NEWS

Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 Crash Site Revealed In First Graphic Pictures

17/07/2014 18:10 | Updated 18 July 2014

Graphic pictures of the debris from flight MH17 have emerged showing charred debris and body parts in a field in Ukraine's eastern region. Almost 300 people died after the Malaysian Airlines plane was apparently shot down over Ukraine.

According to reports, nine British citizens were among the 295 people on board Flight MH17 - a Boeing 777-200 travelling from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur - which was in transit over the war-torn region when it disappeared from radar screens.

The Foreign Office was unable to confirm the ITV News reports that sources at Malaysia Airlines had said nine Britons were on the flight manifest.

Graphic images showed a pall of smoke, charred wreckage and bodies at the crash scene at Grabovo in the Donetsk region of eastern Ukraine, a pro-Russia rebel stronghold. Body parts are clearly visible in the images.

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A general view shows the site of a Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 plane crash in the settlement of Grabovo

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The Malaysian airliner was shot down over eastern Ukraine

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A close-up of the debris from the Malaysia Airlines plane

Prime Minister David Cameron said he was "shocked and saddened" by the tragedy, while Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko described it as a "terrorist act".

Mr Cameron added that officials from across Whitehall are meeting to establish the facts, while a spokesman for the Foreign Office said: "We are aware of the reports and are urgently working to establish what has happened."

Ukraine has been torn apart by internal strife since the overthrow of the Moscow-backed regime of Viktor Yanukovych, with Russian backed separatists already accused by the authorities in Kiev of shooting down military jets with missiles supplied by Russia.

The Ukrainian government immediately blamed the separatists with President Poroshenko declaring the "armed forces of Ukraine did not take action against any airborne targets".

Anton Gerashenko, an aide to the Ukrainian Interior Minister, said on his Facebook page that the plane was flying at an altitude of 33,000 feet over when it was hit by a missile fired from a Buk launcher, a Soviet era surface-to-air missile system capable of taking down a high altitude aircraft.

SEE ALSO:

