At least 298 passengers died on Thursday the 17th of July 2014, when Malaysian airlines flight 17 crashed under unclear circumstances near Donetsk. Facts that are clear so far are:
- The flight was Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, a scheduled flight from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur which departed at 12:15 pm local time and was scheduled in to Kuala Lumpur at 6:10 am local, Malaysia time.
- The aircraft was a Boeing 777-200 aircraft. No distress call was made by the airliner.
- The crash occurred in Eastern Ukraine near the Ukraine-Russia border. The airline was informed by Ukrainian air traffic control at 1415 (GMT) that it lost contact with the aircraft at an airway point named Tamak, 50 kilometers from the Russia-Ukraine border.
- Contrary to earlier reports, there were 298 passengers on board. Everyone on board was killed.
- Passenger nationalities reported by Malaysia Airline include 154 from the Netherlands, 43 Malaysia (including 15 crew and 2 infants), 27 Australia, 12 Indonesia (including 1 infant), 9 United Kingdom, 4 Germany, 4 Belgium, 3 Philippines, 1 Canada and 41 unverified.
The Ukrainian Committee for Human Rights expresses its deepest condolences to the victims, who died on flight MH17.
It remains unclear if the plane was shot down by one of the armed factions or crashed by technical problems. Directly after the plane was lost from radar, the Ukrainian government released a statement blaming the rebels in the east for shooting down the airplane with a Buk-M1 SAM system. However there is no evidence that the rebels are really in possession of a Buk-M1 system. Previous downing of Ukrainian military airplanes were made from lower heights with so called MANPADs. The Ukrainian General Persecutor and the rebels themselves stated after the downing that the rebels are not in possession of a Buk-M1 SAM system and lacking knowledge of operating such a system. The rebels blamed the Ukrainian Government for downing the airplane. It is known that the Ukrainian Army possessed Buk-M1 systems and operated those in the area. The Russian military confirmed these information and released a statement in which they showed an Ukrainian SU-25 fighter jet near MA17 on radar screens.
The Ukrainian Committee for Human Rights asks both groups – the Ukrainian Government and the fighters of the self proclaimed Peoples Republic of Donetsk and Lugansk – to do anything possible to support an international investigation in the case. We are also asking both parties to refrain from speculations and accusations of the other factions. The international investigation committee has to be granted full access to all material and the crash site. We are asking the fighters of the self proclaimed Peoples Republic of Donetsk and Lugansk to give full and free access to the crash site. And we also ask the Ukrainian authorities to hand over the air traffic control audio records that have according to the BBC been seized by the Ukrainian secret service SBU.