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Boeing crashed in Ukraine made no contact with Russian air traffic controllers

July 17, 2014, 21:49 UTC+3 DONETSK
On July 8, Ukraine’s Air Transportation Service officially closed the airspace over the Donetsk and Luhansk Regions “for security reasons”
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© ITAR-TASS/Stanislav Krasilnikov

Infographics Boeing 777 crash in Ukraine Boeing 777 crash in Ukraine
Malaysia Airlines’ Boeing 777 crashed in the Donetsk region of Ukraine. 280 passengers and 15 crewmembers have died. Infographics by ITAR-TASS
DONETSK, July 17. /ITAR-TASS/. No civil flights can be made over the embattled Donetsk and Luhansk Regions in the east of Ukraine since the ground infrastructure there has been destroyed, a representative of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic (DNR) told ITAR-TASS on Thursday, July 17, following the crash of a Malaysia Airlines Boeing-777 passenger plane in the region.

“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.

A source in the Russian Federal Agency for Air Transportation said the plane’s crew had not contacted Russian air traffic controllers. The plane was supposed to fly through Ukraine and Russia on the way to Kuala Lumpur.

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 source in the Russian Defense Ministry said Russian combat planes had made no flights in the area adjacent to the Donetsk Region on Thursday. “There were no flights by Russian combat planes today on Russian territory, including in regions adjacent to the Donetsk Region. This can easily be proved by air data recorders,” he 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.

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