More than 300 passengers feared dead as Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 crashes in Ukraine.
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so the conflict between Russia and Ukraine may have claimed the lives of more than 300 innocent air travelers a Malaysian Airlines jet flying from amsterdam to kuala lumper appears to have been shot down over eastern ukraine coming down near the village of grub oval near donetsk ukraine said that its armed forces were not involved fueling suspicions that Russian separatists may have been responsible but they blamed Kiev our foreign affairs correspondent Jonathan Rugman has this report in the war zone that is eastern Ukraine a much bigger plume of smoke than usual this is amateur video of a burning passenger jet with around 300 passengers and crew aboard and closer up the wreckage of malaysian airlines mh17 the remains of a Boeing 777 scattered across a nine mile area along with dozens of bodies too graphic for us to show the plane left amsterdam just after quarter past twelve this afternoon the Ukrainian government is blaming what it calls terrorists for shooting it down just over three hours later with ground-to-air missiles in an area where pro-russian separatists admit they have shot down other aircraft though this attack they have so far denied mh17 had around 300 people on board flying from Amsterdam its last known position was here near the village of grabovo just east of Donetsk it was traveling at over 500 miles an hour 33,000 feet up over four thousand eight hundred and fifty miles short of its destination in kuala lumper no passenger list has been released yet but Malaysian Airlines flights from Amsterdam are popular with tourists from across Europe looking for cheap routes to the Far East including Australia their journey this afternoon ended here in Ukraine the site of both a major air disaster and an international incident the Malaysians still recovering from the loss of 239 people on a plane which disappeared just over four months ago yesterday the Ukrainians said one of these fighter jets was shot down by Russian aircraft but separatists claimed they had fired at two or three of them and they admit to having these buk m1 surface-to-air missiles a pro-russian commander igor strelkov has tweeted we warned them not to fly in our skies though it's unclear if this is a reference to today's event and a tweet has since been taken down from this Russian rebel leader though outright denial Ukrainian forces shut it down he said I really think this is a deliberate provocation he assumes ownership though tonight Ukraine's president was adamant this was no accident he said but an act of terrorism the president is calling for an investigation but he sounds as if he has prejudged the outcome already well in a moment we'll hear live from the Ukrainian government in Kiev and from our Asia correspondent in Bangkok but first here's our chief correspondent Alex Thompson with me in the studio what warnings were in place about flying over this area or was it well yes a war zone and they knew that and to prefer they acted upon it very being primarily the FAA for the Americans and gyro control which controls as the name suggests European flights – very interesting warnings they both coincide same date April the 3rd and they've both been subsequently updated they talk about what they described as a quote here the potential for conflicting ATC that's air traffic control instructions from Ukrainian and Russian authorities and related misidentification of civil aircraft quick translation there was a dispute on the ground between the Russians and the Ukrainians it was going on in the air as well as to which and who controlled that vital airspace and obviously the implication of misidentification of civil aircraft with people with munitions on the ground is that they might have thought that the civil aircraft may have been mistaken for a military one so those are the two key warnings in place and have been so ever since but they're not mandatory warnings as in don't fly there but they're not mandatory warnings no it is left to the airlines but it would be very unusual situation and they said if they flew against those warnings and what are the authorities saying tonight well tonight essentially two things survives Brittany's consent Department of Transport saying all flights already airborne are being routed around that area by air traffic control pilots around the world though more why they've been advised strongly to plan routes avoiding that and Eurocontrol who we've just mentioned are working on that to ensure safe navigation in those areas the CAA Civil Aviation Authority here in the UK makes the point we Outsiders can't impose closing airspace we can't do not only the Ukrainians and perhaps the Russians have an influence here too that's how chaotic North it is only they can do that but they are hoping that they will only they could close the airspace and what's going on tonight in that airspace well let's have a look I think we've got a picture here now which shows that the situation you can see um considerable holes in the airspace there in the eastern Ukraine region you're looking down in the Ukrainian air around the net come and wonder if we can get up a previous than earlier satellite map which should show us what was happening as that as that plane was routing through well no perhaps we can't get there but obviously obviously what you would see from that was you can see a great great many more planes now it's not we stress it's not for outsiders to close airspace as such only they can do one other detail which is of interest to people shortly after that crash went down for major flights were in the immediate area and they carried on they were emirates Singapore Etihad in Kazakhstan we shouldn't be too alarmed the fact is they were flying at great speed a great height they were already there perhaps they judged the simplest thing was just to keep going thanks Alex well the Malaysian authorities have launched their own inquiry about the downing of the plane it's the second time this year that Malaysian Airlines has lost an aircraft in March one of its Jets disappeared with 239 people on