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Two jet fighters shot down over Ukraine

Ukraine's defence ministry says two of its military fighter jets have been shot down in the east of the country - just hours after black box flight recorders from the downed Malaysia Airlines plane arrived for analysis by UK crash investigators.

The Sukhoi-25 fighters were shot down over an area called Savur Mogila.

Defence Ministry spokesman Oleksiy Dmitrashkovsky said the planes might have been carrying two crew members each.

While the insurgents deny having missiles capable of hitting a jetliner at cruising altitude, rebel leader Alexander Borodai has said that separatist fighters do have Strela-10M ground-to-air missiles which are capable hitting targets up to 11,500ft.

Another rebel leader, Pavel Gubarev, said his men had retreated today from the villages of Chervona Zorya and Kozhevnya, on the Russian border, about 30 miles from the scene of the crash. He said 30 rebels had been injured.

The Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) said the black boxes from flight MH17 had been delivered by Dutch safety authorities to the AAIB's headquarters at Farnborough in Hampshire.

The AAIB team will now go through the information from the cockpit voice recorder which will give them two hours of pilots' conversations as well as studying the contents of the flight data recorder (FDR).

It is thought that the AAIB will be able to send details of their findings to the Dutch within 24 hours - giving the experts in the Netherlands further information of the last moments of the doomed Boeing 777 as it fell to earth in eastern Ukraine.

As the UK investigators poured over the black boxes, bodies from the crash site were arriving in Netherlands where the country's king and queen were taking part in a national day of mourning.

King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima are in Eindhoven with relatives of the 298 people - including 10 Britons - killed in the disaster.

An unconfirmed number of bodies were released by the rebels yesterday and taken to the Ukrainian government-controlled city of Kharkiv by train.

Two military aircraft flew some of them to Eindhoven today, where they were met by the royals, Dutch prime minister Mark Rutte and relatives.

The Netherlands government said a minute's silence will be held before a motorcade takes them to the Korporaal van Oudheusden barracks, where the process of identifying them will begin.

Belfast Telegraph Digital


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