Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 crash: Ukraine rebels deny 'shooting down' passenger plane on Russian border

Donetsk People's Republic PM says incident is a 'provocation by the Ukrainian military'

Ukrainian rebels have denied any involvement in the ‘shooting down’ of a Malaysian passenger aircraft near the Russian border in eastern Ukraine in which 295 people are reported to have been killed.

The commercial Boeing airliner was flying from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur when it disappeared from radar, sources told the Interfax news agency.

According to Anton Gerashenko, an adviser to Ukraine’s Interior Minister, Flight MH17 was flying at an altitude of 33,000 feet over eastern Ukraine when it was hit by a missile fired from a Buk launcher.

Donetsk People's Republic PM Aleksandr Boroday has rejected any aggression by the rebels, who are backed by Russia, and called the incident a “provocation by the Ukrainian military”.

“We confirm that the plane crashed not far from Donetsk,” Boroday said. “Representatives of Donetsk People's Republic have headed to the scene of the plane search.”

 

“Self-defense forces have no air-defence, which could target transport aircraft at that height,” he told Interfax.

The Ukraine president, Petro Poroshenko, said his forces had also had no involvement: “Armed Forces of Ukraine did not take action against any airborne targets”.

Russia’s military has also said that none of its military planes have been flying close to the Russia-Ukraine border on Thursday, RIA Novosti reported citing a military official.

The Interfax report said the plane came down 50 km (20 miles) short of entering Russian airspace. It “began to drop, afterwards it was found burning on the ground on Ukrainian territory,” the unnamed source said.

There were 280 passengers and 15 crew members on board the jet.

Malaysia Airlines posted a tweet on its official account confirming that it had “lost contact of MH17 from Amsterdam”.

“The last known position was over Ukrainian airspace. More details to follow,” it tweeted at 4.36pm GMT.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: 3rd Line Virtualisation, Windows & Server Engineer

£40000 - £47000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A 3rd Line Virtualisation / Sto...

Recruitment Genius: Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Service Engineer

£26000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A successful national service f...

Recruitment Genius: Business Development Executive / Sales - OTE £25,000

£15000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join ...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator - Fixed Term Contract

£17500 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: We currently require an experie...

Day In a Page

Sepp Blatter resignation: The beginning of Fifa's long road to reform?

Does Blatter's departure mean Fifa will automatically clean up its act?

Don't bet on it, says Tom Peck
Charles Kennedy: The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

Charles Kennedy was consistently a man of the centre-left, dedicated to social justice, but was also a champion of liberty and an opponent of the nanny-state, says Baroness Williams
Syria civil war: The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of this endless conflict

The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of Syria's endless civil war

Sahar Qanbar lost her mother and brother as civilians and government soldiers fought side by side after being surrounded by brutal Islamist fighters. Robert Fisk visited her
The future of songwriting: How streaming is changing everything we know about making music

The future of songwriting

How streaming is changing everything we know about making music
William Shemin and Henry Johnson: Jewish and black soldiers receive World War I Medal of Honor amid claims of discrimination

Recognition at long last

Jewish and black soldiers who fought in WWI finally receive medals after claims of discrimination
Beating obesity: The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters

Beating obesity

The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters
9 best women's festival waterproofs

Ready for rain: 9 best women's festival waterproofs

These are the macs to keep your denim dry and your hair frizz-free(ish)
Cycling World Hour Record: Nervous Sir Bradley Wiggins ready for pain as he prepares to go distance

Wiggins worried

Nervous Sir Bradley ready for pain as he prepares to attempt cycling's World Hour Record
Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Reds baulk at Christian Benteke £32.5m release clause
On your feet! Spending at least two hours a day standing reduces the risk of heart attacks, cancer and diabetes, according to new research

On your feet!

Spending half the day standing 'reduces risk of heart attacks and cancer'
With scores of surgeries closing, what hope is there for the David Cameron's promise of 5,000 more GPs and a 24/7 NHS?

The big NHS question

Why are there so few new GPs when so many want to study medicine?
Big knickers are back: Thongs ain't what they used to be

Thongs ain't what they used to be

Big knickers are back
Thurston Moore interview

Thurston Moore interview

On living in London, Sonic Youth and musical memoirs
In full bloom

In full bloom

Floral print womenswear
From leading man to Elephant Man, Bradley Cooper is terrific

From leading man to Elephant Man

Bradley Cooper is terrific