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Large-scale investigation of Malaysian airliner crash in Ukraine starts

On Thursday, a Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 flying from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur crashed in south-eastern Ukraine with 298 people onboard

KIEV/MOSCOW, July 18. /ITAR-TASS/. A large-scale investigation into the crash of a Malaysia Airlines passenger plane Boeing 777 has begun. The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), Malaysia, the Netherlands, Russia, Ukraine and self-defense forces in the south-east of the country, as well as the United States, stated that they are prepared to assist in investigation. Meanwhile, the European Organization for the Safety of Air Navigation (Eurocontrol) has closed the Ukrainian air space for civilian airplanes.

Malaysia Airlines passenger plane Boeing 777 was flying from the Dutch city of Amsterdam to the Malaysian capital of Kuala Lumpur. The airliner crashed in east Ukraine’s Donetsk region on Thursday. A total of 298 people, including all passengers and crewmembers, died in the crash. According to preliminary reports, the airliner was carrying 71 Dutchmen, 23 passengers from the United States, nine British citizens and four Frenchmen among others. No Russians were on board the airliner, Russian Emergencies Minister Vladimir Puchkov said.

The Kiev authorities accused Russia and Ukrainian militias of being involved in the plane crash. However, the Russian military and east Ukraine's self-defense forces denied the allegations, stating that the militia do not have weapons that can hit airplanes flying at high altitude.

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko demanded to set up a state committee involving ICAO specialists and representatives of the Netherlands and Malaysia to probe into the airplane tragedy. “Ukrainian military forces did not take any actions to hit air targets,” the Ukrainian presidential press service said.

For his part, Chairman of the Supreme Council Presidium of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic Denis Pushilin believes that Ukrainian armed forces were connected to the air crash in east Ukraine.

“We intend to believe that this was done by Ukrainian military forces,” he said. “The Donetsk People’s Republic is ready to permit international specialists to conduct a more detailed and quicker investigation of the air crash. This is in our interests. We do not feel our guilt for this. We do not have specific radar stations or specialists,” he said.

The Malaysian Defense Ministry does not have confirmations that this airliner had been downed. Malaysia's Defense Minister Hishammuddin Hussein said that authorities were still checking coming reports.

The US does not have any information about details of the air crash, White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest stated. US Transportation Security Administration told ITAR-TASS that they were collecting information about the incident.