Seeking who shot down Malaysian plane, leaders demand credible investigation in Ukraine
ROZSYPNE, Ukraine (AP) -- World leaders are demanding that pro-Russia rebels who control the eastern Ukraine crash site of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 give immediate, unfettered access to independent investigators.
The first international investigators at the scene weren't given full access. The delegation, mostly from Europe, was allowed to make just a partial, superficial inspection, before being ordered to leave -- an order that was enforced with a warning shot from a rifle.
The monitors found the bodies of victims strewn on the ground in the crash area, which covers eight square miles between two villages near the Russian border.
U.S. officials say the plane, with 298 passengers and crew, was likely brought down by a ground-to-air missile.
The White House and the Kremlin are both calling for peace talks between Ukraine and the separatists. But heavy fighting was reported less than 60 miles from the crash site today, with an estimated 20 civilians reported killed.
A Kremlin statement early Friday said Putin opened a meeting with his economic advisers by calling for a moment of silence over the crash.
Then, he said, "This tragedy would not have happened if there were peace on this land, if the military actions had not been renewed in southeast Ukraine. And, certainly, the state over whose territory this occurred bears responsibility for this awful tragedy."
HRABOVE, Ukraine (AP) -- Ukraine's security services produced what they said were two intercepted telephone conversations that they said showed rebels were responsible for downing a Malaysian airliner.
In the first call, the security services said, rebel commander Igor Bezler tells a Russian military intelligence officer that rebel forces shot down a plane Thursday.
In the second, two rebel fighters -- one of them at the scene of the crash -- say the rocket attack was carried out by a unit of insurgents about 25 kilometers (15 miles) north of the crash site.
Neither recording could be independently verified.
One of the fighters, who states he is at the site of where the plane came to the ground, describes seeing scattered debris. He later describes finding the documents of somebody he identifies as an Indonesian national studying at "Thompson University."
HRABOVE, Ukraine (AP) -- A Russian news agency has quoted a leader of eastern Ukraine's pro-Russia rebels as saying they intend to call a three-day cease fire to allow an investigation of the crash of a Malaysian airliner.
The RIA-Novosti agency on Thursday quoted rebel leader Alexander Borodai as saying discussions were underway with Ukrainian authorities on calling the short truce for humanitarian reasons.
He said international organizations would be allowed into the conflict-plagued region.
GRABOVO, Ukraine (AP) -- An Associated Press journalist has counted at least 22 bodies at the plane wreckage site in eastern Ukraine involving a Malaysia Airlines commercial flight.
The plane appeared to have broken up before impact and the wreck is scattered over a wide area in the eastern Ukraine village of Grabovo.
The field around the burning wreck was strewn with body parts and the belongings of the passengers Thursday.
Malaysia Airlines has said 295 people were aboard the flight from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur.
KIEV, Ukraine (AP) -- Separatist rebels in the eastern Ukrainian city of Donetsk have denied that they are responsible for shooting down a Malaysia Airlines passenger plane.
Andrei Purgin, deputy prime minister for the rebels, told The Associated Press the plane must have been shot down by Ukrainian government troops. He gave no proof for his statement, and Ukraine earlier denied shooting at any airborne targets.
A Ukrainian official said a passenger plane carrying 295 people was shot down Thursday over eastern Ukraine.
KIEV, Ukraine (AP) -- Ukraine's president says his country's armed forces did not shoot at any airborne targets, after reports that a Malaysian Airlines plane went down over Ukraine.
President Petro Poroshenko says Thursday "we do not exclude that this plane was shot down, and we stress that the Armed Forces of Ukraine did not take action against any airborne targets."
Poroshenko said "we are sure that those who are guilty in this tragedy will be held responsible."
KIEV, Ukraine (AP) -- A Ukrainian official said a Malaysian passenger plane carrying 295 people was shot down Thursday over a town in the east of the country.
Anton Gerashenko, an adviser to Ukraine's Interior Minister, said on his Facebook page the plane was flying at an altitude of 10,000 meters (33,000 feet) when it was hit by a missile fired from a Buk launcher. A similar launcher was seen by Associated Press journalists near the eastern Ukrainian town of Snizhne earlier Thursday.
Malaysia Airlines said on its Twitter feed that it "has lost contact of MH17 from Amsterdam. The last known position was over Ukrainian airspace. More details to follow."