Malaysia Airlines MH17 Plane Crash in Ukraine LIVE UPDATES

A Malaysia Airlines plane en route from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur has crashed in eastern Ukraine. There were 283 passengers and 15 crew members on board the Boeing-777 aircraft.

Saturday, July 19

23:47 GMT:

A team of at least 10 investigators, including forensic experts and air accident investigators are in Ukraine to investigate the crash site, the Dutch Foreign Ministry said in a written statement, Washington Post reports. The statement didn’t say whether the team was joined by investigators from other countries.

23:02 GMT:

Condolences at the site of the left-over debris from the MH17 airplane are seen with bouquets of flowers on the ground in a field near Grabovo.

22:45 GMT:

Michael Bociurkiw, spokesperson for the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine said that 16 members of the monitoring team spent 3 hours at the crash site on Saturday,

“We had a team today of sixteen international monitors who went to one of the crash scenes. We arrived at about 12:30 and we were there until about 3:20, so obviously the time spent there today was longer than yesterday. And in addition, we were able to traverse a far larger area than yesterday,” Bociurkiw told reporters.

At the same time, the OSCE spokesperson said that there is little security on site.

“But again we did see a larger area. Although there is very little, as we’ve reported there is very little security on the perimeter of the crash site we did notice that when we arrived today there was a cordon of armed security personnel on both sides of the roadway.”

22:25 GMT:

Leadership of the Donetsk’s Republic guarantees the safety of international experts at the Boeing crash site, if Kiev authorities conclude a ceasefire agreement, Deputy Prime Minister Andrei Purgin of DPR has announced.

“We declare that we will guarantee the safety of international experts on the scene at the conclusion of a ceasefire agreement with Kiev. We invite Kiev to immediately conclude such an agreement with the DPR, at least for the duration of the specialists’ visit to the crash site,” Purgin said, Ria Novosti reports.

Kiev’s forces continue their so-called “anti-terrorist operation”, hindering access to the crash site, he said. Purgin claims that Ukrainian forces are keeping up the pace of the assault to ensure evidence doesn’t emerge to implicate Kiev in shooting down the passenger jet. Purgin once again reiterated that anti-Kiev forces had nothing to do with shooting down the plane.

22:05 GMT:

In a telephone conversation between the Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and his US counterpart John Kerry, both sides agreed on the need to conduct an independent investigation into the crash of flight MH17.

“It is necessary to provide a totally impartial, independent and open international investigation into the disaster of Malaysian airliner crash in Ukraine on July 17. Clarification of the circumstances of this incident should be organized under the leadership of ICAO and with the participation of all who are willing to help in establishing the truth,” the Russian Foreign Ministry said.

Kerry meanwhile told Lavrov that the US was “very concerned” over reports that the crash site has been tampered with, the US State Department said in a statement.

So far 192 bodies have been recovered from the crash site of Malaysian Arline flight MH17, UNIAN reports citing authorities.

“So far we have recovered 192 bodies. The search area has been expanded to 35 kilometers with 200 Emergency Ministry workers participating,” Deputy Prime Minister of Ukraine Vladimir Groisman, was quoted by UNIAN, the Ukrainian news agency.

21:32 GMT:

Prime Minister of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic Alexander Boroday denied that his forces have the advanced weaponry required to have shot down Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17.

“The plane was shot down. We had neither the capability nor any intent to shoot it down. We don’t have any air defense systems capable of taking down an aircraft flying at the 10,600 metres altitude. The projectiles we possess can only travel up to 3000 metres,” Boroday said.

Boroday argued the action is against the interests of the DPR/DNR, before accusing Kiev forces of carrying out the crime. He said investigations into the tragedy are currently being sabotaged, also leveling blame at Ukraine’s government.

“In our opinion this investigation is being in some ways sabotaged. It is possible that this is happening because Ukraine and the Ukrainian authorities are not interested in the investigation,” he said.

21:27 GMT:

Russian Ambassador to the UK, Alexander Yakovenko was summoned to the Foreign Office to meet Political Director Simon Gass.

“The Political Director urged the Russian authorities to use all their influence to secure access to the crash site, both for accident investigators and expert victim identification teams,” UK Foreign Ministry says.

20:46 GMT:

So far 192 bodies have been recovered from the crash site of Malaysian Airline flight MH17, UNIAN reports citing authorities.

“So far we have recovered 192 bodies. The search area expanded to 35 kilometer with 200 Emergency Ministry workers participating in the search,” Deputy Prime Minister of Ukraine Vladimir Groisman, was quoted by UNIAN, the Ukrainian news agency.

20:16 GMT:

People continue to flock outside of Schipol airport, to pay their condolences to the 298 passengers and crew who died in the MH17 Malaysian airlines plane crash. As flowers lay outside the Dutch capital’s main airport, dedicated to the airplane crash victims, condolences were made in ink as people signed a book which has been left open for anyone to sign their commiserations in.

20:07 GMT:

Commercial director of Malaysian airlines Hugh Dunleavy said that the relatives of the MH17 victims should not travel to Ukraine due to security reasons, adding that only a few relatives“expressed interest in flying to Ukraine”.

