A Malaysia Airlines jet with 295 people on board crashed in Ukraine near the Russian border on Thursday, according to the Interfax news agency and an adviser to Ukraine's interior minister. The reports could not immediately be confirmed by NBC News, but Malaysia Airlines said on its Twitter account that it had lost contact with an aircraft, Flight 17 from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur.
The adviser, Anton Gerashenko, said on his Facebook page that the plane was flying at 33,000 feet when it was hit by a missile fired from a launcher known as a Buk. A similar launcher was seen by Associated Press journalists near the eastern Ukrainian town of Snizhne earlier Thursday. Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak said on Twitter: "I am shocked by reports that an MH plane crashed. We are launching an immediate investigation." The Malaysian defense minister, Hishammuddin Hussein, said that there was no confirmation that the plane had been shot down. He said on Twitter that the Malaysian military had been instructed to "get on it." Evan Kohlmann, an NBC News terrorism analyst, said that shooting down a 777 at 33,000 feet would require "access to serious military equipment."