A Malaysia Airlines passenger plane was shot down over Ukraine on Thursday, killing all 295 people aboard. The plane was on its way from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur.
Anton Gerashenko, an adviser to Ukraine’s Interior Minister, wrote on Facebook that the plane was hit by a missile fired from a Buk launcher over the country’s east. U.S. officials told NBC News that the plane was shot down by a surface-to-air missile, and that intelligence analysts “were trying to determine who launched the missile.”
Although Ukraine blamed pro-Russian militants for shooting down the plane, separatist leader Oleg Tsarev denied the accusations. “We don’t have weapons that can take down a plane from that altitude,” Tsarev told TIME. Business Insider explains that despite Tsarev’s denials, the rebels reportedly had such weapons and have recently taken down multiple Ukrainian military aircraft. The New Republic’s Julia Ioffe notes, “An hour before #MH17 went down, separatists were bragging about downing a Ukrainian military plane.”
Malaysia Airlines confirmed it had lost contact with flight MH17 and that its last position was over Ukrainian airspace.
A Russian aviation industry source told Reuters that the plane did not enter Russian airspace when expected. Russian radio reports that the plane’s black box has been sent to Moscow “for investigation,” according to The Daily Beast.
Ukraine’s east has seen heavy fighting between the country’s military and separatists in recent days. Earlier on Thursday, the Ukrainian military claimed Russian jets had shot down a Ukrainian warplane late Wednesday night.
– The Huffington Post