Ukraine: Pro-Russia rebels downed Malaysian plane

57 PHOTOS
Malaysian Flight MH17 Shot Down
See Gallery
Ukraine: Pro-Russia rebels downed Malaysian plane
CANBERRA, AUSTRALIA - JULY 17: Foreign Minister Julie Bishop places a wattle sprig at a wreath during a National Memorial Service to honour the people that died as a result of the downing of Flight MH17 at Parliament House on July 17, 2015 in Canberra, Australia. 298 people died when Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 was struck down by a missile over Ukraine on 17 July, 2014. (Photo by Lukas Coch - Pool/Getty Images)
CANBERRA, AUSTRALIA - JULY 17: Family members grieve during a memorial service honouring victims of flight MH17 on July 17, 2015 in Canberra, Australia. 298 people died when Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 was struck down by a missile over Ukraine on 17 July, 2014. (Photo by Stefan Postles/Getty Images)
CANBERRA, AUSTRALIA - JULY 17: Family members grieve during a memorial service honouring victims of flight MH17 on July 17, 2015 in Canberra, Australia. 298 people died when Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 was struck down by a missile over Ukraine on 17 July, 2014. (Photo by Stefan Postles/Getty Images)
CANBERRA, AUSTRALIA - JULY 17: The Australian flag flies at half mast at Parliament House honouring victims of flight MH17 on July 17, 2015 in Canberra, Australia. 298 people died when Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 was struck down by a missile over Ukraine on 17 July, 2014. (Photo by Stefan Postles/Getty Images)
PUTRAJAYA, MALAYSIA - AUGUST 18: Malaysians commemorate the victims of Malaysia Airlines MH370 and MH17 in an official campaign calling all Malaysians to sway Malaysian national flags, also known as Jalur Gemilang, during Independence Day commemoration celebrations in Putrajaya, Malaysia on August 18, 2014. This campaign is to instill humanity and patriotism for Malaysia. (Photo by Farid Tajuddin/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
PUTRAJAYA, MALAYSIA - AUGUST 18: Malaysians commemorate the victims of Malaysia Airlines MH370 and MH17 in an official campaign calling all Malaysians to sway Malaysian national flags, also known as Jalur Gemilang, during Independence Day commemoration celebrations in Putrajaya, Malaysia on August 18, 2014. This campaign is to instill humanity and patriotism for Malaysia. (Photo by Farid Tajuddin/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
HILVERSUM, NETHERLANDS - AUGUST 17: (CHINA OUT, SOUTH KOREA OUT) People attend a silent procession to commemorate the victims of the MH17 on August 17, 2014 in Hilversum, Netherlands. Some 1,500 people attend the memorial service. (Photo by The Asahi Shimbun via Getty Images)
HILVERSUM, NETHERLANDS - AUGUST 17: (CHINA OUT, SOUTH KOREA OUT) People attend a silent procession to commemorate the victims of the MH17 on August 17, 2014 in Hilversum, Netherlands. Some 1,500 people attend the memorial service. (Photo by The Asahi Shimbun via Getty Images)
People place flowers under near photographs of victims during a memorial service in the Sint-Vitus church in Hilversum on August 17, 2014, to commemorate the 15 people from Hilversum who died in the crash of the Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 in the east of Ukraine on July 17, 2014. The Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 exploded over insurgent-held east Ukraine on July 17, killing all 298 on board, 193 of them Dutch, with the West accusing Russia-backed separatists of shooting it down and Moscow blaming Kiev. AFP PHOTO / ANP / SANDER KONING **NETHERLANDS OUT** (Photo credit should read Sander KONING/AFP/Getty Images)
NEWCASTLE UPON TYNE, ENGLAND - AUGUST 17: The Newcastle flag is half mast in honour of the two men (John Alder and Liam Sweeney) who lost their lives on Flight MH17 last month during the Barclays Premier League match between Newcastle United and Manchester City at St.James' Park on August 17, 2014, in Newcastle upon Tyne, England. (Photo by Serena Taylor/Newcastle United via Getty Images)
Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott speaks to bystanders during a visit to the Korporaal Van Oudheusden barracks in Hilversum, The Netherlands, on August 11, 2014, the location where the victims of flight MH17 are being identified. Abbott is visiting the Netherlands to discuss the progress of the investigation of Malaysian Airlines flight MH17. The Netherlands lost 193 citizens, while Australia lost 38 citizens and residents, when the Malaysia Airlines plane from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur was shot down over eastern Ukraine on July 17, killing all 298 on board. The West accuses pro-Russian separatists of shooting down the plane. AFP PHOTO / ANP / ROBIN VAN LONKHUIJSEN netherlands out (Photo credit should read ROBIN VAN LONKHUIJSEN/AFP/Getty Images)
