A Boeing 777 plane said to be carrying over 280 passengers and 15 crew members has reportedly been shot down in Ukraine near the Russian border on July 17.
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Reports claim that Malaysian Airlines Tweeted that it lost contact with one of its flights over Ukrainian airspace, but Anton Gerashenko, an adviser to Ukraine’s Interior Minister, said on Facebook that the plane was flying at an altitude of 33,000 feet when it was hit by a missile fired from a Buk launcher.
Ukraine’s president Petro Poroshenko says Malaysian armed forces did not shoot at any airborne targets. “‘We are sure that those who are guilty in this tragedy will be held responsible,” Poroshenko says. “We do not exclude that this plane was shot down, and we stress that the Armed Forces of Ukraine did not take action against any airborne targets.’’ The plane reportedly came down just 20 miles short of entering Russian airspace near the town of Shakhtyorsk, in an area where the Ukrainian government has been fighting pro-Russian rebels.
The government of Ukraine said in a statement Thursday afternoon that it has evidence that the Russian military was involved in the crash.”The plane was shot down, because the Russian air defense systems was affording protection to Russian mercenaries and terrorists in this area,” the statement said.
The flight was heading from Amsterdam Airport Schiphol, the main international airport in the Netherlands, to Kuala Lumpur International Airport outside Kuala Lumpur, the most populous city of Malaysia. It’s been a little more than four months since the infamous Malaysian flight 370 disappeared on a flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing and completely lost contact with air traffic control an hour after taking off. The search efforts have become the most expensive in history, involving multiple governments and expanding to more than 60,000 square miles.