Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 1 February 2015

Malaysia Airlines crash: Russian military commander and rebel fighters 'heard discussing' MH17 plane in 'audio recording' released by Ukraine Security Service

Fighter reportedly says: "They were bringing in spies, I don't know... There's a war going on. F***."

A pro-Russian fighter holds up a toy found among the debris at the crash site of a Malaysia Airlines jet near the village of Hrabove, Friday, July 18, 2014. Emergency workers, police officers and even off-duty coal miners spread out Friday across the sunflower fields and villages of eastern Ukraine, searching the wreckage of a Malaysia Airlines jet shot down as it flew high above the country's battlefield. The attack Thursday afternoon killed 298 people from nearly a dozen nations. (AP Photo/Dmitry Lovetsky)
A pro-Russian fighter holds up a toy found among the debris at the crash site of a Malaysia Airlines jet near the village of Hrabove, Friday, July 18, 2014. Emergency workers, police officers and even off-duty coal miners spread out Friday across the sunflower fields and villages of eastern Ukraine, searching the wreckage of a Malaysia Airlines jet shot down as it flew high above the country's battlefield. The attack Thursday afternoon killed 298 people from nearly a dozen nations. (AP Photo/Dmitry Lovetsky)
People arrange candles to offer prayers for the victims of the Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, at a shopping mall in Petaling Jaya, near Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Friday, July 18, 2014. The Malaysia Airlines jetliner was carrying 298 people when it was shot down over eastern Ukraine on Thursday in eastern Ukraine, sending shockwaves around the world from Malaysia to the Netherlands. (AP Photo/Joshua Paul)
In this October 2008 photo provided by AMC Amsterdam on Friday, July 18, 2014, former president of the International AIDS Society Joep Lange is seen. A large number of world-renowned AIDS researchers and activists heading to an international AIDS conference in Australia were on board a Malaysian jetliner that was shot down over Ukraine, officials said Friday, as news of their deaths sparked an outpouring of grief across the global scientific community. Among them was Joep Lange, a well-known researcher from the Netherlands (AP Photo/Peter Lowie/AMC)
In this undated photo provided by Amsterdam student rowing club Skoll on Saturday, July 19, 2014, Karlijn Keijzer, left, a 25-year-old Dutch graduate student at Indiana University, and her boyfriend Laurens van der Graaff, right, are seen. Keijzer and van der Graaff were among those killed when a Malaysian jetliner was shot down over Ukraine on Thursday, July 17, 2014. Flight 17 from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur was carrying 298 people from 13 nations when it was shot down Thursday in eastern Ukraine close to the Russian border, an area that has seen months of clashes between government troops and pro-Russia separatists. (AP Photo/Amsterdam student rowing club Skoll)
This undated photo provided by Indiana University on Friday, July 18, 2014 shows Karlijn Keijzer. The university says the 25-year-old graduate student from the Netherlands is among those killed when a Malaysian jetliner was shot down over Ukraine Thursday, en route from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur. She was on summer vacation at the time of the crash. (AP Photo/Indiana University)
Alexander Hug, deputy head of the OSCE mission, looks at debris at the crash site of a Malaysia Airlines jet near the village of Hrabove, eastern Ukraine, Friday, July 18, 2014. Representatives from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe and four Ukrainian experts had traveled into rebel-controlled areas to begin an investigation into the attack that killed 298 people from nearly a dozen nations. The militia allowed them to look at part of the crash site, but refused to let them view the area where the engines came down. (AP Photo/Evgeniy Maloletka)
A Pro-Russian fighter stands guard at the site of a crashed Malaysia Airlines passenger plane near the village of Hrabove, Ukraine, eastern Ukraine Friday, July 18, 2014. Rescue workers, policemen and even off-duty coal miners were combing a sprawling area in eastern Ukraine near the Russian border where the Malaysian plane ended up in burning pieces Thursday, killing all 298 aboard. (AP Photo/Dmitry Lovetsky)
Widi Yuwono, the brother of Yuli Hastini, rear, holds a photograph of his sister's family, showing Hastini, right, her Dutch husband John Paulissen, left, and their two children, Arjun and Sri, who were on Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, Friday, July 18, 2014, at his residence in Solo, Central Java, Indonesia. The Malaysian jetliner that went down in war-torn Ukraine did not make any distress call, Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak said Friday, adding that its flight route had been declared safe by the global civil aviation body. (AP Photo)