The commercial director said that Malaysian airlines is working with Ukrainian authorities “to gain access to the site,” Dunleavy said speaking outside Schiphol airport in Amsterdam.

He also recognized that no one knows when the bodies are going to be recovered since they will be part of a criminal investigation once removed from the crash scene. Dunleavy also assured that the Malaysian Airlines flight path was considered safe for airline operation.

20:07 GMT:

Commercial director of Malaysian airlines Hugh Dunleavy said that the relatives of the MH17 victims should not travel to Ukraine due to security reasons, adding that only a few relatives“expressed interest in flying to Ukraine”.

The commercial director said that Malaysian airlines is working with Ukrainian authorities “to gain access to the site,” Dunleavy said speaking outside Schiphol airport in Amsterdam.

He also recognized that no one knows when the bodies are going to be recovered since they will be part of a criminal investigation once removed from the crash scene. Dunleavy also assured that the Malaysian Airlines flight path was considered safe for airline operation.

20:04 GMT:

As of 19 July 2014, 5:00pm, the table below shows the latest number of passengers and their nationalities:

Source: malaysiaairlines.comSource: malaysiaairlines.com
20:02 GMT:

The investigation of the MH17 crash should be carried out by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), Russia’s President Vladimir Putin and the Netherlands Prime Minister Mark Rutte agreed in a phone conversation, according to the Kremlin’s press-service.

It said that the leaders stressed the need to carry out an international, open, independent and objective investigation of the causes.

Putin and Rutte also urged for everything possible to be done to facilitate the work of OSCE observers and access of international experts to the site.

16:07 GMT:

Ukraine’s Emergency service has started to load bodies of MH17 victims onto trucks and transport them from the site of the crash.

15:27 GMT:

Pilots and cabin crew of Dutch Airline KLM laid flowers at the MH17 memorial at Schiphol International Airport in Amsterdam, Saturday. Commercial Director of Malaysian Airlines Hugh Dunleavy also paid his respects to the victims of the tragedy.

15:24 GMT:

The Netherlands is “angry, furious” by news that bodies were being dragged around the site where a Malaysian airliner crashed in eastern Ukraine, Dutch Foreign Minister Frans Timmermans said.

We are already shocked by the news we got today of bodies being dragged around, of the site not being treated properly… People are angry, furious,” he said meeting Ukraine President Petro Poroshenko.

Once we have the proof, we will not stop before the people are brought to justice. Not just the people who pulled the trigger but also those who made it possible. I think the international community needs to step up its efforts in this respect,” he added.

15:14 GMT:

Mourners from around the globe leave flowers, candles and stuffed animals for the victims of the MH17 crash in Ukraine. In Amsterdam’s airport where the plane took off, to the small flower shop that two of the victims owned, people pay their respects to those who died.

14:14 GMT:

The belongings of the passengers of the MH17 flight have been safely preserved, a the spokesman of the special mission of the OSCE in Ukraine, Michael Bochurkiv, said Saturday as quoted by RIA Novosti.

He said that no distortion by the militia in the region has been noted, adding that many plane fragments at the scene had not been moved. The fragments were seen dispersed on the territory of about 30km as the scene also contained many personal belonging of the passengers.

13:46 GMT:

German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Russian President Vladimir Putin have agreed to an international probe into the crash of Malaysian plane in Donetsk Region, eastern Ukraine, said Merkel’s deputy spokesman, Georg Streiter.

“Both [Putin and Merkel] agreed that an international, independent commission under the leadership of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) should get quick access to the crash site of the Malaysia Airlines passenger plane in east Ukraine,” he added.

The Chancellor also “commended the Russian Federation’s willingness to send a representative to participate in the investigation,” the Kremlin said in a statement.

13:02 GMT:
12:55 GMT:

Before the probe into the crash of the Malaysian plane commenced, several countries jumped to make statements of the true causes of the tragedy without proof, said the official statement of the Russian Foreign Ministry. By doing this, these countries are compromising the course of the investigation, it added.

“The Russian side was the first to call for independent, open and objective investigation of the reasons of the accident… It should be made with the assistance of International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) and other international groups…” said the statement.

The ministry stressed that “only this form of investigation will provide a truly independent investigation, avoid one-sided assessments and reveal the real reasons of the incident.”

11:25 GMT:

The forensic experts from Interpol (International Criminal Police Organization) and Europol (European Police Office) are heading on Sunday to Ukraine’s capital, Kiev, to assist in identifying the victims of the Malaysian plane crash.

09:58 GMT:

Donetsk self-defense forces have denied the claims that they have taken the bodies of 36 passengers of Malaysian plane.

“Why do we need them? On the contrary, we want the experts to arrive and to take them,” the Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) official told RIA Novosti.

Earlier there were unconfirmed reports by Ukrainian media that anti-government troops have removed the bodies.

“The representatives of People’s Republic of Donetsk arrived at the village of Rassypnoe and removed 36 bodies of the plane crash,” it said, “according to the militants, they want to take the bodies to [the city of] Donetsk,” the city administration told UNIAN news agency.

