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Malaysia Airlines plane with 295 passengers 'shot down' over Ukraine


An armed pro-Russian separatist stands on part of the wreckage of the Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 plane after it crashed near the settlement of Grabovo in the Donetsk region, July 17, 2014. Photo - Maxim Zmeyev/Reuters

Kiev: A Malaysian passenger airliner with 295 people on board crashed in Ukraine near the Russian border on Thursday, the Interfax news agency cited an aviation industry source as saying.

The Boeing plane was flying from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur, it said. Reuters could not immediately confirm the report.

The Interfax report said the plane came down 50 km short of entering Russian airspace. It "began to drop, afterwards it was found burning on the ground on Ukrainian territory," the unnamed source said.

The plane appeared to have come down in a region of military action where Ukrainian government forces are battling pro-Russian separatists.

A separate unnamed source in the Ukrainian security apparatus, quoted by Interfax, said the plane disappeared from radar at a height of 10,000 metres after which it came down near the town of Shakhtyorsk.

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said on Thursday that the Malaysia Airlines jet that crashed over rebel-held eastern Ukraine may have been shot down.

"We do not exclude that the plane was shot down and confirm that the Ukraine Armed Forces did not fire at any targets in the sky," Poroshenko said in a statement posted on the president's website.

Malaysia Airlines confirmed it has lost contact of MH17 from Amsterdam. "The last known position was over Ukrainian airspace," the airline said on its official twitter account while adding more details to follow.

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