This is an undated photo provided by PharmAccess Group, of the head of communications at Amsterdam Institute for Global Health and Development, Jacqueline van Tongeren. Researchers and activists heading to an AIDS conference in Australia were on the Malaysian jetliner shot down over Ukraine, news that sparked an outpouring of grief across the scientific community. (AP Photo/PharmAccess, Maaike Danz)
Undated family handout photo of Robert Ayley with his wife Sharlene, Robert died on board flight MH17 which was shot down over the Ukraine as it travelled from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur
Undated family handout photo of Liam Sweeney (right) on holiday in Benidorm three years ago with his dad Barry. Liam who died on board flight MH17 which was shot down over the Ukraine yesterday as it travelled from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur
Undated handout photo issued by the World Health Organization of Glenn Thomas who died on board flight MH17 which was shot down over the Ukraine yesterday as it travelled from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur
Undated handout photo issued of John Alder who died on board flight MH17 which was shot down over the Ukraine yesterday as it travelled from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur
KIEV, UKRAINE - JULY 19: People place flowers, candles and other tributes in front of the Netherlands Embassy in memory of the victims of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 on July 19, 2014 in Kiev, Ukraine. Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 was travelling from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur when it crashed killing all 298 on board including 80 children. The aircraft was allegedly shot down by a missile and investigations continue over the perpetrators of the attack. (Photo by Rob Stothard/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 18: U.S. President Barack Obama answers questions after delivering a statement on the Malaysia Airlines crash over eastern Ukraine in the Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House July 18, 2014 in Washington, DC. Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 travelling from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur was allegedly shot down July 17 on the Ukraine/Russia border near the town of Shaktersk. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images) *** BESTPIX ***
People walk amongst the debris at the crash site of a passenger plane near the village of Grabovo, Ukraine, Thursday, July 17, 2014. (AP Photo/Dmitry Lovetsky)
A piece of a plane with the sign "Malaysia Airlines" lies in the grass as a group of Ukrainian coal miners search the site of a crashed Malaysian passenger plane near the village of Rozsypne, Ukraine, eastern Ukraine Friday, July 18, 2014. Rescue workers, policemen and even off-duty coal miners were combing a sprawling area in eastern Ukraine near the Russian border where the Malaysian plane ended up in burning pieces Thursday, killing all 298 aboard. (AP Photo/Dmitry Lovetsky)
This image taken from video, Thursday July 17, 2014, shows a guidebook found in the wreckage of a passenger plane after it was shot down Thursday as it flew over Ukraine, near the village of Hrabove, in eastern Ukraine. Malaysia Airlines tweeted that it lost contact with one of its flights as it was traveling from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur over Ukrainian airspace. (AP Photo/Channel 1)
A woman walks past a body covered with a plastic sheet near the site of a crashed Malaysia Airlines passenger plane near the village of Rozsypne, Ukraine, eastern Ukraine Friday, July 18, 2014. Rescue workers, policemen and even off-duty coal miners were combing a sprawling area in eastern Ukraine near the Russian border where the Malaysian plane ended up in burning pieces Thursday, killing all 298 aboard. (AP Photo/Dmitry Lovetsky)
Ukrainian coal miners wade through a field of sunflowers as they search the site of a crashed Malaysia Airlines passenger plane near the village of Rozsypne, Ukraine, eastern Ukraine Friday, July 18, 2014. Rescue workers, policemen and even off-duty coal miners were combing a sprawling area in eastern Ukraine near the Russian border where the Malaysian plane ended up in burning pieces Thursday, killing all 298 aboard. (AP Photo/Dmitry Lovetsky)
A watch and a part of bracelet lie on a plastic cover at the site of a crashed Malaysia Airlines passenger plane near the village of Rozsypne, Ukraine, eastern Ukraine Friday, July 18, 2014. Rescue workers, policemen and even off-duty coal miners were combing a sprawling area in eastern Ukraine near the Russian border where the Malaysian plane ended up in burning pieces Thursday, killing all 298 aboard. (AP Photo/Dmitry Lovetsky)
