted statement calling for “a full, thorough and independent international investigation” into what caused the crash and stressing the need for “all parties to grant immediate access by investigators to the crash site to determine the cause of the incident” will be discussed.
Airline Aeroflot, Transaero, Air France, Turkish Airlines, Virgin Airlines, Lufthansa and S7 announced their intention to make flights overflew Ukraine. Eurocontrol airspace closed in eastern Ukraine for civil aviation.
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