A Malaysian airliner carrying 295 persons has crashed in eastern Ukraine earlier today. There were no survivors.
The circumstances of the crash are still unclear but the preponderance of early reports indicate that it was shot down by a surface to air missile. Via Reuters
A Malaysian airliner was shot down over eastern Ukraine by militants on Thursday, killing all 295 people aboard, a Ukrainian interior ministry official was quoted as saying by Interfax-Ukraine news agency.
The aircraft, which other sources said was a Boeing 777 flying from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur, came down near the city of Donetsk, stronghold of pro-Russian rebels, Anton Gerashchenko said, adding that it was hit by a ground-to-air missile.
There was no further confirmation of the report, although Ukrainian officials said local residents had found wreckage.
Malaysia Airlines said on its Twitter feed it had lost contact with its flight MH-17 from Amsterdam. “The last known position was over Ukrainian airspace,” it said.
Gerashchenko was quoted as saying: “A civilian airliner travelling from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur has just been shot down by a Buk anti-aircraft system … 280 passengers and 15 crew have been killed.”
Again this is an early report and the source has a vested interest in this being a shoot-down but this would not be the first time. Last month a Ukrainian military transport was shot down in the same region
A Ukrainian military plane with at least 49 passengers was shot down overnight Friday, a source said, making it the latest and likely one of the bloodiest single events in that nation’s current period of turmoil.
The Ilyushin-76 military transport plane went down while approaching an airport in the eastern Ukrainian city of Luhansk, a source with the Ukrainian Anti-Terror Operation of the Ukrainian military forces told CNN.
It was not immediately clear how many of those aboard died or survived.
The incident came hours after Ukraine’s Kiev-based government — which is trying to regain control of the country’s restive south and east — deemed successful an operation targeting pro-Russian separatists in the city of Mariupol.
The Russian-backed rebels in eastern Ukraine have the necessary weaponry to carry out the shootdown and the demonstrated lack of discipline to make the story plausible. Adding to this is a tweet from the pro-Russian commander “Strelkov,” again sourced via the Ukraine defense ministry, that seems to take responsibility for the shootdown.