Relatives of passengers aboard the Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 react as they arrive at Kuala Lumpur International Airport in Sepang, Malaysia, Friday, July 18, 2014. The Malaysia Airlines jetliner that went down in war-torn Ukraine did not make any distress call, Malaysia's prime minister said Friday, adding that its flight route had been declared safe by the global civil aviation body. (AP Photo)
This image taken from video, Thursday July 17, 2014, shows a suitcase found in the wreckage of a passenger plane carrying 295 people after it was shot down Thursday as it flew over Ukraine, near the village of Hrabove, in eastern Ukraine. Malaysia Airlines tweeted that it lost contact with one of its flights as it was traveling from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur over Ukrainian airspace. (AP Photo/Channel 1)
A man walks amongst the debris at the crash site of a passenger plane near the village of Hrabove, Ukraine, Thursday, July 17, 2014. Ukraine said a passenger plane was shot down Thursday as it flew over the country, and both the government and the pro-Russia separatists fighting in the region denied any responsibility for downing the plane. (AP Photo/Dmitry Lovetsky)
In this photo taken on Thursday, July 17, 2014, Russian President Vladimir Putin, right, speaks to Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev after a moment of silence mourning the victims killed in the Malaysia Airlines plane crash on Thursday, July 17, in Donetsk region of Ukraine prior a meeting at the Novo-Ogaryovo residence outside Moscow. (AP Photo/RIA-Novosti, Alexei Druzhinin, Presidential Press Service)
Malaysian Transport Minister Liow Tiong Lai, center, speaks during a press conference about a crashed Malaysian passenger plane at a hotel next to Kuala Lumpur International Airport in Sepang, Malaysia, Friday, July 18, 2014. The Malaysia Airlines jetliner that went down in war-torn Ukraine did not make any distress call, Malaysia's prime minister said Friday, adding that its flight route had been declared safe by the global civil aviation body. (AP Photo/Vincent Thian)
Ukrainian coal miners search the site of a crashed Malaysia Airlines passenger plane near the village of Rozsypne, Ukraine, eastern Ukraine Friday, July 18, 2014. Rescue workers, policemen and even off-duty coal miners were combing a sprawling area in eastern Ukraine near the Russian border where the Malaysian plane ended up in burning pieces Thursday, killing all 298 aboard. (AP Photo/Dmitry Lovetsky)
KUALA LUMPUR, MALAYSIA - JULY 18: A member of the public takes a picture of the arrival board as it displays the MH17 flight information on July 18, 2014 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Air Malaysia flight MH17 travelling from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur has crashed on the Ukraine/Russia border near the town of Shaktersk. The Boeing 777 was carrying 280 passengers and 15 crew members. (Photo by Rahman Roslan/Getty Images)
Donetsk People's Republic fighters fill their tank with fuel at a gas station in Snizhne, 100 kilometers east of Donetsk, eastern Ukraine Thursday, July 17, 2014. (AP Photo/Dmitry Lovetsky)
A man gestures at a crash site of a passenger plane near the village of Grabovo, Ukraine, Thursday, July 17, 2014. Ukraine said a passenger plane carrying 295 people was shot down Thursday as it flew over the country, and both the government and the pro-Russia separatists fighting in the region denied any responsibility for downing the plane. (AP Photo/Dmitry Lovetsky)
The main entrance of Schiphol airport in Amsterdam, Thursday, July 17, 2014. A Ukrainian official said a passenger plane carrying 295 people was shot down Thursday as it flew over the country and plumes of black smoke rose up near a rebel-held village in eastern Ukraine. Malaysia Airlines tweeted that it lost contact with one of its flights as it was traveling from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur over Ukrainian airspace. (AP Photo/Phil Nijhuis)
Fire engines arrive at the crash site of a passenger plane near the village of Hrabove, Ukraine, as the sun sets Thursday, July 17, 2014. Ukraine said a passenger plane carrying 295 people was shot down Thursday as it flew over the country, and both the government and the pro-Russia separatists fighting in the region denied any responsibility for downing the plane. (AP Photo/Dmitry Lovetsky)
A relative of passengers on flight MH17 wipes his eyes as he waits in a bus to be transported to an unknown location to receive more information, at Schiphol airport in Amsterdam, Thursday, July 17, 2014. Ukraine said a passenger plane carrying 295 people was shot down Thursday as it flew over the country, and both the government and the pro-Russia separatists fighting in the region denied any responsibility for downing the plane. (AP Photo/Phil Nijhuis)
People walk amongst the debris at the crash site of a passenger plane near the village of Grabovo, Ukraine, Thursday, July 17, 2014. Ukraine said a passenger plane carrying 295 people was shot down Thursday as it flew over the country, and both the government and the pro-Russia separatists fighting in the region denied any responsibility for downing the plane. (AP Photo/Dmitry Lovetsky)