Ukrainian tanks stand guard near a field on July 31, 2014 in the village of Debaltseve, in the Donetsk region, eastern Ukraine. Dutch and Australian experts accompanied by a team of international monitors reached today the crash site of downed Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 after days of fierce fighting that had stopped them reaching the area, had prevented them to determine the reason why the Boeing 777 crashed on July 17 with 298 people on board, and recover unaccounted for remains. AFP PHOTO / BULENT KILIC (Photo credit should read BULENT KILIC/AFP/Getty Images)
Ukrainian soldiers stand guard near their humvee and military truck on July 31, 2014 at a check-point in the village of Debaltseve, in the Donetsk region, eastern Ukraine. Dutch and Australian experts accompanied by a team of international monitors reached today the crash site of downed Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 after days of fierce fighting that had stopped them reaching the area, had prevented them to determine the reason why the Boeing 777 crashed on July 17 with 298 people on board, and recover unaccounted for remains. AFP PHOTO / BULENT KILIC (Photo credit should read BULENT KILIC/AFP/Getty Images)
Train operators wait inside one of the railway wagon which according to employees and local residents contains bodies of passengers of the Malaysia Airlines plane which crashed in eastern Ukraine three days ago, at a railway station on July 20, 2014 in the town of Torez. The missile system used to shoot down a Malaysian airliner was handed to pro-Russian separatists in Ukraine by Moscow, the top US diplomat said Sunday. AFP PHOTO/ BULENT KILIC (Photo credit should read BULENT KILIC/AFP/Getty Images)
TOREZ, UKRAINE - JULY 20: A refrigerated train car holding the bodies of passengers from Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 waits at the train station for transport to an unknown location on July 20, 2014 in Torez, 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 Brendan Hoffman/Getty Images)
TOREZ, UKRAINE - JULY 20: A refrigerated train car holding the bodies of passengers from Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 waits at the train station for transport to an unknown location on July 20, 2014 in Torez, 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 Brendan Hoffman/Getty Images)
TOREZ, UKRAINE - JULY 20: Refrigerated train cars holding the bodies of passengers from Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 wait at the train station for transport to an unknown location on July 20, 2014 in Torez, 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 Brendan Hoffman/Getty Images)
TOREZ, UKRAINE - JULY 20: Refrigerated train cars holding the bodies of passengers from Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 wait at the train station for transport to an unknown location on July 20, 2014 in Torez, 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 Brendan Hoffman/Getty Images)
TOREZ, UKRAINE - JULY 20: Refrigerated train cars holding the bodies of passengers from Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 wait at the train station for transport to an unknown location on July 20, 2014 in Torez, 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 Brendan Hoffman/Getty Images)
BERLIN, GERMANY - JULY 18: A temporary memorial for the 298 victims of shot down Malaysian jetliner Flight MH17 from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur the previous evening is seen outside of the embassy of the Netherlands, on July 18, 2014 in Berlin, Germany. 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 Adam Berry/Getty Images)
Pieces of wreckage of the Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 are pictured on July 18, 2014 in Shaktarsk, the day after it crashed. Flight MH17 from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur, which US officials believe was hit by a surface-to-air missile over Ukraine, killing all 298 people on board. AFP PHOTO / DOMINIQUE FAGET (Photo credit should read DOMINIQUE FAGET/AFP/Getty Images)
A picture taken on July 18, 2014 shows belongings of passengers on the site of the crash of the Malaysia Airlines jet carrying 298 people from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur a day after it crashed, near the town of Shaktarsk, in rebel-held east Ukraine. Pro-Russian rebels fighting central Kiev authorities claimed on July 17 that the Malaysian airline that crashed in Ukraine had been shot down by a Ukrainian jet. All 298 people on board Flight MH17 died when the plane crashed. AFP PHOTO /DOMINIQUE FAGET (Photo credit should read DOMINIQUE FAGET/AFP/Getty Images)
A piece of wreckage of the Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 is pictured on July 18, 2014 in Shaktarsk, the day after it crashed. Flight MH17 from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur, which US officials believe was hit by a surface-to-air missile over Ukraine, killing all 298 people on board. AFP PHOTO / DOMINIQUE FAGET (Photo credit should read DOMINIQUE FAGET/AFP/Getty Images)
A piece of wreckage of the Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 is pictured on July 18, 2014 in Shaktarsk, the day after it crashed. Flight MH17 from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur, which US officials believe was hit by a surface-to-air missile over Ukraine, killing all 298 people on board. AFP PHOTO / DOMINIQUE FAGET (Photo credit should read DOMINIQUE FAGET/AFP/Getty Images)
