Personnel from the Ukrainian Emergencies Ministry load the bodies of victims of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 into a truck at the crash site. Credit: Getty Images.
Update, 5:23 p.m. Easter, Monday , July 21: Today Ukrainian separatists agreed to hand over the flight data recorders from MH17 and allow the bodies of the victims to leave the area on trains, .
Update, 10 a.m., Monday, July 21: Here's what you might have missed over the weekend:
• pro-Russia rebels in the area where MH17 crashed of blocking investigators access to the crash site.
• This weekend was filled with reports of people looting the crash site. And rebel leader Alexander Borodai Flight 17's flight data recorders (black boxes). International observers are worried that the integrity of the crash site is already compromised.
• MH17 had initially requested to fly over Ukraine at 35,000 feet, but because of air traffic in the area, was told to fly at 33,000 feet instead. (Because of the ongoing conflict, Ukraine requested planes not to fly through its airspace at altitudes lower than 32,000 feet.)
• The that a Ukrainian warplane flew within 5 km (3 mi) of MH17 on the day the airlines was shot down.
Update, 2:44 p.m. Eastern, Friday, July 18: Today the Ukrainian government of wire taps that it claims proves a connection between pro-Russia separatists and the attack on MH17.
Getty Images has released more crash site pictures:
Update, 1:30 p.m. Eastern, Friday, July 18: During a press conference today, President Obama addressed the crash and the deteriorating situation in Ukraine. He confirmed that "evidence indicates the plane was shot down by a surface-to-air missile in area controlled by Russian-backed separatists," and said that separatists there wouldn't be able to hit a plane flying at 33,000 feet without sophisticated equipment made in Russia. However, the President said, it's too early to guess the motives of the attackers. "This will be a wakeup call to Europe and world" that the Ukraine conflict cannot be contained or localized, he said.
Update, 4:46 p.m. Eastern: , the United States can confirmed that MH17 was shot down. Vice President Joe Biden has offered Ukraine any assistance the U.S. can offer.
Update 4 p.m. Eastern: While world leaders try to get a handle on what happened today, numerous countries and airlines have publicly stated they will avoid Ukrainian airspace. That list now includes at least British Airways, Lufthansa, Turkish Airways, Transaero, Aeroflot, and Delta Airlines. France has told its planes to detour around the area.
From The Independent:
Update 2:14 Eastern: Ukrainian President Poroshenko said he believes this was a "terrorist act." Meanwhile, the White House says President Obama has spoken with Russian President Putin about the 777 crash. Obama has said it's still undetermined whether any Americans were on board.
PM contributor Joe Pappalardo explains the long history of attacks by Russian-made anti-aircraft missiles.
Update, 1:36 Eastern: New pictures of the crash site via Getty Images:
Update, 1:20 Eastern: Reuters and others are posting some graphic images of the crash site:
Update, 12:28 Eastern: Ukrainian rebel groups denied allegations that they had shot down Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, saying they don't have the technology to reach a jet flying at 10 km of altitude (approximately 33,000 feet). However, the Ukrainian government says the plane was shot down by a Buk surface-to-air missile, which can reach that altitude, and says the rebels have that technology.
Meanwhile, bodies and wreckage of the plane have appeared , Reuters reports.
Update, 12:13 Eastern: Anton Gerashenko, an adviser to Ukraine's Interior Minister, that the Malaysia Airlines 777 was shot down by a fired by Ukrainian separatists.
A Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 has crashed in eastern Ukraine today in an area controlled by separatist rebels. The jet was carrying 295 people. Malaysia Airlines is providing no more details at the moment other than to that the plane was lost. However, a Ukrainian government source as saying the plane was shot down.
This disaster, of course, follows the months-long fruitless search for the lost Malaysia Airlines Flight 370.
More details to come.