AFP Photo / Alexander Khudoteply AFP Photo / Alexander Khudoteply
09:39 GMT:

Ukraine’s Emergency Ministry has recovered 186 bodies of the passengers from the crashed Malaysian plane so far, said the country’s Security Council. It added that the ministry has explored at least 18sq km of total 25sq km crash site of the jet.

09:38 GMT:
09:37 GMT:

Malaysia is planning to get the black boxes from the crash area of the downed plane, said Transport Minister Liow Tiong Lai.

“We are planning to get then [black boxes], and the group of experts has headed to Ukraine. And that’s why I am flying to Kiev,” he added.

09:26 GMT:

It would be “inhuman” if “we are not allowed” to the site of Malaysian plane crash in Donetsk Region, eastern Ukraine, said Malaysian Transport Minister Liow Tiong Lai. He added that Malaysian authorities “are concerned” over the security zone of the area as evidence hasn’t been secured.

09:19 GMT:
09:15 GMT:

The Malaysian transport minister says MH17’s flight path is a busy, major “highway in the sky”. Around 75 airlines flew through the same path just two days before the tragedy, while a Singapore Airlines plane passed the same route just minutes earlier than MH17. The route is coordinated by all air control bodies, he insisted.

Minister Liow Tiong Lai told a press conference the flight never strayed into the restricted air space. The plane appears to have been shot down, he added.

Liow repeated that the plane was supposed to fly at 35,000 feet, but was told by the air traffic control tower to fly at 33,000.

09:09 GMT:
08:19 GMT:

Ukraine’s forensic experts have started their investigation at the site of the crashed Malaysian plane in Donetsk Region, reports RIA Novosti. They are now inspecting the area.

08:05 GMT:

War planes have been flying over the crash site Malaysian plane and the near-by cities of Torez and Snezhnoe in Donetsk Region, eastern Ukraine, a correspondent for RIA Novosti reported from the scene. The report suggested that the planes may be military transports and that the traffic may be related to a nearby combat zone, where Ukrainian troops use aviation against local militia.

07:35 GMT:

Kiev authorities and self-defense forces have agreed on a 20 sq km safety zone around the crash site of the Malaysian plane in Donetsk Region, eastern Ukraine, said the head of the country’s Security Service, Valentin Nalivaichenko.

“Trilateral talks ended on the agreement on 20 sq km zone so that Ukraine can perform its humanitarian mission, take the bodies and transfer them to the relatives [of the victims],” he said adding that the representatives from Russia are also among the officials in the trilateral group.

However, the international observers said the self-defense troops and international observers contradicted Nalivaichenko’s words, saying an agreement is yet to be reached, Reuters reported.

A spokesman for the OSCE mission in Ukraine, Michael Bociurkiw, said he was not aware of any agreement yet, but this was “definitely one of the top issues.”

Reuters / Maxim Zmeyevers / Maxim Zmeyev

 

07:10 GMT:

Six delegates to a global AIDS summit due to be opened on Sunday in Melbourne, Australia, have been confirmed dead in the Malaysia Airlines disaster in Ukraine. Earlier Friday reports said that more than 100 people heading for the conference were among Boeing 777 passengers.

The number that we have confirmed through our contacts with authorities in Australia, in Malaysia, and Dutch authorities as well, is six people. It may be a little bit more, but not the numbers that have been announced,” said International AIDS Society president Francoise Barre-Sinoussi.

Among the attendees flying on Malaysian plane was Joep Lange from the Netherlands, a pioneer of cheap anti-retrovirals for the poor.

Wreckage from the nose section of a Malaysian Airlines Boeing 777 plane which was downed on Thursday is seen near the village of Rozsypne, in the Donetsk region July 18, 2014. ( Reuters / Maxim Zmeyev)

Wreckage from the nose section of a Malaysian Airlines Boeing 777 plane which was downed on Thursday is seen near the village of Rozsypne, in the Donetsk region July 18, 2014. ( Reuters / Maxim Zmeyev)

05:26 GMT:

Malaysian Transport Minister Liow Tiong Lai will arrive in Kiev, the capital of Ukraine, on Saturday to check if the forensic teams have access to investigate the area of the crashed plane.

“We will want to ensure a safe corridor to the site,” Liow told reporters. “… we sent a team to Kiev yesterday night. I will be leaving for Kiev tonight to ensure we have access to the site.”

04:59 GMT:

The Malaysian Armed Forces (MAF) will send two C-130 Hercules aircraft to the Ukrainian region of Donetsk to help the investigation of the plane tragedy, MAF chief General Tan Sri Zulkefli Mohd Zin said, reports the local press.

“We are fully prepared to assist where we can,” he said, adding that a 15-member medical team had also been sent to the area.

04:56 GMT:
02:01 GMT:

China’s President Xi Jinping has urged a “fair and objective” investigation into the MH17 crash.

“We feel consternation over the Malaysian plane that fell in Ukrainian territory and express our condolences to the victims and solidarity with their relatives,” Xi said after a meeting with Argentina’s President Cristina Kirchner during a visit to Buenos Aires.

00:29 GMT:

A former BBC journalist, two university students, and two Newcastle United fans are believed to be among the 10 British victims on board the Malaysian Airlines flight, The Independent reports.