A piece of wreckage of the Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 is pictured on July 18, 2014 in Shaktarsk, the day after it crashed. Flight MH17 from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur, which US officials believe was hit by a surface-to-air missile over Ukraine, killing all 298 people on board. AFP PHOTO / DOMINIQUE FAGET (Photo credit should read DOMINIQUE FAGET/AFP/Getty Images)
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. Pro-Russian rebels fighting central Kiev authorities claimed on Thursday that the Malaysian airline that crashed in Ukraine had been shot down by a Ukrainian jet. AFP PHOTO/DOMINIQUE FAGET (Photo credit should read DOMINIQUE FAGET/AFP/Getty Images)
Relatives of passengers of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 get onto a bus at Schiphol Airport near Amsterdam, the Netherlands, on July 17, 2014, headed for an unkown destination after they received additional information about the Malaysia Airlines plane traveling from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur that crashed near the town of Shaktarsk, in rebel-held east Ukraine. A Malaysian airliner carrying 295 people from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur crashed on July 17 in rebel-held east Ukraine, as Kiev said the jet was shot down in a 'terrorist' attack. Ukraine's government and pro-Russian insurgents traded blame for the disaster, with comments attributed to a rebel commander suggesting his men may have downed Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 by mistake, believing it was a Ukrainian army transport plane. AFP PHOTO / ANP / OLAF KRAAK --NETHERLANDS OUT-- (Photo credit should read OLAF KRAAK/AFP/Getty Images)
Malaysia's Prime Minister Najib Razak (C) addresses a press conference at a hotel in Sepang, ouside Kuala Lumpur, on July 18, 2014, after Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 carrying 298 people from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur crashed in eastern Ukraine. A Malaysian airliner carrying 298 people from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur crashed on July 17 in rebel-held east Ukraine, as Kiev said the jet was shot down in a 'terrorist' attack. Ukraine's government and pro-Russian insurgents traded blame for the disaster, with comments attributed to a rebel commander suggesting his men may have downed Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 by mistake, believing it was a Ukrainian army transport plane. AFP PHOTO / MOHD RASFAN (Photo credit should read MOHD RASFAN/AFP/Getty Images)
Relatives of people onboard Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 from Amsterdam react outside the family holding area at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport in Sepang on July 18, 2014. A Malaysian airliner carrying 295 people from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur crashed on July 17 in rebel-held east Ukraine, as Kiev said the jet was shot down in a 'terrorist' attack. Ukraine's government and pro-Russian insurgents traded blame for the disaster, with comments attributed to a rebel commander suggesting his men may have downed Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 by mistake, believing it was a Ukrainian army transport plane. AFP PHOTO/ MANAN VATSYAYANA (Photo credit should read MANAN VATSYAYANA/AFP/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. Pro-Russian rebels fighting central Kiev authorities claimed on Thursday that the Malaysian airline that crashed in Ukraine had been shot down by a Ukrainian jet. The head of Ukraine's air traffic control agency said Thursday that the crew of the Malaysia Airlines jet that crashed in the separatist east had reported no problems during flight. (DOMINIQUE FAGET/AFP/Getty Images)
A man wearing military fatigues points 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. Pro-Russian rebels fighting central Kiev authorities claimed on Thursday that the Malaysian airline that crashed in Ukraine had been shot down by a Ukrainian jet. (DOMINIQUE FAGET/AFP/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. Pro-Russian rebels fighting central Kiev authorities claimed on Thursday that the Malaysian airline that crashed in Ukraine had been shot down by a Ukrainian jet. The head of Ukraine's air traffic control agency said Thursday that the crew of the Malaysia Airlines jet that crashed in the separatist east had reported no problems during flight. (DOMINIQUE FAGET/AFP/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. Pro-Russian rebels fighting central Kiev authorities claimed on Thursday that the Malaysian airline that crashed in Ukraine had been shot down by a Ukrainian jet. The head of Ukraine's air traffic control agency said Thursday that the crew of the Malaysia Airlines jet that crashed in the separatist east had reported no problems during flight. (DOMINIQUE FAGET/AFP/Getty Images)