In this image taken from video, Thursday July 17, 2014, showing flames rising from part of the wreckage of a passenger plane carrying 295 people after it was shot down Thursday as it flew over Ukraine, near the village of Hrabove, in eastern Ukraine. Malaysia Airlines tweeted that it lost contact with one of its flights as it was traveling from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur over Ukrainian airspace. (AP Photo / Channel 1) RUSSIA OUT - TV OUT
People hold candles and place flower tribute outside the Dutch embassy to commemorate victims of Malaysia Airlines plane crash in Kiev, Ukraine, Thursday, July 17, 2014. A Malaysian Airlines passenger jet was shot down in eastern Ukraine on Thursday, and both the Ukrainian government and pro-Russian rebels blamed one another for the attack.(AP Photo/Sergei Chuzavkov)
FILE - This Wednesday, June 30, 2010, file photo shows the Buk M2 missile system at a military show at the international forum "Technologies in machine building 2010" in Zhukovsky, Russia, outside Moscow. There are several models of Buk Missile Systems used by multiple countries, including both the Russian and Ukrainian government military. Anton Gerashenko, an adviser to Ukraine's interior minister, said Thursday, July 17, 2014, on his Facebook page that a Malaysia Airlines plane was flying at an altitude of 10,000 meters (33,000 feet) when it was hit by a missile from a Buk launcher, which can fire up to an altitude of 22,000 meters (72,000 feet). (AP Photo/Mikhail Metzel, File)
This image taken from video, Thursday July 17, 2014, shows a suitcase found in the wreckage of a passenger plane carrying 295 people after it was shot down Thursday as it flew over Ukraine, near the village of Hrabove, in eastern Ukraine. Malaysia Airlines tweeted that it lost contact with one of its flights as it was traveling from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur over Ukrainian airspace. (AP Photo/Channel 1) RUSSIA OUT - TV OUT
A relative of passengers on flight MH17 cries as he waits in a bus to be transported to an unknown location to receive more information, at Schiphol airport in Amsterdam, Thursday, July 17, 2014. Ukraine said a passenger plane carrying 295 people was shot down Thursday as it flew over the country, and both the government and the pro-Russia separatists fighting in the region denied any responsibility for downing the plane. (AP Photo/Phil Nijhuis)
In this image taken from video, Thursday July 17, 2014, people walk amongst the debris at the crash site after a passenger plane carrying 295 people was shot down Thursday as it flew over Ukraine, near the village of Hrabove, in eastern Ukraine. Malaysia Airlines tweeted that it lost contact with one of its flights as it was traveling from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur over Ukrainian airspace. (AP Photo / Channel 1) RUSSIA OUT - TV OUT
In this image taken from video, Thursday July 17, 2014, showing part of the wreckage of a passenger plane carrying 295 people was shot down Thursday as it flew over the country and plumes of black smoke rose up near a rebel-held village Hrabove, in eastern Ukraine. Malaysia Airlines tweeted that it lost contact with one of its flights as it was traveling from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur over Ukrainian airspace. (AP Photo / Channel 1) RUSSIA OUT - TV OUT
Ukrainian rescuers walk past debris at the crash site of a passenger plane near the village of Grabovo, Ukraine, Thursday, July 17, 2014. Ukraine said a passenger plane carrying 295 people was shot down Thursday as it flew over the country, and both the government and the pro-Russia separatists fighting in the region denied any responsibility for downing the plane. (AP Photo/Dmitry Lovetsky)
Horror: people inspect crash site of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 passenger plane
Debris at the crash site near the village of Grabovo (AP)
People hold candles and lay flowers outside the Dutch embassy in Kiev to commemorate victims of the Malaysia Airlines plane crash (AP)
A woman reacts to news of tragedy
Malaysia Airlines 9M-MRD taking off from Schiphol, believed to be Flight MH17, photographed by Tom Warners of @SchipholSpot
In this Nov. 15, 2012 photo, a Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777-200 takes off from Los Angeles International Airport in Los Angeles. The plane, with the tail number 9M-MRD, is the same aircraft that was heading from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur on Thursday, July 17, 2014 when it was shot down near the Ukraine Russia border, according to Anton Gerashenko, an adviser to Ukraine's interior minister. (AP Photo/JoePriesAviation.net)
Donetsk People's Republic fighters fill their tank with fuel at a gas station in Snizhne, 100 kilometers east of Donetsk, eastern Ukraine Thursday, July 17, 2014. (AP Photo/Dmitry Lovetsky)

