Photos of the MH17 crash site after jet was shot down over Ukraine
A Malaysia Airlines jet carrying 298 people crashed Thursday in Ukraine, near the Russian border. According to senior U.S. officials, the passenger plane was shot down by a surface-to-air missile over the disputed Donetsk region of the country, where pro-Russian separatists have for months been fighting Ukrainian security forces.
Secretary of State John Kerry said on Sunday that “it’s pretty clear” that Russia supplied the separatists in Ukraine with the weapon, laying out evidence from US intelligence and social media linking the separatists to the attack.
“We know with confidence—with confidence—that the Ukrainians did not have such a system anywhere near the vicinity at that point and time. So it obviously points a very clear finger at the separatists,” he said on CNN.
Flight 17 was almost three hours into an over 11 hour flight from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur when the Boeing 777 came down. All 283 passengers and 15 crew are believed dead. At least one American citizen is believed to have been killed on the flight.
Pro-Russian separatists denied responsibility for the crash. But Anton Gerashenk, an adviser to Ukraine’s interior minister, wrote on his Facebook page that the plane was downed by a Russian surface-to-air missile known as a Buk, which can strike targets far above Flight 17’s last reported altitude of 33,000 feet.
The separatist rebels have reportedly taken custody of the bodies at the crash site, according to Ukrainian officials.
David Taintor, Joy Y. Wang, and Suzy Khimm contributed to this story.