Twenty year old Richard Mayne, a Leeds University student studying maths and finance was on his way to Australia when the plane went down. Ben Pocock, was also heading to Australia on the plane to begin a professional placement and study at the University of Western Australia.

Glenn Thomas, a former BBC journalist, was a media officer at the World Health Organisation (WHO) and was on his way to Australia with a delegation of scientists and activists attending an international Aids conference in Melbourne.

Two Newcastle United fans, John Alder and Liam Sweeney, traveling to see their team play in New Zealand were also feared to be among the victims of the tragedy.

This recent picture released by the World Health Organization (WHO) on July 18, 2014 shows Glenn Thomas, a WHO's spokesperson. (AFP Photo)

This recent picture released by the World Health Organization (WHO) on July 18, 2014 shows Glenn Thomas, a WHO’s spokesperson. (AFP Photo)

00:07 GMT:

Fidel Castro blamed the Kiev government for the downing of the Malaysian Airlines passenger jet, in an opinion column published by state media entitled “Extraordinary Provocation.” The former Cuban leader said the Malaysian Airlines plane was flying over territory “under the control of the bellicose government of the chocolate king Petro Poroshenko.”

Castro said that Cuba has always been in solidarity with the Ukrainian people and said the island nation “cannot refrain from expressing its repudiation of the action by the same anti-Russian, anti-Ukrainian and pro-imperialist government.”

Friday, July 18

23:42 GMT:

Federal prosecutors in Belgium launched their own investigation into the crash of Malaysian Airlines, which was carrying six Belgian citizens, RTL radio station reports quoting the press service of the Prosecutor’s Office. The main purpose of the investigation is at this stage to gather as much possible information about the circumstances of the incident.

22:38 GMT:

France is ready to dispatch experts to Ukraine to aid the plane crash investigation, RIA Novosti reports, citing a joint statement of the foreign Minister, Laurent Fabius, and secretary of state for transport, Frédéric Cuvillier.

”The bureau in charge of investigating airplane crashes in coordination with its European partners appointed two experts who are ready to take part in the international investigation. The bureau is ready to provide to the investigation laboratory equipment intended to [help] aid reading the information from the black boxes [flight recorders],” the communiqué reads.

21:43 GMT:

The Pentagon has no information that anti-Kiev forces are in possession of an air defense system capable of shooting down a plane.

“The missile itself, the SA-11, which is the one we believe was used to down Flight 17, is a sophisticated piece of technology,” Pentagon press secretary Rear Adm. John Kirby told reporters. “I don’t have an indication now that a system was brought over [from Russia]. And we don’t exactly know who is responsible for firing that missile, or with what assistance.”

“What I’m saying is that that system is fairly sophisticated,” Kirby added. “Nobody is suggesting that Russian military advice and assistance has not somehow crossed the border. It is just unclear exactly how much and when and who. That is what the investigators are going to look at and that is what we need to let them do.”

Pentagon Press Secretary Rear Adm. John Kirby (AFP Photo / Paul J. Richards)

Pentagon Press Secretary Rear Adm. John Kirby (AFP Photo / Paul J. Richards)

21:37 GMT:

10 Downing Street has made a statement concerning the shooting down of flight MH17, where the UK government blames anti-Kiev forces for the tragedy.

“While it is too early to be categorical about the cause of the disaster… evidence suggests that MH17 was shot down by a surface to air missile and that this was fired from near Torez, in territory controlled by the separatists…On this basis we assess that, without compelling information to the contrary, it is increasingly likely that MH17 was shot down by a separatist missile,” the UK’s government statement said.

The Cabinet of ministers also confirmed the death of 10 British nationals, while calling for thorough investigation and access to the crash site by the international team of experts.

“We now know that 10 British nationals tragically lost their lives in this appalling disaster. The families of those killed have been informed and the Foreign Office is offering consular assistance to them at this difficult time.”

21:20 GMT:

Head of the monitors from the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe in Ukraine Thomas Greminger said that the team stayed at the crash site for 75 minutes before returning to Donetsk. They expect to return on Saturday.

“They did not have the kind of access that they expected. They did not have the freedom of movement that they need to do their job. The crash site is not sealed off,” he told Reuters by telephone. “In the current circumstances, they were not able to help securing this corridor that would allow access for those that would want to investigate,” Greminger said.

A rescue worker uses sticks to mark the location where bodies of victims have been found at the site of the crash of a Malaysian airliner carrying 298 people from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur in Grabove, in east Ukraine, on July 18, 2014. (AFP Photo / Dominique Faget)

A rescue worker uses sticks to mark the location where bodies of victims have been found at the site of the crash of a Malaysian airliner carrying 298 people from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur in Grabove, in east Ukraine, on July 18, 2014. (AFP Photo / Dominique Faget)

21:05 GMT:

The Federal Criminal Police Office of Germany (BKA) will sent two experts to help an international team of investigators examine the Malaysian airliner crash site.

Experts intend “close cooperation with local authorities to agree on measures needed to identify the bodies of the victims, so that relatives of the victims are able to get accurate information,” Itar-tass reports, citing BKA’s statement.

