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MH17: Signals intercepts reveal rebels claiming responsibility

July 18, 2014 22:30 IST

Ukraine's security agency has claimed that they have intercepted phone calls between Russian military officers and pro-Russian separatists with the rebels claiming responsibility for shooting down a Malaysian plane killing all 298 people on board, a media report said on Friday.

The Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 flight MH17 was blown up over Eastern Ukraine by a sophisticated BAK surface-to-air missile believed to be fired by pro-Russia rebels.

One of the calls apparently was made at 4.40 pm Kiev time, or 20 minutes after the plane crash, by a separatist identified as Igor Bezler, to a separatist commander and Russian intelligence officer Vasili Geranin, the Kyiv Post reported.

In the transcript released by Ukraine's security agency SBU, Bezler says: “We have just shot down a plane. It fell down beyond Yenakievo (Donetsk Oblast)."

"The plane fell apart in the air. In the area of Petropavlovskaya mine. The first 200. We have found the first 200 - a civilian," Major says, referring to the codeword for a dead person, it said.

The second intercepted signal was apparently between militants codenamed "Major" and "Greek" immediately upon inspection of the crash site.

"It's 100 per cent a passenger (civilian) aircraft," Major is recorded as saying, as he admitted to seeing no weapons on site. "Absolutely nothing. Civilian items, medicinal stuff, towels, toilet paper," according to the transcript.

The paper also posted part of a third conversation between "Cossack commander Nikolay Kozitsin" and an unidentified militant.

"They say on TV it's AN-26 transport plane, but they say it's written Malaysia Airlines on the plane. What was it doing on Ukraine's territory?"

Kozitsin replies: "That means they were carrying spies. They shouldn't be f***ing flying. There is a war going on."

Military analysts have speculated that militants mistook the passenger jet for a military aircraft.

Image: Officials pour water on the burning debris of Flight MH17 Photographs: Maxim Zmeyev/Reuters

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