A recording of conversations between a man identified by Ukrainian media as a Russian military commander and rebel fighters has emerged, in which they are reportedly heard discussing the downing of a passenger jet over eastern Ukraine, shortly after 298 people killed when the Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 crashed near the eastern Ukraine border on Thursday.

The Boeing 777-200 departed Amsterdam at 12.14am local time bound for Kuala Lumpur. The jet fell between Krasni Luch in Luhansk region and Shakhtarsk in the neighbouring region of Donetsk.

The authenticity of the recordings cannot be confirmed.

The Security Service of Ukraine (SSU) said in the leaked audio, which they claimed to have intercepted, Bezler, also referred to as ‘Bes’, can be heard reporting to commander Vasyl Mykolaiovych Geranin of the Russian Armed Forces at 4.40pm local time on 17 July on a civil airplane that had been recently hit.

According to a transcript of the conversation translated by The Guardian, in one of the calls Belzer can be heard saying: “Just now a plane was hit and destroyed by the miners group.”

In a second conversation with the SSU said was recorded seven minutes earlier, a militant referred to as 'Major' is reported to have said: “It’s the Cernukhinskis. The Cossacks who stay in Chernuknhinks, from their post.

“The plane disintegrated in the air, above Petropavlovskaya, we found the first 200th – a civilian.”

At 5.32pm, Major is then quoted as saying: “It’s pretty bad. It was civilian debris falling in people’s yards – f***.”

In a third conversation that Ukrainian security forces claim is with Cossack rebel leader Mykola Kozitsyn, a fighter says: "Concerning the plane that was hit and destroyed in the area of Snezhnoe-Torez. It was a civilian one." Kozitsyn then asks: "What was it doing in Ukrainian territory?" The fighter reportedly responds: "Well it means they were bringing in spies, I don't know. Do you understand, there's a war going on. F***."

Both pro-Russian rebels and the Ukrainian government have denied shooting the aircraft down after US authorities said intelligence analysis showed it had been hit by a surface-to-air missile.

Kiev has branded the event an "act of terrorism" and demanded a UN investigation, while Russian president Vladimir Putin has insisted it would not have happened if the Ukrainian government had agreed to a ceasefire.

In a post on Russian social media site Vkontake, Igor Girkin, also known by the nom de guerre Strelkov, the commander of the pro-Russian Donbass People's Militia, is reported to have claimed that his forces shot down a plane in the Donbass region of eastern Ukraine at 5.50pm (GMT+4), shortly before reports emerged the passenger jet was missing.

According to a translation obtained by The Independent, he allegedly wrote: “We warned [sic] not to fly in our sky.”

A pro-Russian fighter holds up a toy found among the debris at the crash site of a Malaysia Airlines jet near the village of Hrabove, Friday, July 18, 2014. Emergency workers, police officers and even off-duty coal miners spread out Friday across the sunflower fields and villages of eastern Ukraine, searching the wreckage of a Malaysia Airlines jet shot down as it flew high above the country's battlefield. The attack Thursday afternoon killed 298 people from nearly a dozen nations. (AP Photo/Dmitry Lovetsky)

A pro-Russian fighter holds up a toy found among the debris at the crash site of a Malaysia Airlines jet near the village of Hrabove, Friday, July 18, 2014. Emergency workers, police officers and even off-duty coal miners spread out Friday across the sunflower fields and villages of eastern Ukraine, searching the wreckage of a Malaysia Airlines jet shot down as it flew high above the country's battlefield. The attack Thursday afternoon killed 298 people from nearly a dozen nations. (AP Photo/Dmitry Lovetsky)

In this October 2008 photo provided by AMC Amsterdam on Friday, July 18, 2014, former president of the International AIDS Society Joep Lange is seen. A large number of world-renowned AIDS researchers and activists heading to an international AIDS conference in Australia were on board a Malaysian jetliner that was shot down over Ukraine, officials said Friday, as news of their deaths sparked an outpouring of grief across the global scientific community.  Among them was Joep Lange, a well-known researcher from the Netherlands (AP Photo/Peter Lowie/AMC)