People stand, 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. Pro-Russian rebels fighting central Kiev authorities claimed on Thursday that the Malaysian airline that crashed in Ukraine had been shot down by a Ukrainian jet. The head of Ukraine's air traffic control agency said Thursday that the crew of the Malaysia Airlines jet that crashed in the separatist east had reported no problems during flight. (DOMINIQUE FAGET/AFP/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. Pro-Russian rebels fighting central Kiev authorities claimed on Thursday that the Malaysian airline that crashed in Ukraine had been shot down by a Ukrainian jet. The head of Ukraine's air traffic control agency said Thursday that the crew of the Malaysia Airlines jet that crashed in the separatist east had reported no problems during flight. (DOMINIQUE FAGET/AFP/Getty Images)
People wearing military fatigues, stand on a road, on July 17, 2014 at the site of the crash of a Malaysian airliner carrying 295 people from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur, near the town of Shaktarsk, in rebel-held east Ukraine. Pro-Russian rebels fighting central Kiev authorities claimed on Thursday that the Malaysian airline that crashed in Ukraine had been shot down by a Ukrainian jet. The head of Ukraine's air traffic control agency said Thursday that the crew of the Malaysia Airlines jet that crashed in the separatist east had reported no problems during flight. (DOMINIQUE FAGET/AFP/Getty Images)
People stand 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. Pro-Russian rebels fighting central Kiev authorities claimed on Thursday that the Malaysian airline that crashed in Ukraine had been shot down by a Ukrainian jet. The head of Ukraine's air traffic control agency said Thursday that the crew of the Malaysia Airlines jet that crashed in the separatist east had reported no problems during flight. (DOMINIQUE FAGET/AFP/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. Pro-Russian rebels fighting central Kiev authorities claimed on Thursday that the Malaysian airline that crashed in Ukraine had been shot down by a Ukrainian jet. The head of Ukraine's air traffic control agency said Thursday that the crew of the Malaysia Airlines jet that crashed in the separatist east had reported no problems during flight. (DOMINIQUE FAGET/AFP/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. Pro-Russian rebels fighting central Kiev authorities claimed on Thursday that the Malaysian airline that crashed in Ukraine had been shot down by a Ukrainian jet. (DOMINIQUE FAGET/AFP/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. Pro-Russian rebels fighting central Kiev authorities claimed on Thursday that the Malaysian airline that crashed in Ukraine had been shot down by a Ukrainian jet. The head of Ukraine's air traffic control agency said Thursday that the crew of the Malaysia Airlines jet that crashed in the separatist east had reported no problems during flight. (DOMINIQUE FAGET/AFP/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. Pro-Russian rebels fighting central Kiev authorities claimed on Thursday that the Malaysian airline that crashed in Ukraine had been shot down by a Ukrainian jet. (DOMINIQUE FAGET/AFP/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. Pro-Russian rebels fighting central Kiev authorities claimed on Thursday that the Malaysian airline that crashed in Ukraine had been shot down by a Ukrainian jet. (DOMINIQUE FAGET/AFP/Getty Images)
People stand 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. Pro-Russian rebels fighting central Kiev authorities claimed on Thursday that the Malaysian airline that crashed in Ukraine had been shot down by a Ukrainian jet. (DOMINIQUE FAGET/AFP/Getty Images)
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. Pro-Russian rebels fighting central Kiev authorities claimed on Thursday that the Malaysian airline that crashed in Ukraine had been shot down by a Ukrainian jet. (DOMINIQUE FAGET/AFP/Getty Images)
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. Pro-Russian rebels fighting central Kiev authorities claimed on Thursday that the Malaysian airline that crashed in Ukraine had been shot down by a Ukrainian jet. (DOMINIQUE FAGET/AFP/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. Pro-Russian rebels fighting central Kiev authorities claimed on Thursday that the Malaysian airline that crashed in Ukraine had been shot down by a Ukrainian jet. (DOMINIQUE FAGET/AFP/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. Pro-Russian rebels fighting central Kiev authorities claimed on Thursday that the Malaysian airline that crashed in Ukraine had been shot down by a Ukrainian jet. (DOMINIQUE FAGET/AFP/Getty Images)
A picture taken on July 17, 2014 shows a Malaysia Airlines closed counter at the Schiphol airport near Amsterdam after a Malaysian airliner crashed in rebel-held eastern Ukraine. Malaysia Airlines said on July 17 it had 'lost contact' with one of its passenger planes whose last known position was over eastern Ukraine, amid speculation it had been shot down. The plane went missing with 239 passengers and crew on board and is now believed to have diverted off its flight path and crashed in the remote Indian Ocean. (OLAF KRAAK/AFP/Getty Images)
