Malaysian airliner was shot down by pro-Russian militants, Ukraine says

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GRABOVO Ukraine (Reuters) – A Malaysian airliner shot down over eastern Ukraine by pro-Russian on Thursday, killing all 295 people aboard, a Ukrainian interior official said. Raising the stakes in the East-West showdown between Kiev and Moscow, the official blamed “terrorists” using a ground-to-air missile and Ukraine’s prime minister called the downing of the flight from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur a “catastrophe”. A Reuters correspondent saw burning wreckage and bodies on the ground at the village of Grabovo, about 40 km (25 miles) from the Russian border in an area where pro-Russian rebels have been active and have claimed to have shot down other aircraft. The Boeing 777 came down near the city of Donetsk, stronghold of pro-Russian rebels, interior official Anton Gerashchenko said on , adding “shot down a Buk anti-aircraft system by terrorists” – the term the Kiev uses for seeking to unite eastern Ukraine Russia. The dead were 280 passengers and 15 crew. Malaysia Airlines said on its Twitter feed had lost contact its flight MH-17 from Amsterdam. “The last known position over Ukrainian air space,” said. [eap_ad_1] A rebel said Ukrainian forces shot the airliner down. Ukrainian official said military was not involved. Interfax-Ukraine quoted another Ukrainian official as saying the disappeared from radar when was flying at 10,000 metres (33,000 feet), a typical cruising altitude for airliners. Ukraine has accused Russia of taking an active role in the four-month-old conflict in recent days and accused earlier on Thursday of shooting down a Ukrainian Sukhoi Su-25 fighter jet – an accusation Moscow denied. The military commander of the rebels, a Russian named Igor Strelkov, had written on his media page shortly before the report of the airliner being downed his forces had brought down an Antonov An-26 in the same area. is a turboprop of a type used by Ukraine’s forces. [eap_ad_4]