  • ALEXANDER KHUDOTEPLY via Getty Images
  • A firefighter sprays water to extinguish a fire, on July 17, 2014, amongst the wreckages of the malaysian airliner carrying 295 people from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur after it crashed, near the town of Shaktarsk, in rebel-held east Ukraine.
  • ALEXANDER KHUDOTEPLY via Getty Images
  • Firefighters extinguish a fire, on July 17, 2014, amongst the wreckages of the malaysian airliner carrying 295 people from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur after it crashed, near the town of Shaktarsk, in rebel-held east Ukraine.
  • ALEXANDER KHUDOTEPLY via Getty Images
  • People stand on July 17, 2014, amongst the wreckages of the malaysian airliner carrying 298 people from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur after it crashed, near the town of Shaktarsk, in rebel-held east Ukraine.
  • ALEXANDER KHUDOTEPLY via Getty Images
  • A picture taken on July 17, 2014 shows flames and smoke amongst the wreckages of the malaysian airliner carrying 295 people from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur after it crashed, near the town of Shaktarsk, in rebel-held east Ukraine.
  • ALEXANDER KHUDOTEPLY via Getty Images
  • A picture taken on July 17, 2014 shows the wreckages of the malaysian airliner carrying 295 people from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur after it crashed, near the town of Shaktarsk, in rebel-held east Ukraine.
  • ALEXANDER KHUDOTEPLY via Getty Images
  • A man walks, on July 17, 2014, amongst the wreckage of the malaysian airliner carrying 298 people from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur after it crashed, near the town of Shaktarsk, in rebel-held east Ukraine.
  • DOMINIQUE FAGET via Getty Images
  • Self-proclaimed Prime Minister of the pro-Russian separatist 'Donetsk People's Republic' Alexander Borodai (C) stands as he arrives on the site of the crash of a Malaysian airliner carrying 298 people from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur, near the town of Shaktarsk, in rebel-held east Ukraine, on July 17, 2014.
  • DOMINIQUE FAGET via Getty Images
  • A firefighter sprays water to extinguish a fire, on July 17, 2014 amongst the wreckages of the malaysian airliner carrying 298 people from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur after it crashed, near the town of Shaktarsk, in rebel-held east Ukraine.
  • DOMINIQUE FAGET via Getty Images
  • A firefighter stands as flames burst amongst the wreckage of the Malaysian airliner carrying 298 people from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur after it crashed, near the town of Shaktarsk, in rebel-held east Ukraine, on July 17, 2014.
  • DOMINIQUE FAGET via Getty Images
  • A man stands next to the wreckage of the Malaysian airliner carrying 295 people from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur after it crashed, in rebel-held east Ukraine, on July 17, 2014.
  • DOMINIQUE FAGET via Getty Images
  • A picture taken on July 17, 2014 shows wreckages of the Malaysian airliner carrying 295 people from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur after it crashed, near the town of Shaktarsk, in rebel-held east Ukraine.
  • DOMINIQUE FAGET via Getty Images
  • A man wearing military fatigues stands next to the wreckags of the Malaysian airliner carrying 295 people from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur after it crashed, near the town of Shaktarsk, in rebel-held east Ukraine, on July 17, 2014.
  • DOMINIQUE FAGET via Getty Images
  • A picture taken on July 17, 2014 shows the wreckage of the Malaysian airliner carrying 295 people from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur after it crashed, near the town of Shaktarsk, in rebel-held east Ukraine.
  • DOMINIQUE FAGET via Getty Images
  • People stand next to the wreckage of the Malaysian airliner carrying 295 people from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur after it crashed, near the town of Shaktarsk, in rebel-held east Ukraine, on July 17, 2014.
  • DOMINIQUE FAGET via Getty Images
  • People stand, on July 17, 2014, amongst the wreckage of the Malaysian airliner carrying 295 people from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur after it crashed, near the town of Shaktarsk, in rebel-held east Ukraine.
  • DOMINIQUE FAGET via Getty Images
  • A picture taken on July 17, 2014 shows flames amongst the wreckages of the malaysian airliner carrying 295 people from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur after it crashed, near the town of Shaktarsk, in rebel-held east Ukraine.
  • DOMINIQUE FAGET via Getty Images
  • A picture taken on July 17, 2014 shows the wreckages of the malaysian airliner carrying 295 people from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur after it crashed, near the town of Shaktarsk, in rebel-held east Ukraine.
  • DOMINIQUE FAGET via Getty Images
  • Luggages are pictured on July 17, 2014 on the site of the crash of the malaysian airliner carrying 295 people from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur, near the town of Shaktarsk, in rebel-held east Ukraine.
  • ASSOCIATED PRESS
  • People inspect the crash site of a passenger plane near the village of Grabovo, Ukraine, Thursday, July 17, 2014.
  • ASSOCIATED PRESS
  • A man gestures at a crash site of a passenger plane near the village of Grabovo, Ukraine, Thursday, July 17, 2014.
  • ASSOCIATED PRESS
  • Smoke rises up at a crash site of a passenger plane, near the village of Grabovo, Ukraine, Thursday, July 17, 2014.
  • ASSOCIATED PRESS
  • People walk amongst the debris at the crash site of a passenger plane near the village of Grabovo, Ukraine, Thursday, July 17, 2014.
  • ASSOCIATED PRESS
  • People walk amongst the debris, at the crash site of a passenger plane near the village of Grabovo, Ukraine, Thursday, July 17, 2014.
  • ASSOCIATED PRESS
  • People walk amongst the debris at the crash site of a passenger plane near the village of Grabovo, Ukraine, Thursday, July 17, 2014.
  • ASSOCIATED PRESS
  • A woman with a child walks past the crash site of a passenger plane near the village of Grabovo, Ukraine, Thursday, July 17, 2014.
  • DOMINIQUE FAGET via Getty Images
  • A picture taken on July 17, 2014 shows wreckages of the malaysian airliner carrying 295 people from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur after it crashed, in rebel-held east Ukraine.
  • DOMINIQUE FAGET via Getty Images
  • A picture taken on July 17, 2014 shows wreckages of the malaysian airliner carrying 295 people from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur after it crashed, in rebel-held east Ukraine.
  • DOMINIQUE FAGET via Getty Images
  • A picture taken on July 17, 2014 shows smoke and wreckage of the malaysian airliner carrying 295 people from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur after it crashed, in rebel-held east Ukraine.
  • DOMINIQUE FAGET via Getty Images
  • A man stands next to the wreckage of the malaysian airliner carrying 295 people from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur after it crashed, in rebel-held east Ukraine, on July 17, 2014.
  • A general view shows the site of a Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 plane crash in the settlement of Grabovo in the Donetsk region, July 17, 2014.
    A general view shows the site of a Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 plane crash in the settlement of Grabovo in the Donetsk region, July 17, 2014.
    The site of a Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 plane crash is seen in the settlement of Grabovo in the Donetsk region, July 17, 2014.
    Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 takes off at 12.31 PM from Schiphol airport near Amsterdam, the Netherlands, 17 July 2014.
    Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 takes off at 12.31 PM from Schiphol airport near Amsterdam, the Netherlands, 17 July 2014.

In addition to photos posted on Twitter, this Facebook post was apparently made by a person boarding the flight in Schipol Airport. He wrote: "If it disappears, this is what it looks like." The timings appear to correspond with the flight's journey from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur.

07/25/2014 11:29 PM EDT

Document: EU Extends Russia Sanctions

A document shows that EU sanctions ar targeting Russian businesses, the AP reports:

A European Union document shows that among those targeted by the EU-wide asset freeze and travel ban are Alexander Bortnikov, head of the Russian Federal Security.

Also targeted is Sergei Beseda, head of the FSB service that oversees international operations and intelligence activity.

Read the full story here.

