Ukraine accuses pro-Russia rebels of downing Malaysian plane with 298 aboard

HRABOVE, Ukraine (AP) — Ukraine is accusing pro-Russian separatists of shooting down a Malaysia Airlines jet Thursday. The rebels are denying it.

Ukraine’s security services say two intercepted telephone conversations show the rebels were responsible, though neither recording could be independently verified. Ukraine’s U.N. ambassador alleges that Russia has supplied the separatists with a sophisticated missile system that can hit planes.

But, Russian President Vladimir Putin says Ukraine bears responsibility, saying: “this tragedy would not have happened if there were peace” in Ukraine and military actions had not been renewed.

Bodies and wreckage of the Boeing 777 were strewn over a field near a rebel-held village in the Donetsk region of eastern Ukraine, about 25 miles from the Russian border. There was no sign of any survivors.

Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 took off from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur with 298 people aboard, including three infants.

The White House is calling for a “full, credible and unimpeded international investigation.” It’s also urging Russia, the pro-Russian separatists and Ukraine to support an immediate cease-fire in order to ensure “safe and unfettered access to the crash site.”

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275-c-12-(Peter Leonard, AP correspondent)-“been shot down”-AP correspondent Peter Leonard reports Ukraine’s security services played what they said was an intercepted telephone conversation between a rebel commander and a Russian military intelligence officer. (17 Jul 2014)

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276-c-11-(Peter Leonard, AP correspondent)-“there any weapons?”-AP correspondent Peter Leonard reports another tape played by Ukraine’s security services purports to be a conversation between two rebel fighters who are trying to figure out what kind of plane was taken down by a unit of insurgents. (17 Jul 2014)

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277-c-17-(Peter Leonard, AP correspondent)-“22 thousand meters”-AP correspondent Peter Leonard reports the Malaysia Airlines plane would have been within the range of a powerful Russian-made radar-guided missile launcher. (17 Jul 2014)

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259-c-19-(Peter Leonard, AP correspondent)-“the plane down”-AP correspondent Peter Leonard reports separatists and the Ukrainian government are exchanging accusations over who shot down the Malaysia Airlines plane. (17 Jul 2014)

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261-c-19-(Peter Leonard, AP correspondent)-“going to have”-AP correspondent Peter Leonard reports the crash investigation is officially being handled by police in Ukraine’s rebel-held Donestk region. (17 Jul 2014)

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APPHOTO NYKS114: Fire engines arrive at the crash site of a passenger plane near the village of Hrabove, Ukraine, as the sun sets Thursday, July 17, 2014. Ukraine said a passenger plane carrying 295 people was shot down Thursday as it flew over the country, and both the government and the pro-Russia separatists fighting in the region denied any responsibility for downing the plane. (AP Photo/Dmitry Lovetsky) (17 Jul 2014)

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APPHOTO NYKS112: Relatives of passengers on flight MH17 wait in a bus to be transported to an unknown location to receive more information, at Schiphol airport in Amsterdam, Thursday, July 17, 2014. Ukraine said a passenger plane carrying 295 people was shot down Thursday as it flew over the country, and both the government and the pro-Russia separatists fighting in the region denied any responsibility for downing the plane. (AP Photo/Phil Nijhuis) (17 Jul 2014)

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APPHOTO NYKS109: A relative of passengers on flight MH17 cries as he waits in a bus to receive more information, at Schiphol airport in Amsterdam, Thursday, July 17, 2014. Ukraine said a passenger plane was shot down Thursday as it flew over the country, and both the government and the pro-Russia separatists fighting in the region denied any responsibility for downing the plane. (AP Photo/Phil Nijhuis) (17 Jul 2014)

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APPHOTO NYKS108: This image taken from video, Thursday July 17, 2014, shows a guidebook found in the wreckage of a passenger plane after it was shot down Thursday as it flew over Ukraine, near the village of Hrabove, in eastern Ukraine. Malaysia Airlines tweeted that it lost contact with one of its flights as it was traveling from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur over Ukrainian airspace. (AP Photo/Channel 1) RUSSIA OUT – TV OUT (17 Jul 2014)

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APPHOTO NYKS107: In this image taken from video, Thursday July 17, 2014, people walk amongst the debris at the crash site after a passenger plan was shot down Thursday as it flew over Ukraine, near the village of Hrabove, in eastern Ukraine. Malaysia Airlines tweeted that it lost contact with one of its flights as it was traveling from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur over Ukrainian airspace. (AP Photo/Channel 1) RUSSIA OUT – TV OUT (17 Jul 2014)

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APPHOTO NYKS106: A man walks amongst the debris at the crash site of a passenger plane near the village of Hrabove, Ukraine, Thursday, July 17, 2014. Ukraine said a passenger plane was shot down Thursday as it flew over the country, and both the government and the pro-Russia separatists fighting in the region denied any responsibility for downing the plane. (AP Photo/Dmitry Lovetsky) (17 Jul 2014)

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APPHOTO NYKS104: People inspect the crash site of a passenger plane near the village of Hrabove, Ukraine, Thursday, July 17, 2014. Ukraine said a passenger plane was shot down Thursday as it flew over the country, and both the government and the pro-Russia separatists fighting in the region denied any responsibility for downing the plane. (AP Photo/Dmitry Lovetsky) (17 Jul 2014)

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APPHOTO NYKS103: Ukrainian rescuers walk past debris at the crash site of a passenger plane near the village of Hrabove, Ukraine, Thursday, July 17, 2014. Ukraine said a passenger plane was shot down Thursday as it flew over the country, and both the government and the pro-Russia separatists fighting in the region denied any responsibility for downing the plane. (AP Photo/Dmitry Lovetsky) (17 Jul 2014)

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