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Official: Malaysian Plane Shot Down Over Ukraine

July 17, 2014, 10:42 AM
Updated: July 17, 2014, 7:35 PM

Official: Malaysian Plane Shot Down Over Ukraine

UPDATED 7:35 P.M.:
Russian President Vladmir Putin says Ukraine bears responsibility for the crash of a Malaysian airliner.

A Kremlin statement early Friday said Putin opened a meeting with his economic advisers by calling for a moment of silence over the crash.

Then, he said, "This tragedy would not have happened if there were peace on this land, if the military actions had not been renewed in southeast Ukraine. And, certainly, the state over whose territory this occurred bears responsibility for this awful tragedy."

UPDATED 3:38 P.M.:
Ukraine's security services produced what they said were two intercepted telephone conversations that they said showed rebels were responsible for downing a Malaysian airliner.

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 Thursday.

In the second, two rebel fighters - one of them at the scene of the crash - say the rocket attack was carried out by a unit of insurgents about 25 kilometers  (15 miles) north of the crash site.

Neither recording could be independently verified.

One of the fighters, who states he is at the site of where the plane came to the ground, describes seeing scattered debris. He later describes finding the documents of somebody he identifies as an Indonesian national studying at "Thompson University."

UPDATED 2:45 P.M.:
A Russian news agency has quoted a leader of eastern Ukraine's pro-Russia rebels as saying they intend to call a three-day cease fire to allow an investigation of the crash of a Malaysian airliner.

The RIA-Novosti agency on Thursday quoted rebel leader Alexander Borodai as saying discussions were underway with Ukrainian authorities on calling the short truce for humanitarian reasons.

He said international organizations would be allowed into the conflict-plagued region.

UPDATED 1:21 P.M.:
An Associated Press journalist has counted at least 22 bodies at the plane wreckage site in eastern Ukraine involving a Malaysia Airlines commercial flight.

The plane appeared to have broken up before impact and the wreck is scattered over a wide area in the eastern Ukraine village of Grabovo.

The field around the burning wreck was strewn with body parts and the belongings of the passengers Thursday.

Malaysia Airlines has said 295 people were aboard the flight from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur.

UPDATED 1:02 P.M.:
The Federal Aviation Administration had warned U.S. pilots earlier this year not to fly over portions of the Ukraine in the Crimea region, according to notices posted on the agency's website.

The notices were posted on April 23. The U.N.'s International Civil Aviation Organization and the aviation authorities in most countries issue similar notices for areas where unrest or military conflict creates a risk of being shot down.

The FAA had not issued any new warnings Thursday in the immediate aftermath of reports that a Malaysian airliner had been shot down over the Ukraine.

UPDATED 11:35 A.M.:
President Barack Obama is asking his advisers to keep him updated on reports of a plane shot down over Ukraine. But the White House says it can't confirm the reports.

White House press secretary Josh Earnest told reporters Thursday that Obama spoke to Russian President Vladimir Putin before leaving on a trip to Delaware and New York. But Earnest could not say whether it was before or after Obama was aware of reports that the plane was shot down.

An adviser to Ukraine's interior minister says a passenger plane carrying 295 people was shot down near the Russian border. Malaysian Airlines said it lost contact with one of its flights over Ukrainian airspace.

Earnest says Putin requested the call  to discuss new sanctions imposed on Russia Wednesday.

10:44 A.M.:
An adviser to Ukraine's Interior Minister says a Malaysian passenger plane carrying 295 people has been shot down over a town in the east of the country.

Anton Gerashenko says on his Facebook page the plane was flying at an altitude of 10,000 meters (33,000 feet) when it was hit Thursday by a missile fired from a Buk launcher.

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

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