Though nothing is yet confirmed, suspicions are being voiced
The crash of Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 in eastern Ukraine, killing all 298 people on board, is yet to be officially explained.
And it will almost certainly require a forensic investigation of the scene before the facts can be established.
Yet some of those with most expertise and closest to the crisis have spoken out about their suspicions.
While most governments have officially held back from making any accusations in such a fraught political situation, a range of commentators are providing insights into what may have occurred.
The widespread belief at the moment is that a BUK missile launcher was probably used to shoot down the Boeing 777.
The BUK is a Russian-made surface-to-air missile launcher designed to take down aircraft.
Anton Herashchenko, an adviser to the Ukrainian interior minister, has supported the view that a BUK shot down the plane.
Herashchenko also says the plane was flying at 10,000m, the BBC reports. That would mean it was flying only 300m above restricted airspace.
However, there is the possibility that even though a missile may have been launched purposefully, Russian-backed rebel fighters (or another party) may have intended to shoot a military rather than a commercial aeroplane.
Here’s what a range of experts and those closest to the situation are saying.
You might also want to read our summary of how world leaders & UK leaders have reacted to the crisis.
Former ambassador to Russia, Sir Tony Brenton
Brenton told the told BBC: “The assumption has to be Ukrainian rebels – who have shot down a number of Ukrainian military aircraft – may well have shot down this airliner, presumably by mistake.”
Alleged transcripts between pro-Russian separatists in Ukraine
The Ukrainian authorities have published what they are saying are transcripts between pro-Russian separatists and Russian military, which the BBC has published in full, though it cannot yet confirm whether the recordings are authentic.
You can read the transcript in full here.
It seems to suggest the alleged separatists shot down the plane, but it’s not clear what the intended target was. From the seemingly surprised reactions of the alleged fighters, though, it would seem that if this recording is authentic, it may well have been a mistake that a commercial rather than military aeroplane was hit.
Again, the authenticity of the recording has not been confirmed.
Here is the video of the recording:
Hillary Clinton, former US Secretary of State
Hillary Clinton has said it “probably had to be” Russian insurgents. “The questions I’d be asking is, number one, who could have shot it down? Who had the equipment? It’s obviously an anti-aircraft missile. Who could have had the expertise to do that? Because commercial airlines are big targets, but by the time they got over that part of Ukraine they should have been high, so it takes some planning.
“And the Ukrainian government has been quick to blame it on terrorists, which is their name for the Russian insurgents. And there does seem to be some growing awareness that it probably had to be Russian insurgents.”
Andrew Brooke, a retired fighter pilot
Andrew Brooke, a retired fighter pilot, told the BBC: “The Russian military I can’t believe would have done this. The question therefore is: has the Russian military given this kit, if you like, to the babies, has it given it to the goons? Who have enough technology to switch it on, but no understanding of what they’re doing.”
The White House
The White House said in a statement: “While we do not yet have all the facts, we do know that this incident occurred in the context of a crisis in Ukraine that is fuelled by Russian support for the separatists, including through arms, material and training.”
Joe Biden, US vice-president
Biden held back from overtly blaming any party, but said MH17 had “apparently had been shot down. Shot down, not an accident. Blown out of the sky”.
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MH17 crash: Hillary Clinton says it “probably had to be” Russian insurgents
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