Malaysia's Prime Minister Najib Razak (C) addresses a press conference at a hotel in Sepang, ouside Kuala Lumpur, on July 18, 2014, after Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 carrying 298 people from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur crashed in eastern Ukraine. A Malaysian airliner carrying 298 people from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur crashed on July 17 in rebel-held east Ukraine, as Kiev said the jet was shot down in a 'terrorist' attack. Ukraine's government and pro-Russian insurgents traded blame for the disaster, with comments attributed to a rebel commander suggesting his men may have downed Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 by mistake, believing it was a Ukrainian army transport plane. AFP PHOTO / MOHD RASFAN (Photo credit should read MOHD RASFAN/AFP/Getty Images)
Relatives of people onboard Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 from Amsterdam react outside the family holding area at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport in Sepang on July 18, 2014. A Malaysian airliner carrying 295 people from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur crashed on July 17 in rebel-held east Ukraine, as Kiev said the jet was shot down in a 'terrorist' attack. Ukraine's government and pro-Russian insurgents traded blame for the disaster, with comments attributed to a rebel commander suggesting his men may have downed Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 by mistake, believing it was a Ukrainian army transport plane. AFP PHOTO/ MANAN VATSYAYANA (Photo credit should read MANAN VATSYAYANA/AFP/Getty Images)
A firefighter sprays water to extinguish a fire, on July 17, 2014 shows flames 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. There were 298 people, including 154 Dutch nationals, on board the Malaysia Airlines flight that crashed in strife-torn eastern Ukraine on Thursday, an official from the carrier said. AFP PHOTO/DOMINIQUE FAGET (Photo credit should read DOMINIQUE FAGET/AFP/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. Ukrainian authorities on Thursday declared the east of the country a no-fly zone after the plane crashed in the volatile region, European flight safety body Eurocontrol said. Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko pointedly called the disaster a 'terrorist act', and major airlines quickly announced plans to route planes away from the area. AFP PHOTO/ ALEXANDER KHUDOTEPLY (Photo credit should read Alexander KHUDOTEPLY/AFP/Getty Images)
Ukraine supporters hold national colors and a placard showing support for the families of the downed Malaysian Airlines flight, during a protest infront of the White House on July 17, 2014 in Washington, DC. The Malaysian Airlines passenger jet carrying nearly 300 passengers crashed in eastern Ukraine. AFP PHOTO/Mandel NGAN (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)
Relatives of passengers of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 get onto a bus at Schiphol Airport near Amsterdam, the Netherlands, on July 17, 2014, headed for an unkown destination after they received additional information about the Malaysia Airlines plane traveling from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur that crashed near the town of Shaktarsk, in rebel-held east Ukraine. A Malaysian airliner carrying 295 people from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur crashed on July 17 in rebel-held east Ukraine, as Kiev said the jet was shot down in a 'terrorist' attack. Ukraine's government and pro-Russian insurgents traded blame for the disaster, with comments attributed to a rebel commander suggesting his men may have downed Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 by mistake, believing it was a Ukrainian army transport plane. AFP PHOTO / ANP / OLAF KRAAK --NETHERLANDS OUT-- (Photo credit should read OLAF KRAAK/AFP/Getty Images)
A plane carrying coffins with the remains of victims of Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 sits on the tarmac at Schiphol International Airport in Amsterdam before flying to Malaysia on August 21, 2014. Malaysia will drape itself in black for a national day of mourning on August 22 as it welcomes home the first remains of its 43 citizens killed in the MH17 disaster. The MH17 plane was shot down over rebel-held eastern Ukraine on July 17 en route from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur, with the west blaming Russian-backed separatists, while Moscow blames Ukraine. AFP PHOTO / ANP / KOEN VAN WEEL == NETHERLANDS OUT == (Photo credit should read Koen van Weel/AFP/Getty Images)
A picture taken on August 18, 2014 shows a Malaysia Airlines A380 passenger plane on the tarmac at the Roissy-Charles-de-Gaulle airport, in Roissy-en-France. AFP PHOTO / KENZO TRIBOUILLARD (Photo credit should read KENZO TRIBOUILLARD/AFP/Getty Images)
This picture taken on August 18, 2014 shows a Malaysia Airlines A380 aircraft parked at the Roissy-Charles-de-Gaulle airport, in Roissy-en-France, on August 18, 2014. AFP PHOTO / KENZO TRIBOUILLARD (Photo credit should read KENZO TRIBOUILLARD/AFP/Getty Images)
HIDE CAPTION
SHOW CAPTION
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE

