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Malaysian airliner crashes in Ukraine

Update: July, 18/2014 - 09:32

A Malaysian airliner flying from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur has crashed in east Ukraine, where pro-Russian militants are battling government forces, Russian and Ukrainian news agencies reported, citing aviation and security sources.— Photo Reuters

KIEV (VNS) — A Malaysian airliner flying from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur has crashed in east Ukraine, where pro-Russian militants are battling government forces, Russian and Ukrainian news agencies reported, citing aviation and security sources.

The Boeing passenger liner came down close to town of Shaktarsk in the rebellion-wracked region of Donetsk after disappearing from the radar and teams from the emergency services were trying to reach the scene, an unnamed security source told Interfax-Ukraine news agency.

The airliner may have been shot down, Ukraine President Petro Poroshenko said.

"We do not exclude that the plane was shot down and confirm that the Ukraine Armed Forces did not fire at any targets in the sky," Poroshenko said in a statement posted on his website.

Russian news agency Itar-Tass cited an unnamed source at Ukraine's aviation authority as saying that all 280 passengers and 15 crew members on board the plane had died.

Militia leaders told Russian news agencies that they were not responsible for shooting down the plane and pledged to allow "international experts" access to the crash site.

Photo AP

The Boeing passenger liner flying from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur came down close to town of Shaktarsk in the rebellion-wracked region of Donetsk, local authorities said.

Meanwhile, Malaysia Airlines said yesterday it had "lost contact" with one of its passenger planes over eastern Ukraine, amid speculation it had been shot down.

"Malaysia Airlines has lost contact of MH17 from Amsterdam," the airline, still reeling from the disappearance of flight MH370, said on its Twitter account.

"The last known position was over Ukrainian airspace," it said, adding that it would provide more details soon.

The plane was due to travel from Amsterdam on an overnight flight to Kuala Lumpur, and was expected in the Malaysian capital at around 6:00 am on Friday (2200 GMT Thursday).

Malaysia Airlines did not immediately specify the type of aircraft involved or how many passengers were aboard.

"I am shocked by reports that an MH plane crashed," Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak said on his Twitter feed. "We are launching an immediate investigation." — AFP

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