Pro-Russia rebels on Friday said they have recovered the black boxes from the wreckage of the Malaysian plane blown by a missile over eastern Ukraine, killing all 298 people on board, including 100 world-renowned AIDS researchers and activists.
Russian news agency Interfax said that pro-Russia rebels have claimed to have recovered the black box of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 and had announced that they are planning to have it moved to Moscow for examination.
The Ukrainian government and the pro-Russian separatists in the east of the country have blamed each other for the alleged shooting down of the plane on Thursday.
Pro-Russian rebels have agreed to give international investigators access to the crash site of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 and allow the recovery of bodies scattered over a vast stretch of farmland.
“Rebels in eastern Ukraine will continue fighting in all areas except for the site of the Malaysian plane crash site,” a rebel commander was quoted as saying by the RIA Novosti.
The Boeing 777 -- carrying 298 people -- was en route from Amsterdam to the Malaysian capital, Kuala Lampur, when it crashed on Thursday in eastern Ukraine, near the Russian border.
Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko accused “terrorists” of downing the jet, referring to pro-Russian separatists. “Terrorists have killed almost 300 persons with one shot,” Poroshenko said. “Among them are women, children, citizens of different countries of the world.”
However, the Russian defense ministry said it had picked up radar unit activity from a Ukrainian-controlled ‘Buk’ missile system on the day the Malaysian airliner crashed.
Meanwhile, Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak on Friday demanded that perpetrators must swiftly be brought to justice. “This is a tragic day in what has already been a tragic year for Malaysia. The flight’s passengers were from many nations but we are all united in grief,” Najib said.
About 100 of those killed in the crash were world-renowned AIDS researchers and activists heading to Australia for a global AIDS conference.
Image: A pro-Russian separatist looks at wreckage from the nose section of a Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 plane which was downed near the village of Rozsypne, in the Donetsk region, Ukraine. Photograph: Maxim Zmeyev/Reuters