21:04 GMT:

The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) has issued a warning to airlines urging them to avoid flying over eastern Ukraine.

“The Agency draws the aviation community’s attention to the possible existence of serious risks to the safety of international civil flights and the consequent airspace restrictions implemented,” it said, adding that the safety notice affects the Simferopol and Dnepropetrovsk regions of the country.

20:55 GMT:

INTERPOL will send an Incident Response Team (IRT) to Donetsk region to help coordinate the identification of the victims of flight MH 17.

“The INTERPOL team, which includes Disaster Victim Identification (DVI) experts and a representative from the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) will be deployed within the next 48 hours to provide on-site assistance,” the international police force said in a statement.

20:34 GMT:

The International Civil Aviation Authority, a UN body, said that it was a duty of individual nations to issue warnings over its airspace in conflict zone, saying it was not responsible for issuing warnings about potential dangers.

“The International Civil Aviation Authority does not declare airspace safe or unsafe or undertake any other direct operational responsibilities with respect to civilian air services,” said ICAO spokesman Anthony Philbin.

Earlier Malaysia’s PM Najib Razak said the plane’s flight route had been declared safe by the ICAO.

16:37 GMT:

Up to 10 British passengers were killed on the passenger plane MH17, Malaysia Airlines has said, adding another casualty to the government’s previous estimate.

Earlier on Friday, a number of British casualties were identified by authorities, including former BBC employee Glenn Thomas, 49, and two Newcastle United football fans, Liam Sweeny, 28 and John Alder, who is believed to be in his 60s.

Describing the events as “absolutely shocking”, Prime Minister David Cameron has joined international leaders to insist that those responsible for the attack must be “held to account.”

Earlier on Friday, Cameron held an emergency COBRA meeting in London, insisting that it was too early to know who was responsible for the attack.

15:24 GMT:

Argentina’s envoy to the UN has warned against a “blame game” and called for prudence until the investigation is completed.

13:44 GMT:

The OSCE has said 30 of its staff have arrived at the Malaysian Airlines MH17 crash site near Donetsk.

13:12 GMT:

The self-defense forces of Donetsk People’s Republic have allowed Ukraine’s investigators to the site of the crashed Malaysia Airlines plane and promised to welcome all experts from international groups.

“We have already allowed four Ukrainian investigators. Also the experts from OSCE [Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe] and other international organizations will take part in the probe,”DPR’s deputy-PM Andrey Purgin told Interfax.

In the meantime, the OSCE observers hope that militia in eastern Ukraine will assist their investigation of the site, an OSCE representative told RIA Novosti.

“The representatives of DPR promised us and guaranteed the assistance in investigating the circumstances of the accident,” he added.

13:07 GMT:

Ukraine’s traffic controllers ordered the Boeing-777 to lower by 500 meters when the aircraft entered Ukrainian airspace, says a statement on the Malaysia Airlines official website.

“MH17 filed a flight plan requesting to fly at 35,000ft (10,660 meters) throughout Ukrainian airspace. This is close to the ‘optimum’ altitude. However, an aircraft’s altitude in flight is determined by air traffic control on the ground. Upon entering Ukrainian airspace, MH17 was instructed by Ukrainian air traffic control to fly at 33,000ft (10,058 meters).”

13:01 GMT:

The vice-president of Malaysia Airlines Europe, Huib Gorter, announced the latest nationality count for the victims of the MH17 flight:

The Netherlands – 189
Malaysia – 44
Australia – 27
Indonesia – 12
UK – 9
Belgium – 4
Germany – 4
The Philippines – 3
Canada – 1
New Zealand – 1

The nationalities of four people remain unidentified, the official said. The company is working with relevant embassies to double-check the tally.

12:59 GMT:
12:42 GMT:

The next of kin of each passenger killed at Malaysian plane crash will be to be given US$5,000 compensation to cover initial expenses, said Huib Gorter, the vice-president of Malaysia Airlines Europe, speaking at a news conference in Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport.

12:34 GMT:

Pope Francis “has learned with dismay” of the recent crash of Malaysian plane in Donetsk Region, said a statement from the Holy See Press Office.

“[The Pontiff] raises prayers for the numerous victims of the incident and for their relatives, and renews his heartfelt appeal to all parties in the conflict to seek peace and solutions through dialogue, in order to avoid further loss of innocent human lives,” it added.

12:27 GMT:

Both Kiev authorities and self-defense forces in eastern Ukraine should come back to peaceful negotiations, said Russian President Vladimir Putin.

“Peace should prevail on Ukrainian soil. Direct contact between the conflicting sides should be established as soon as possible,” he said.

11:44 GMT:

Austria’s Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz has called for a thorough investigation into the tragedy of the Malaysian plane that crashed in Donetsk Region

“We demand that an investigation of the plane crash in eastern Ukraine is conducted promptly and fully,”the minister said in a statement cited by ITAR-TASS. “If it is found out what exactly happened, then the culprits should be prosecuted.”

He said full access to the site of the plane crash is necessary for a transparent probe.