In this October 2008 photo provided by AMC Amsterdam on Friday, July 18, 2014, former president of the International AIDS Society Joep Lange is seen. A large number of world-renowned AIDS researchers and activists heading to an international AIDS conference in Australia were on board a Malaysian jetliner that was shot down over Ukraine, officials said Friday, as news of their deaths sparked an outpouring of grief across the global scientific community. Among them was Joep Lange, a well-known researcher from the Netherlands (AP Photo/Peter Lowie/AMC)

In this undated photo provided by Amsterdam student rowing club Skoll on Saturday, July 19, 2014, Karlijn Keijzer, left, a 25-year-old Dutch graduate student at Indiana University, and her boyfriend Laurens van der Graaff, right, are seen. Keijzer and van der Graaff were among those killed when a Malaysian jetliner was shot down over Ukraine on Thursday, July 17, 2014. Flight 17 from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur was carrying 298 people from 13 nations when it was shot down Thursday in eastern Ukraine close to the Russian border, an area that has seen months of clashes between government troops and pro-Russia separatists. (AP Photo/Amsterdam student rowing club Skoll)

In this undated photo provided by Amsterdam student rowing club Skoll on Saturday, July 19, 2014, Karlijn Keijzer, left, a 25-year-old Dutch graduate student at Indiana University, and her boyfriend Laurens van der Graaff, right, are seen. Keijzer and van der Graaff were among those killed when a Malaysian jetliner was shot down over Ukraine on Thursday, July 17, 2014. Flight 17 from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur was carrying 298 people from 13 nations when it was shot down Thursday in eastern Ukraine close to the Russian border, an area that has seen months of clashes between government troops and pro-Russia separatists. (AP Photo/Amsterdam student rowing club Skoll)

Alexander Hug, deputy head of the OSCE mission, looks at debris at the crash site of a Malaysia Airlines jet near the village of Hrabove, eastern Ukraine, Friday, July 18, 2014. Representatives from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe and four Ukrainian experts had traveled into rebel-controlled areas to begin an investigation into the attack that killed 298 people from nearly a dozen nations.  The militia allowed them to look at part of the crash site, but refused to let them view the area where the engines came down. (AP Photo/Evgeniy Maloletka)

Alexander Hug, deputy head of the OSCE mission, looks at debris at the crash site of a Malaysia Airlines jet near the village of Hrabove, eastern Ukraine, Friday, July 18, 2014. Representatives from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe and four Ukrainian experts had traveled into rebel-controlled areas to begin an investigation into the attack that killed 298 people from nearly a dozen nations. The militia allowed them to look at part of the crash site, but refused to let them view the area where the engines came down. (AP Photo/Evgeniy Maloletka)

Widi Yuwono, the brother of Yuli Hastini, rear, holds a photograph of his sister's family, showing Hastini, right, her Dutch husband John Paulissen, left, and their two children, Arjun and Sri, who were on Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, Friday, July 18, 2014, at his residence in Solo, Central Java, Indonesia. The Malaysian jetliner that went down in war-torn Ukraine did not make any distress call, Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak said Friday, adding that its flight route had been declared safe by the global civil aviation body. (AP Photo)

Widi Yuwono, the brother of Yuli Hastini, rear, holds a photograph of his sister's family, showing Hastini, right, her Dutch husband John Paulissen, left, and their two children, Arjun and Sri, who were on Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, Friday, July 18, 2014, at his residence in Solo, Central Java, Indonesia. The Malaysian jetliner that went down in war-torn Ukraine did not make any distress call, Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak said Friday, adding that its flight route had been declared safe by the global civil aviation body. (AP Photo)

FILE - This Wednesday, June 30, 2010, file photo shows the Buk M2 missile system at a military show at the international forum "Technologies in machine building 2010" in Zhukovsky, Russia, outside Moscow. There are several models of Buk Missile Systems used by multiple countries, including both the Russian and Ukrainian government military. Anton Gerashenko, an adviser to Ukraine's interior minister, said Thursday, July 17, 2014, on his Facebook page that a Malaysia Airlines plane was flying at an altitude of 10,000 meters (33,000 feet) when it was hit by a missile from a Buk launcher, which can fire up to an altitude of 22,000 meters (72,000 feet).  (AP Photo/Mikhail Metzel, File)

FILE - This Wednesday, June 30, 2010, file photo shows the Buk M2 missile system at a military show at the international forum "Technologies in machine building 2010" in Zhukovsky, Russia, outside Moscow. There are several models of Buk Missile Systems used by multiple countries, including both the Russian and Ukrainian government military. Anton Gerashenko, an adviser to Ukraine's interior minister, said Thursday, July 17, 2014, on his Facebook page that a Malaysia Airlines plane was flying at an altitude of 10,000 meters (33,000 feet) when it was hit by a missile from a Buk launcher, which can fire up to an altitude of 22,000 meters (72,000 feet). (AP Photo/Mikhail Metzel, File)

It said: “In Torez area, a 26 plane was just shot, it's lying behind 'Progress' mine. We warned not to fly in our sky. Here is the video from another 'bird fall'. Bird fall behind the slagheap, and didn't touch any living areas.”

