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Two NATO aircrafts on combat duty in Romania, Poland during MH17 crash

July 18, 2014, 17:10 UTC+3 BRUSSELS

All the 283 passengers and a fifteen-strong crew were killed

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BRUSSELS, July 18. /ITAR-TASS/. A total of two jets of the Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS) were on combat duty in the airspace over Romania and Poland Thursday at the moment the Boeing 777 jet of the Malaysian Airlines crashed in highly controversial circumstances in eastern Ukraine, a NATO source told ITAR-TASS.

The Boeing 777 that was performing a flight from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur crashed on the territory of the much-troubled east-Ukrainian Donetsk region, some 50 kilometers away from the Ukrainian-Russia border. All the 283 passengers and a fifteen-strong crew were killed.

The collapse of parts of the disintegrated jet was witnessed by dozens of people of the ground, with many of them saying the fallout of the debris had been preceded by two or three loud explosions, the sound of which came from the skies.

The Donetsk region is swept by a military operation the Ukrainian authorities are conducting against local self-defense forces and supporters of federalization of the country. It has claimed the lives of several hundred civilians to date and has turned hundreds of thousands of others into refugees.

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