11:40 GMT:

Dutch politician Willem Witteveen, a member of the senate, was among the victims of the Malaysian airplane crash, said a statement from the Dutch parliament, according to press in the Netherlands.

11:40 GMT:

Russia does not plan to take the black boxes from the Malaysian Airlines plane that crashed in Donetsk Region, eastern Ukraine, said Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.

11:20 GMT:

Kiev troops haven’t used any missiles during the military operation in eastern Ukraine, said Andrey Lysenko, spokesman for Ukraine’s Security Council, as cited by Reuters.

“All missiles that are in our armory – not one of them has been used,” he said.

According to Bogdan Senyk, a spokesman for the Defense Ministry, the Malaysian plane was out of the range of Kiev’s anti-aircraft missile systems.

“Anti-aircraft missiles have not been deployed during the anti-terrorist operation … they are all in place,”he added.

11:01 GMT:

A family of six were among the passengers of Malaysian plane that crashed in Donetsk Region, reported the Star newspaper. The entire family from Kuching city, northeastern Malaysia, were on their way back from Kazakhstan transiting via Amsterdam.

Tambi Jiee, 49, was with his wife Ariza Ghazalee, 47, and four children – Mohd Afif, 19, Mohd Afzal, 17, Marsha Azmeena, 15, and Mohd Afruz, 13.

11:01 GMT:

An Australian woman has lost two relatives in the two recent Malaysia planes disasters. Kaylene Mann lost her brother after Malaysian Airlines Flight 370 disappeared from the radars in March, and which has never been found.

On Friday she learned that her step-daughter Maree Rizk, was among the passengers of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17,

“It’s just brought everyone, everything back,” said Greg Burrows, Mann’s other brother. “It’s just … ripped our guts again.”

10:50 GMT:
10:31 GMT:

A distant relative of Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak was among the passengers on board the Boeing-777 aircraft, reported the Star newspaper.

According to unconfirmed reports, 83-year-old Puan Sri Siti Amirah was traveling alone on her way back to Jogjakarta, Indonesia, from Amsterdam. She intended to transit at Kuala Lumpur International Airport.

10:30 GMT:

It is too “premature to draw conclusions” before the forensic teams have investigated the wreckage of the plane, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said.

“Regarding sanctions, I’d like to point out that the events with the plane, as far as I remember, were not even 24 hours ago and at the moment we need to sort out an independent investigation,” she added.

Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel (Reuters / Francois Lenoir)

Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel (Reuters / Francois Lenoir)

10:19 GMT:

Experts from Interpol will identify the bodies of the passengers of the crashed Malaysian plane, reported the press service of Ukraine’s Interior Ministry.

The negotiations on sending the Interpol specialists to the site of the crashed plane were held between the country’s Interior Minister Arsen Avakov and Ronald Noble, the secretary-general of Interpol.

10:15 GMT:

The black boxes from the Malaysian plane should remain on the territory of Ukraine, saidAndrey Sibiga, director of consular services at Ukraine’s Foreign Ministry. The transportation of the boxes abroad is illegal, he added.

10:15 GMT:

So far, 181 bodies have been recovered from wrecks of the crashed Malaysian Airlines jet in Donetsk Region so far, said a statement from Ukraine’s Foreign Ministry.

A man wearing military fatigues stands next to 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, on July 17, 2014.(AFP Photo / Dominique Faget)

A man wearing military fatigues stands next to 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, on July 17, 2014.(AFP Photo / Dominique Faget)

10:10 GMT:

Russia will insist on an objective, open and independent investigation into the crash of the Malaysian plane in Donetsk Region, eastern Ukraine, said Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.

“We are ready to contribute [to the international probe], but certainly we believe that it should be the initiative of the country on whose territory the tragedy happened,” he told Rossiya-24.

Lavrov said that Kiev authorities haven’t recently given any credible statements.

“About the statements from Kiev saying that it was almost us [Russia] who [targeted the plane], you know I haven’t heard any credible statements from Kiev in the recent months,” he added.

09:16 GMT:

Kiev authorities and self-defense troops in eastern Ukraine need to implement a ceasefire to allow a speedy independent investigation into the Malaysian Airlines crash in Donetsk Region, said German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

09:10 GMT:
09:05 GMT:

Kiev authorities have called upon several countries to conduct international investigation of the crash of the Malaysian plane in Donetsk Region, eastern Ukraine, said Prime Minister Arseny Yatsenyuk, as reported by RIA Novosti.

“We started an independent investigation and addressed the governments of the countries to conduct an international investigation into this tragedy,” he added.

Malaysia and the Netherlands are among the countries invited for the independent probe. Also the Boeing Company, International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), Eurocontrol (the European Organization for the Safety of Air Navigation), European Commission and the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), a US government investigative agency, will join the investigation.

09:02 GMT:

The People’s Republic of Donetsk in eastern Ukraine is ready for a truce with Kiev, said the representative of the Republic in Russia, Andrey Rodkin, reported RIA Novosti.

“We need peace and we are ready to talk about the truce to stop the homicide of the civilian population and destruction of infrastructure,” he said at the meeting of the Federation Council, the upper house of the Russian parliament, in Moscow.

