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“All passenger flights are controlled from Kiev. How a plane could end up there is a mystery,” he said.
“The communication tower, which is a part of the integrated air traffic control system, was blown up during fighting. Planes cannot fly here,” the official said.
On July 8, Ukraine’s Air Transportation Service officially closed the airspace over the Donetsk and Luhansk Regions “for security reasons”.
The plane was flying at an altitude of 10,000 km and was supposed to enter Russia’s airspace at 17:20 Moscow time (13:20 UTC). Malaysian Airlines confirmed that it had lost contact with the plane over Ukraine.
Ukraine’s air navigation service said there were 280 people and 15 crewmembers aboard the plane.
Russia’s Emergencies Ministry has offered Ukraine assistance in addressing the consequences of a deadly Boeing crash in the Donetsk Region in eastern Ukraine, Russian Emergencies Minister Vladimir Puchkov said Thursday.
A source in the aviation circles told ITAR-TASS that up to 300 people could have been travelling with that flight. “It crashed 60 km from the border. Its emergency locator beacon sent a signal,” the official said.
A competent source cited air data as indicating that the Ukrainian army’s Buk air defense battalion had been moved to the Donetsk area on Wednesday, July 16. Another such battalion is getting ready for redeployment in Kharkiv.
The source said aircraft flying at altitudes higher than 10,000 meters could be reached only by weapons like S-300 or Buk systems. The militia does not have and cannot have such weapons, the source said.
A spokesperson for the self-proclaimed Luhansk People’s Republic (LNR) also confirmed that “militias in the proclaimed republics in the east of Ukraine have no Buk air defense systems”.On October 4, 2001, a Tu-154M passenger plane belonging to Russia’s Sibir airline and flying from Tel Aviv to Novosibirsk crashed over the Black Sea. According to the Interstate Aviation Committee’s findings, the plane was shot down by a Ukrainian S-200 missile fired during military exercises in Crimea. All 66 passengers and 12 crewmembers died.
The plane was flying at an altitude of 11,100 meters along the B-145 international route which was not subject to any restrictions, including temporary ones that were in effect for the duration of the military maneuvers in Ukraine.