Girkin’s original post has now been deleted from VKontakte and his subsequent posts appear to deny that the pro-Russian forces within Ukraine have the available weaponry to take down a jet at 10,000m (33,000ft).

Up to 100 of those killed on flight MH17 were delegates on their way to an international conference on Aids in Melbourne, Australia. They included world-renowned researcher Joep Lange and 49-year-old Glenn Thomas, a British media relations co-ordinator for the World Health Organisation and former BBC journalist who lived in Blackpool.

Nine Britons are now known to have died aboard flight MH17 when it crashed in eastern Ukraine, Malaysia Airlines has confirmed today. The passengers on the flight included 154 Dutch, 27 Australians, 43 Malaysians - including 15 crew, 12 people from Indonesia, four Germans, four Belgians, three from the Philippines and one Canadian.

Source: Independent

Rebels 'find plane's recording devices'

Separatist rebels say they have found "most" of the recording devices from the Malaysia Airlines plane that was shot down over rebel-held territory in eastern Ukraine.

A spokesman for the insurgency's military commander, Igor Girkin, said eight out of the plane's 12 recording devices have been located.

He said Girkin was still considering whether to give international crash investigators access to the sprawling crash site.

Any investigators would need specific permission from the rebel leadership before they could safely film or take photos at the scene.

Ukraine, whose investigators have no access to the area, has called for an international probe to determine who attacked the plane and insisted it was not its military. US intelligence authorities said a surface-to-air missile downed the plane, but could not say who fired it.

The crash site was sprawling, spread out over fields between two villages in eastern Ukraine. Large chunks of the Boeing 777 that bore the airline's red, white and blue markings lay strewn over one field. The cockpit and one turbine lay half a mile apart, and residents said the tail landed another six miles away, indicating the aircraft most likely broke up before hitting the ground.

Kenneth Quinn of the Flight Safety Foundation said an international coalition of countries should lead the investigation. The Unites States has offered to help.

Malaysia's prime minister said there was no distress call before the plane went down and that the flight route was declared safe by the International Civil Aviation Organisation.

Russia must hand over black boxes

Failure to make available the "black box" flight recorders from the downed Malaysia Airlines plane would cause Russia "major embarrassment", a UK computer systems engineering professor has said.

Not handing over black boxes to the appropriate investigating authority is "not playing by the rules", said Professor David Allerton of the University of Sheffield.

He went on: "The only reason you would do something like this is if you had something to hide."

His comments came amid reports that Russian separatists have possession of the black boxes - actually orange in colour - at the crash scene.

There are two types of black box - the cockpit voice recorder, which is a record of pilot conversations for the two hours before, and the flight data recorder which gives crash investigators information about how the aircraft's systems were working prior to an incident.

Prof Allerton said: "In this case, in which it is thought that a missile hit the plane, the discovery of the flight data recorder will effectively rule out there being either a catastrophic airframe failure on board, or that a bomb exploded on the plane.

"Sensors on the plane show its speed and lift, If an aircraft gets hit by something there are sudden and strange differences in acceleration and this will be apparent from the flight data recorder details.

"The cockpit voice recorder will be useful, too. It could be that the plane was able to fly on for a few seconds after being struck and investigators will be able to hear what the pilots said in those last moments."

Prof Allerton also stressed the importance of preserving the crash site. He said: "The impact made by the missile will be evident in the remains of the plane and will indicate how the explosion occurred and what type of device it was.

"The ground must not be tampered with. There will be a lot of very valuable information at the site."

Norman Shanks, visiting professor in aviation and security at Coventry University in the West Midlands, said: "The cockpit voice recorder could reveal whether the pilots spotted anything unusual in the seconds before the strike.

"The flight data recorder will reveal the exact time of the incident and the altitude and exact position of the aircraft.

"It is vital that professional investigators can get on the crash site. From the wreckage they will be able to determine what kind of weapon was used and where it came from."

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