board our Asia correspondent John Sparkes joins us now from Bangkok what's emerging there thanks Chris well it's late here in Southeast Asia and I have to tell you that news about this plane crash has been filtering through fairly slowly I've been on the phone with a couple of Malaysian government official as they drive out to the airport in Kuala Lumpur they're trying to find out what's going on and I can tell you that the Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak his defense minister and his Transport Minister are also on the way to the airport they will get a briefing from Malaysia Airlines and we should get an idea of what the Malaysians know at 4:00 a.m. Malaysia time that's about 9:00 p.m. UK time when they have scheduled a press conference but what I can't tell you is that they are deeply shocked they really can't quite believe it this is the second catastrophic incident to affect Malaysia Airlines of course I'm referring to the disappearance of mh370 over the Indian Ocean and you have to remember that there are lots of people who will be desperately worried desperately concerned the Malaysia Airlines call center is jammed people can't get through they want information they want to know who is on the passenger list and I can tell you that MH I can tell you that Malaysia Airlines dropped its ticket prices after the disappearance of mh370 there will be tourists on that aircraft there will be backpackers who travel between Europe and Australia I think it's highly likely that there are Britons on that aircraft as well John Sparkes a Christian in the last few minutes it's been confirmed by the French Foreign Ministry that at least four of their nationals are amongst the dead now that adds to the 20 of 33 Americans we had the nine British we believe we're joined now from Kiev by Alexandra Saba he is the ambassador at large at Ukraine's Ministry of Foreign Affairs ambassador thank you very much for joining us tonight what line are you really working on in Ukraine tonight what is your belief as to what has happened well first of all it's one of the blackest days in the history of this of this nation and we are deeply deeply terrified and horrified by what happened what was by this crime that all evidence shows was perpetrated by the so-called separatists we call them terrorists and this crime shows why they do that we we just I just will give you the facts and you cannot connect the dots they have been hunting this the terrorists have been hunting our planes day by day the day before yesterday there was one plane down today yes yesterday there was one plane plane down today they have been bragging all over the internet that quote-unquote another Ukrainian birdie is down then all of a sudden when insured edited when it turns out it wasn't Ukrainian then all of a sudden they they didn't do I didn't they didn't know anything about it but it's a reminder for the whole Europe for the whole world about this tragedy that goes day by day on this land and was brought on this land by Russia when you talk about the planes that have been brought down so far they've been brought down with what equipment could you wait could you wait one moment to ambassador President Obama is speaking right now we're gonna go to Washington and I'm going to come back to could you hold on for us for a moment mr. Obama was due to speak at this moment anyway he was expected to say something about the air crash let's take a listen we've got and his wife Hallie are here give them a big round of applause we love them a classic moment in American in the history when in fact tix to his script his thing Stan we'll come back to it we'll check out what he says something at you in just a few moments so let us return to you ambassador clearly the air president of United States is gonna say something a bit later at the moment he's in a chatty form so we'll leave him there ambassador how will your planes brought down what planes were they and how were they brought down can you say it again please when you said that you have lost two planes in this last week how were they brought down by the separatists and with what equipment the internal 26 that was the day before yesterday we believe was shot down by MANPAD system the Sukhoi 25 that was shot down yesterday Oh indicators show that it might have been Russian military plane that attacked our plane now do you and your forces have access to the crash site are you going to be able to get to it to confirm what you think may have happened I have seen the pictures from the crash scene and I saw you representatives of Ukrainian Ministry for special situations trying to extinguish the fire so I suppose someone is there but they cannot confirm it conclusively so it should be possible anyway for international crash investigators to get there they won't be prevented by the separatists absolutely there must be the terrorists that control this territory they must give every give every way for the international investigators for the rescue teams this is a tragedy that's above nationality ambassador this is a very big plane and of course 300 people have been killed on it previously airliners that have been brought down have involved the Russians bringing down a Korean airliner years ago back in the 1980s the Iranians lost an airliner to American fire that too was a ship to missile this today would imply that the separatists have ground-to-air missiles capable of reaching 34,000 feet and then destroying a major airliner is this credible this is absolutely credible and this is what is what is the most terrifying thing about this whole situation this whole territory there is you know this famous YouTube video where a local woman is chasing away these people who came to their home her home and she was saying go away Apes with guns I'm not saying this it's the way the lady says on YouTube and now it turns out that these persons these people don't only have guns they have sophisticated ponds but we have a situation on the ground there where basically every hateful nutjob sorry for my French has has weapons and can do whatever he wants and they shoot whatever moves and this is terrible bastard Sheva thank you very much indeed for joining us Christian