By PETER LEONARD

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) - 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.

Najib Razak, who addressed a middle-of-the-night news conference after speaking with leaders of Ukraine and the Netherlands, and to President Barack Obama, said "no stone will be left unturned" in finding out what happened to Flight 17 and the 298 people on board.

It is the second tragedy to hit Malaysia Airlines this year. Its Flight 370 disappeared March 8 while en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing. It has not been found, but the search has been concentrated in the Indian Ocean west of Australia.

"This is a tragic day in what has already been a tragic year for Malaysia," Najib said.

In both tragedies, the planes were the wide-bodied Boeing 777-200.

Najib said that Ukrainian authorities believe Flight 17, which was on its way from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur with 283 passengers and 15 crew, was shot down Thursday. Among the passengers were three infants.

A U.S. official said American intelligence authorities believe a surface-to-air missile took down the plane, but it is not clear who fired it. He said it appears unlikely the Ukrainian government, which has denied responsibility, shot down the plane because it doesn't have the capabilities. Pro-Russia separatists fighting the government have also denied any responsibility.

"At this stage, however, Malaysia is unable to verify the cause of this tragedy but we must, and we will, find out precisely what happened to this flight," Najib said. "If it transpires that the plane was indeed shot down we insist that the perpetrators must swiftly be brought to justice," he said.

At least 27 of the victims were Australian, and Prime Minister Tony Abbott said Friday that authorities owed it to the families of the dead to find out what happened.

"As things stand, this looks less like an accident than a crime. And if so, the perpetrators must be brought to justice," Abbott told parliament.

Najib said the aircraft flight route was declared safe by the International Civil Aviation Organization. The International Air Transportation Association had also stated that the air space that the aircraft was traversing was not subject to restrictions, he said. Besides, "Malaysia Airlines has confirmed that the aircraft did not make a distress call."

Still, a former head of airports security group BAA suggested that many airlines including Malaysia Airlines had continued to use the route despite warnings because it was shorter and cheaper.

"It is a busy aviation route and there have been suggestions that a notice was given to aviators telling airlines to avoid that particular area," said Norman Shanks, who is a professor of aviation security at Coventry University in England.

"But Malaysia Airlines, like a number of other carriers, have been continuing to use it because it is a shorter route, which means less fuel and therefore less money," he told The Associated Press.

Hours after the disaster, Malaysia Airlines announced all European flights will henceforth take an alternative route.

Najib said the Ukrainian government has promised a full and thorough investigation which will include Malaysian officials. He said they will also negotiate with rebels to "establish a humanitarian corridor to the crash site."

In his conversation with Obama, Najib said they agreed that "the investigation must not be hindered in any way. An international team must have full access to the crash site. And no one must interfere with the area, or move any debris, including the black box."

Earlier, several relatives of those on board the Malaysian airliner began arriving at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport to seek news of their loved ones.

A distraught Akmar Mohamad Noor said her older sister, who lives in Geneva, was on her way back to celebrate Eid with the family.

The 67-year-old sister has lived in Geneva for 30 years and last visited the family in Kuala Lumpur five years ago, she said.

"She was coming back from Geneva to celebrate (Eid) with us for the first time in 30 years," Akmar said in between sobs. "She called me just before she boarded the plane and said 'see you soon," Akmar said.

She said the family saw the news on TV and rushed to the airport to get details.

Several other angry relatives were shouting and demanding to see the passenger manifest but there was no official from Malaysian Airline present, and security guards prevented them from going into the airline's operating area.

"We have been waiting for four hours. We found out the news from international media. The Facebook is more efficient than MAS. It's so funny, they are a laughing stock," an angry young man told reporters. He declined to give his name.

U.S. Officials Say Missile Struck Flight In Ukraine

Read Full Story

Sign up for Breaking News by AOL to get the latest breaking news alerts and updates delivered straight to your inbox.

Subscribe to our other newsletters

Emails may offer personalized content or ads. Learn more. You may unsubscribe any time.