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Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 was shot down

The U.S. has confirmed that a missile was fired at Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 as it flew over Ukrainian airspace, although the party responsible is not yet known. Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko accepted an offer from Vice President Joe Biden to send a team of U.S. experts to Ukraine to aid the investigation.
By JC Finley   |   July 17, 2014 at 5:38 PM   |   Comments

WASHINGTON, July 17 (UPI) -- Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 was shot down by a surface-to-air missile over Ukrainian airspace on Thursday.

The Wall Street Journal first reported the cause of the crash as a missile strike, citing unidentified U.S. intelligence sources. The sources did not specify which entity -- Ukraine, pro-Russian separatists, or Russia -- fired the missile.

An unnamed senior U.S. official told the Washington Post that U.S. intelligence agencies had confirmed the plane was downed by a surface-to-air missile and that analysts were working to determine the party responsible.

U.S. Vice President Joe Biden confirmed the plane was shot down, emphasizing it was "not an accident, blown out of the sky."

The Boeing 777, with 295 people aboard, crashed into Ukraine's restive eastern region, where pro-Russian armed separatists are battling Ukrainian armed forces for control of the area. "This is a contested area," the U.S. official told the Post. "It's going to take time to get some information on the intentions of whoever was involved."

President Barack Obama said Thursday, "The United States will offer any assistance we can to help determine what happened, and why." Biden later reported that an offer of assistance had been accepted by Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko; a team of experts "will be on their way rapidly to see if we can get to the bottom of this."

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