MH17: Ukraine fighter jets shot down close to crash site

The military aircraft were reportedly downed just 20 miles from where the Malaysia Airlines flight crashed

Ukraine has accused rebels of shooting down two fighter jets on Wednesday close to where the Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 crashed, killing all 298 passengers on board.

A spokesman for Ukraine's military operations told Reuters the planes were hit near Savur Mogila, a burial mound in the Shaktersky region where a memorial marks ambushes by the Soviet army on occupying Nazis during World War Two.

But a separate statement from Ukraine's Security Council on Wednesday said preliminary information suggested the missiles had been fired from Russia. Moscow has not responded to the claim.

"Two of our jets were hit at an altitude of 5,200 metres. According to preliminary information, the missiles were launched from the territory of the Russian Federation," the council said.

The military jets were downed just 35 km (20 miles) from the MH17 crash site in the village of Grabovo in eastern Ukraine.

The fate of the pilots and any crew remains unknown.

The separatist Donetsk People's Republic said in a statement on its website that one of the pilots was killed and another was being sought by rebel fighters.

Fighting has continued in the Donetsk region between Ukrainian forces and pro-Russian separatists after the air disaster.

Local health officials said hundreds had been killed and over one thousand wounded since hostilities started in eastern Ukraine earlier this year.

It comes as the first bodies recovered from the crash site began their long journey into the Netherlands to begin the process of identification.

The bodies are being transported to Eindhoven Airport where they will be met by King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima, the Prime Minister Mark Rutte and relatives at 4pm local time. Dutch government spokesman Lodewijk Hekking said the planes carried 40 coffins in all.

Video: MH17 bodies arrive in the Netherlands
Read more: What are the 'black boxes' and what could they reveal?

The  Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) confirmed today the black boxes recovered from the crash site have arrived in Britain and handed to investigators.

The AAIB said the flight recorders have been delivered to their headquarters in Farnborough, Hampshire on Wednesday, where experts will attempt to retrieve crucial data from them.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Cabinet Maker / Joiner

£22000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This bespoke furniture and inte...

Recruitment Genius: Graphic and Motion Designer

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: Do you get a buzz from thinking up new ideas a...

Recruitment Genius: Media Telesales Executive - OTE £25,000

£14500 - £16000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join ...

Recruitment Genius: Female Care Worker

£7 - £8 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This expanding, vibrant charity which su...

Day In a Page

Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
Britain's 24-hour culture: With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever

Britain's 24-hour culture

With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
Diplomacy board game: Treachery is the way to win - which makes it just like the real thing

The addictive nature of Diplomacy

Bullying, betrayal, aggression – it may be just a board game, but the family that plays Diplomacy may never look at each other in the same way again
Lady Chatterley's Lover: Racy underwear for fans of DH Lawrence's equally racy tome

Fashion: Ooh, Lady Chatterley!

Take inspiration from DH Lawrence's racy tome with equally racy underwear
8 best children's clocks

Tick-tock: 8 best children's clocks

Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
Charlie Austin: Queens Park Rangers striker says ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

Charlie Austin: ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

After hitting 18 goals in the Premier League last season, the QPR striker was the great non-deal of transfer deadline day. But he says he'd preferred another shot at promotion
Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

The Arab Spring reversed

Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

Who is Oliver Bonas?

It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

60 years of Scalextric

Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones