A Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 carrying 295 passengers crashed in eastern Ukraine Thursday, July 17.
According to ABC News, Ukrainian authorities told U.S. officials that everyone on the plane was “believed dead” and called the action “an act of terrorism.”
CNN reported that the flight, with 280 passengers and 15 crew members on board, went down near Torez, a town in the Donetsk region of eastern Ukraine near the Russian border, at about 33,000 feet. It was flying from Amsterdam to Kuala Lampur.
Malaysia Airlines has lost contact of MH17 from Amsterdam. The last known position was over Ukrainian airspace. More details to follow.
— Malaysia Airlines (@MAS) July 17, 2014
Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said he would not call this crash an “incident” or “disaster” but rather a “terrorist action.”
“We do not exclude that the plane was shot down and confirm that the Ukraine Armed Forces did not fire at any targets in the sky,” Poroshenko said.
The Kiev Foreign Ministry released a statement saying the plane had been “shot down.”
“According to the General Staff of Ukrainian Armed Forces, the airplane was shot down by the Russian Buk missile system as the liner was flying at an altitude of 33,000 feet,” the Ministry wrote. “Ukraine has no long-range air defense missile systems in this area. The plane was shot down because the Russian air defense systems was affording protection to Russian mercenaries and terrorists in this area. Ukraine will present the evidence of Russian military involvement into the Boeing crash.”
Richard Quest, an aviation expert from CNN, said that an aircraft flying at nearly 33,000 feet being shot down would be “extremely unusual” because people can clearly see from ground that it was a commercial plane.
“It looks like a commercial aircraft, it squawks a commercial aircraft. So something is absolutely appalling that’s gone on here,” Quest said.
The incident happened just days after a Ukrainian plane was shot down near the two countries’ borders.
Read also: Ukraine Suspects Russia Shot Down a Plane