"The plane was shot down by the Ukrainian side," said Serhiy Kavtaradze, a member of the rebels' security council, according to the Russia's Interfax news agency. "We simply do not have such air defense systems." He said rebels' shoulder-launched antiaircraft missiles "have a firing range of only 3,000 to 4,000 meters" and that passenger jets fly at much higher altitudes.


Andrei Purgin, the first deputy prime minister of the Donetsk People's Republic, said the Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 could have been brought down by Ukrainian forces... He denied that the rebels possess the SA-17 Buk air-defense as Kiev alleges.

However, the Associated Press reported that a similar launcher was seen by the agency's journalists near the eastern Ukrainian town of Snizhne earlier Thursday. The Buk missile system can fire missiles up to an altitude of 22,000 meters (72,000 feet), AP said.

Update: See President Putin's plane might have been the target for Ukrainian missile.

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