08:49 GMT:

It will be “an outrage against human decency” if the forensic experts prove that the Malaysian plane was shot down, said Malaysian Transport Minister Liow Tiong Lai at a press conference in Kuala Lumpur.

“Should this be confirmed, it will contravene international law and be an outrage against human decency,”he said, adding that Malaysia’s authorities welcomed the call for an independent criminal investigation into the incident.

08:48 GMT:

Ukraine’s self-defense forces have recovered eight of the 12 recording devices from the Malaysian plane at the crash site, said forces member Igor Girkin, as cited by AP.

Earlier, Girkin said that the Donetsk self-defense forces won’t interfere with the investigation into the crash of the airplane.

08:43 GMT:
08:33 GMT:

Kuala Lumpur will send an investigative team of 62 experts to the area where a Malaysian Airlines jet crashed in Donetsk Region, Malaysian Transport Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai said at a press conference.

08:13 GMT:

Siti Dina, a relative of Malaysian citizens who were on the crashed airplane, said she lost five members of her family: her daughter, son-in-law and three grandchildren.

“I was shocked. I got the news, my friend called up. So we watched the CNN news, and then we found it was the MH17,” she told Ruptly.

“They stop in Kuala Lumpur to change to another plane,” she said, adding that the family was on its way back to Melbourne.

08:01 GMT:

Malaysian Airlines is trying to arrange safe access for relatives of victims to the area in Donetsk Region where the airplane crashed, a spokeswoman for Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport, as reported by Reuters.

“The relatives, a few hundred of them, are currently being housed in a hotel at Schiphol,” she added.

07:58 GMT:

A video reportedly depicting the last moments of passengers from the Malaysian plane before departure, has emerged on YouTube. The footage was recorded by Malaysian passenger Md Ali Md Salim and uploaded on his Instagram account. It shows passengers stowing their luggage in the overhead compartment.

07:52 GMT:

Experts have yet to study the black boxes from the downed Malaysian Airlines plane and teams of investigators have not yet arrived at the site of the crash. However Western media outlets and several US politicians, including former US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and US Senator John McCain, have already drawn their conclusions –Russia is to blame for the catastrophe.

The Sun, a UK daily tabloid newspaper used its front page with the poster of Russian president to declare “Putin’s missile” was to blame.

“Vladimir Putin was facing universal condemnation last night after pro-Russian separatists shot down a passenger jet carrying 295 people over Ukraine,” says the article from the Sun.

RT’s Marina Portnaya was following the headlines of Western media outlets.

07:50 GMT:
07:34 GMT:

Russian airlines have decided to stop regular flights to eastern Ukrainian cities of Dnepropetrovsk and Odessa on July 18-20, reports Russia’s Air Service. The flights were stopped due to the recent downing of a Malaysian plane over Ukraine.

07:32 GMT:

Ukraine’s Air service has closed the airspace over the zone of military operation in eastern Ukraine, reported its press service. It added that the zone was closed after the crash of the Malaysian plane and flights will resume after the situation is “stabilized.”

07:12 GMT:

Five Belgian citizens have been killed in Malaysian airplane crash in Donetsk Region, said Didier Reynders, Belgium’s foreign minister.

06:50 GMT:

An Israeli citizen is reportedly among the victims of the crashed plane, the man’s fatherwrote on his Facebook page.

“Today 17-7-2014 our son Ithamar was in the crashed malaysia airlines plain that went from Amstersam to australia – ithamar was 27 years old [sic],” wrote Dov Avnon, the man’s father.

06:34 GMT:

One hundred and twenty-one bodies have been recovered from wrecks of the crashed Malaysian plane in Donetsk Region so far. At least 95 rescuers and 18 vehicles are now recovering the remains, reports the press service of Ukraine’s Emergency Ministry.

06:27 GMT:
06:05 GMT:

Self-defense forces from People’s Republic of Donetsk are guarding the areas of the crashed plane where the rescue workers are recovering the bodies. The criminal experts from the city of Donetsk are due to arrive Friday afternoon.

06:00 GMT:

The militias fighting in eastern Ukraine against the government troops have no weapons systems that could have shot down the Malaysia Airlines plane on Thursday, the General Prosecutor of Ukraine, Vitaly Yaryoma, stated citing a military report submitted to President Petro Poroshenko.

Considering the high altitude the MH17 was flying, it could not have been taken down by a portable anti-aircraft missile or anti-aircraft cannon, which the Ukrainian militia have been using to attack Ukrainian military aircraft.

Earlier there were reports that the militia had captured a Buk missile launcher, which could have done it, but Kiev insisted that the system was out of order and could not be repaired by the militia.

05:56 GMT:

A major Dutch AIDS expert, Joep Lange, was among the passengers of Malaysian airplane that downed in Donetsk Region, eastern Ukraine. David Cooper, a professor at the Kirby Institute at the University of New South Wales, who was working with Lange, was quoted as saying by Reuters.

“Joep had an absolute commitment to HIV treatment and care in Asia and Africa,” Cooper added.

According to unconfirmed reports from Australian news outlets, over a hundred of the plane’s passengers were heading to the 20th International AIDS Conference which is scheduled to start on Sunday in Melbourne, Australia.

