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BREAKING: Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 ‘shot down’ in Ukraine

17 July 2014

4:39 PM

17 July 2014

4:39 PM

There are reports from Russian agency Interfax that a passenger airliner, believed to be Malaysia Airlines flight MH17, has been ‘shot down’ in eastern Ukraine by a ground-to-air missile, 50km away from Russian airspace. 295 passengers and crew are reported to have been killed.

Malaysia Airlines confirms that it lost contact with flight MH17, from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur, in Ukrainian airspace.

Reuters reports that burning wreckage and corpses have been found in eastern Ukraine. Russia Life news reports that Dutch and Malaysian passports have been found on the bodies of the dead.

The Ukrainian Interior ministry says that the missile was fired by separatists, and deny categorically that government forces were involved. The Russian government, meanwhile, has denied its involvement.

Suspected crash site of MH17

Suspected crash site of MH17


BBC Monitoring says that, moments before news of this incident was reported, some separatists claimed that they had downed a Ukrainian plane. Several websites (see here and here) appear to confirm this account.

The alleged missile in question, a ‘Soviet-era’ BUK systems (SA11 & 17), is reportedly used by both the Ukrainian and the Russian militaries. Carl Bildt, the Swedish foreign minister, has said:


Pro-Russian separatists deny that they are responsible and have pointed the finger at the Ukrainian government, according to reports.

President Putin and President Obama have spoken over the telephone about the incident.


More details as we get them.

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Show comments
  • scallywag

    Screenshots floating around the Russian-language internet (now deleted) from the Facebook page of Igor Strelkov, a rebel leader in eastern Ukraine, depict posts of plumes of smoke and bragging about shooting down a Ukrainian military Antonov plane shortly before MH17 fell.

    ‘Don’t fly in our skies,’ he wrote. If true, it would seem rebels downed the jetliner, having mistaken it for a Ukrainian military jet.

    Now the question is what can Russia’s President Vladimir Putin do to rein in pro Russian militants inside Kiev as he continues to lose his rein on them and what is the US prepared to do to rein in Putin…?

  • JoeDM

    BBC News have been putting the blame on ‘pro-Russia’ Ukraine separatists on the basis of unconfirmed tweet reports !!!!

    They may be right, but Sky News have been much more balanced given the uncertainty involved.

    • Span Ows

      No surprise there. BBC seem to have 10x more staff than everyone else and still fail.

  • swatnan

    I wouldn’t be surprised if there is a link between MH 17 and MH370 which disappeared a few months ago. I have a feeling that it too was shot down by a communist power not a million miles away from Malayasia. But they covered it up and didn’t have the guts to admit it. Now we know.

  • Radford_NG

    The BUK is a damned big unit.How likely is it the Russian Defence Force is going to hand it over to an untrained militia?Such a unit should be capable of being observed by satellite.~~~~Why are we hearing no talk of a bomb on board;with all alarms there are are around.

    • starfish

      They may have liberated it from the ukranian regular forces. Doesn’t explain how they operated it unless they have ex regulars in their forces

      I think putin will be well pi $$ ed

      • Radford_NG

        Does now seem possible a BUK unit was captured from the Ukranian Defence Forces.

  • beenzrgud

    Hmmm, did Russia give some numpty a big missile to play with ?!?

  • Darnell Jackson

    Unbelievable, I’m flying this route with KLM in October.

    • Span Ows

      So’s my boss next week…maybe not now!

      • starfish

        Best go west about!

    • Terry Field

      Assisted dying???

      • Darnell Jackson

        Hopefully not.

  • Alexsandr

    why on earth is anyone flying commercial flights over Ukraine?

    • El_Sid

      According to Twitter, the existing Notice to Airmen didn’t cover this particular bit of Ukraine.

      Also according to Twitter, it was at 30,000ft which means it must have been something more than just a Stinger/Igla-style man-portable missile, it was either a “proper” SAM like Buk or air-to-air. The fact that the rebels appear to have thought that they had shot down a Ukrainian transport plane, suggests it was them.

      • Span Ows

        but the rebel reports were of a transport plane (with turboprops) which presumably would be easily identifiable and at a completely different height – lots needs clarifying still.

      • Jackthesmilingblack

        10,000 metres is rather higher than 30,000 feet. Clue there?

        • El_Sid

          30,000ft or 33,000ft, it’s not a material difference in this context. A man-portable SAM has a ceiling of about a third of that, it would have to be a “proper” SAM like Buk, or air-to-air.

  • Tony_E

    Well seeing as the Ukrainian rebel forces don’t have planes, it’s unlikely that the state forces have accidentally shot down this airliner.

    So the big question is ‘which side of the border did the missile come from?’ and what will be Malaysia’s response.

  • JimHHalpert

    Please get your terminology right: it’s not a tragedy, it’s an atrocity.

    • Kitty MLB

      Indeed it is and we must think of all those people who
      were murdered. It seems most of the world is in a state
      of apocalyptic terror at present.

      • Ricky Strong

        Also seems like the world is growing immune to such acts of violence, it has become normalised these days.

        • Terry Field

          ‘normalised’ is bad english.

          • Ricky Strong

            Please accept my most sincere apologies for this honest mistake. I do endeavour to both speak and write with an acceptable standard of English but clearly this time I have failed. It is most kind of you to take the time out of your day to correct me. Perhaps if I really work harder I could one day be as intelligent and perfect as yourself – no doubt a role model for those who are blessed to have met such an extraordinary caring and considerate man. If only there were more people like you around we could perhaps be looking to a brighter future.

            • Terry Field

              I accept your grovelling apology.
              A continued attitude of adoration MAY save you, depending upon my mercy.
              I can be fickle.

    • Jackthesmilingblack

      In fact it’s a terrorist act.

  • The Don of Ghazaliya