KIEV (AFP) – A social media site attributed to a top Ukrainian rebel commander said the insurgents had shot down an army transporter at the location where a Malaysia Airlines plane crashed Thursday near the Russian border.
No sign of survivors at east Ukraine airliner crash site
The comments by the top military commander of the self-proclaimed “Donetsk People’s Republic” suggest the separatists had shot down the Malaysia Airlines plane by mistake, believing it was a large Ukrainian army transport plane.
“We just downed an An-26 near Torez. It is down near the Progress mine,” said the VK page attributed to Igor Strelkov, which is frequently quoted by Ukrainian media.
The rebels shot down another An-26 in rebel-held eastern Ukraine on June 14, killing 49 government servicemen.
“We had warned (the Ukrainian armed forces) not to fly in ‘our sky’,” Strelkov says in the post.
“And here is a video confirming that a ‘bird fell’,” said the post.
The website then provides a link that is identical to that published by Ukrainian media in reports about the Malaysia Airlines jet.
The video shows locals referring to the Progress coal mine mentioned by Strelkov.