05:55 GMT:

A second flight recorder from the Malaysian airliner brought down in Ukraine has been recovered, a Reuters cameraman reported from the scene. On Thursday, local militia controlling the area reported finding the first flight recorder of the Boeing 777.

05:31 GMT:
05:01 GMT:

People are bringing flowers and candles to the Malaysian Embassy in Moscow to mourn the victims of the airplane crash in Donetsk Region, reports Gazeta.ru.

04:58 GMT:

Malaysia Airlines is preparing a team of investigators, which will be sent to Ukraine to investigate the fatal crash of its Boeing 777, the company said in a statement. It didn’t state the number of specialists it is sending.

04:55 GMT:

Indonesia’s president said on Friday he had instructed all national airlines to avoid flying over Ukraine, the Gaza Strip and other conflict areas after a Malaysian airliner with 298 people aboard was shot down.

“I have issued instructions for Indonesian airlines to avoid conflict areas, especially Ukraine … and Gaza strip,” President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono said in a televised address.

World leaders demanded an international investigation into the shooting down of the Malaysia Airlines plane over eastern Ukraine, in which all 298 people on board were killed. (Reuters)

03:47 GMT:

The UN Security Council will hold an emergency meeting Friday morning at 10:00 am EST (1400 GMT) on Ukraine.

03:33 GMT:

The US has urged all parties in the conflict in Ukraine to support “an immediate cease-fire in order to ensure safe and unfettered access to the crash site for international investigators and in order to facilitate the recovery of remains,” The White House Office of the Press Secretary said.

“In the meantime, it is vital that no evidence be tampered with in any way and that all potential evidence and remains at the crash site are undisturbed. The United States remains prepared to contribute immediate assistance to any international investigation, including through resources provided by the NTSB and the FBI.”

03:26 GMT:

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper was quick to condemn Russia’s role in Ukraine, and stopped just short of accusing Moscow directly for the shoot-down of the passenger airliner over Ukrainian airspace.

“While we do not yet know who is responsible for this attack, we continue to condemn Russia’s military aggression and illegal occupation of Ukraine,” Harper said in a statement, adding that it was “at the root of the ongoing conflict in the region.”

03:00 GMT:

President Obama called Malaysian Prime Minister Najib to “express condolences to the people of Malaysia,” the White House says. “President Obama reaffirmed the strength of the friendship between the United States and Malaysia and underscored that the United States stands ready to provide any assistance or support necessary.”

02:48 GMT:

China’s aviation administration has ordered all Chinese airliners to avoid eastern Ukrainian airspace where flight MH17 has crashed, CCTV reports.

02:30 GMT:

A Dutch scientist and a World Health Organization spokesman were among the 108 delegates heading to Melbourne Australia for the 20th International AIDS Conference when the Malaysian Airline flight was shot down, Bloomberg cites unconfirmed reports.

“The International AIDS Society today expresses its sincere sadness,” it said in a statement on the meeting’s website. “At this incredibly sad and sensitive time, the IAS stands with our international family and sends condolences to the loved ones of those who have been lost to this tragedy.”

Among those confirmed killed were Glenn Thomas, a Geneva-based spokesman for the WHO, said Rachel Baggaley, coordinator of the UN agency’s HIV prevention program, the agency reports.

Malaysian Siti Dina weeps after seeing her daughter’s name on the list of passengers on board Malaysia Airlines MH17 at Kuala Lumpur International Airport in Sepang July 18, 2014.(Reuters / Edgar Su)

02:03 GMT:

US Secretary of State John Kerry said Washington is reviewing whether US citizens were aboard MH17, while saying the US was “prepared to assist with a credible, international investigation any way we can.”

01:45 GMT:

The US Federal Aviation Administration issued a Notice to Airman (NOTAM) “prohibiting US flight operations until further notice” over eastern Ukraine.

The restricted area includes the “entire Simferopol and Dnepropetrovsk flight information regions (FIRs).” No scheduled US airlines are currently flying routes through this airspace, the watchdog added.

01:33 GMT:

Kiev authorities attempt to shift the blame for the catastrophe Malaysian Boeing 777 on the DPR look “ridiculous” according to DPR representative.

Claims that an intercepted conversation recording emerged from the Cossacks brigade and the actual language and tone of the conversation, “are an example of the most ridiculous attempt to shift the blame on the DPR and an example of the most helpless unprofessional propaganda,” DPR spokesman Sergey Kavtaradze, told Ria Novosti.

Kavtaradze once again reiterated that anti-Kiev forces do not posses the capabilities to shoot down an aircraft at that altitude.

01:26 GMT:

Malaysian Airlines has adopted a temporary new policy in its booking system waiving all fees for those passengers wishing to avoid flying with the carrier.

01:15 GMT:

Eva Airways, a major Taiwanese carrier said it will reroute its 20 round-trip flights paths to avoid flying over Ukraine.

“Our planes will avoid entering Ukraine airspace effective immediately,” a representative of the company told Reuters. “This will remain in effect indefinitely.”

 

RT

 

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