EASTERN UKRAINE – Interfax news agency is reporting a Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 with 295 people on board has crashed on Thursday near the border between Russia and Ukraine.
According to CNN the passenger jet was at a cruising altitude at 32,000 feet flying from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur. Aviation expert Mary Schiavo said that while plane was flying over a troubled area, for someone to mistake the passenger airliner as a hostile aircraft in-between Russia and Ukraine is difficult to imagine. Schiavo said there is no correlation between this flight and Malaysia flight MH370 that disappeared on March 8 that was also flying to Kuala Lumpur.
A defense expert told the BBC that shooting down a plane at an altitude of 32,000 would have required a long-range surface-to-air missile that may have been guided by radar.
Adviser to Ukraine’s Interior Minister, Anton Gerashenko wrote on his Facebook page that he thought the plane was hit by a missile fired by a Buk Launcher according to the Associated Press.
Meanwhile, the UK Foreign Office said they are “urgently working to establish what happened.”
The crash occurred over the skies of Ukraine amid increasing tension between Russia and Ukraine. It was in February when former pro-Russian President Viktor Yanukovych was ousted for refusing to sign a deal with the European Union for closer ties with Russia.
In March, Russia reacted to the snub by sending troops into the region of Crimea that led to Russian President Vladimir Putin successfully annexing the Ukraine southern region.
Ukraine President Petro Poroshenko was sworn in as president of Ukraine on June 7 in hopes he could put an end to the violence in east Ukraine. However the conflict is continuing as pro-Russian separatists continue attempts to takeover Ukraine airports, government buildings and other Ukraine territory.
According to the UN, it estimates that more than 420 people were killed during the highest level of violence in the conflict between April 15 and June 20.