07/25/2014 5:21 PM EDT

AP Journalists Saw Rebels With BUK Missiles Hours Before MH17 Crashed

Associated Press journalists in Ukraine saw a BUK missile system -- the type that the US says downed Flight MH17 -- in rebel hands just hours before the plane was shot down, the news agency says in detailed account of the day's events. AP says that while the rebels officially deny responsibility, "the denials are increasingly challenged by accounts of residents, the observations of journalists on the ground, and the statements of one rebel official." Further, one rebel official told AP that they were behind the plane tragedy.

More from the AP story:

A highly placed rebel, speaking to the AP this week, admitted that rebels were responsible. He said a unit based in the hometown of ousted President Viktor Yanukovych, made up of both Russians and Ukrainians, was involved in the firing of an SA-11 from near Snizhne. The rebel, who has direct access to the inner circle of the insurgent leadership in Donetsk, said that he could not be named because he was contradicting the rebels' official line.

The rebels believed they were targeting a Ukrainian military plane, this person said. Instead, they hit the passenger jet flying from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur. All 298 people aboard were killed.

Read the full account here.

07/25/2014 2:59 PM EDT

White House: Russia 'Culpable' For Downed Jet

In a briefing on Friday, the White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said there has been a "steady flow" of weapons from Russia into Ukraine, and emphasized the position that Russia played a role in the shooting down of the Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 in eastern Ukraine, the Wall Street Journal's Marketwatch reports.

The Pentagon said on Friday that the transfer of missile systems from Russia to separatists in Ukraine appeared to be imminent. On Thursday, the U.S. claimed that Russia had fired on Ukrainian military positions.

07/25/2014 1:54 PM EDT

Ukrainian Security Release Tape Of Rebels Allegedly Discussing MH17

Ukraine's security service, SBU, on Friday released a recording it said was of a phone call between pro-Russian separatists discussing a plane overhead, minutes before the Malaysian Airlines jet was shot down over east Ukraine. “I see… Roger... Report it upstairs,” the rebel commander says, according to a translation.

Writing for Mashable, Christopher Miller notes that the recording has not been authenticated and the commander "stops short of giving the order to shoot down Flight 17," however the implication is clearly to build a case that the rebels shot down the plane.

07/25/2014 1:14 PM EDT

Russia Accuses U.S. Of 'Smear Campaign' Over Ukraine

Responding to U.S. officials assertion that Russia was firing artillery on Ukrainian military positions across the border, Russia on Friday countered by calling the claim a baseless "smear campaign,"AFP reports.

A statement from the Russian foreign ministry said, "Due to the smear campaign against us that the US Administration has begun... we reject the unfounded public insinuations that US deputy State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf is spreading on a daily basis," adding that Harf has used "a basketful of these anti-Russian cliches," to influence perceptions of Russia. The statement refuted the U.S. State Departments claim on Russia targeting Ukraine military, saying "There are no facts or specifics about these falsehoods."

More from AFP.

-- Andrew Hart

07/25/2014 1:06 PM EDT

U.S. Ambassador: 15,000 Russian Troops At Border

07/25/2014 12:58 PM EDT

More On The Remarks Out Of The Pentagon

Reuters reports:

The Pentagon said on Friday the transfer of heavy caliber multiple launch rocket systems from

Russia to Ukrainian separatists appeared to be imminent, with the arms close enough to the border they could be handed over "potentially today."

"We have indications that the Russians intend to supply heavier and more sophisticated multiple launch rocket systems in the very near future," said Army Colonel Steve Warren, a Pentagon spokesman, adding that the weapons were in the over-200mm range.

Warren indicated the weapons had been seen getting closer to the border and the Pentagon believed a transfer was imminent and "potentially today."

"We believe that they are able to transfer this equipment at any time, at any moment," he said.

07/25/2014 12:45 PM EDT

Pentagon Says Russia Is Readying Weapons For Transfer To Ukraine Rebels

07/25/2014 11:34 AM EDT

Australia To Send 100 Additional Police and Personnel To Secure Crash Site

Reuters reports:

(Reuters) - Australia will send 100 additional police and some defense force personnel to Europe to join a planned Dutch-led international security force to secure the Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 crash site, Prime Minister Tony Abbott said on Friday.

The Australian Federal Police (AFP) officers, some of whom will be armed, will join a contingent of 90 AFP officers already in London waiting for a deal with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko to be approved by Ukraine's parliament.

"This is a humanitarian mission, with a clear and simple objective," Abbott told reporters. "I expect the operation on the ground in Ukraine, should the deployment go ahead, to last no longer than a few weeks."

Read the full story here.

07/25/2014 11:03 AM EDT

Russian Newspaper Runs Front Page Apology For MH17

A leading Russian newspaper has issued an apology on its front page, asking for forgiveness from the people of the Netherlands who lost their loved ones in the Malaysian Airlines plane crash. The front page of Novaya Gazeta on Friday featured the words "Vergeef ons, Nederlands" (Forgive Us, Netherlands) in bold above a heartbreaking image of the line of hearses carrying MH17 victim's bodies.

Read the full story on the Huffington Post here.

Also on HuffPost:

Air Malaysia MH17 crashes in Ukraine
MH17 Malaysia Airline Plane
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