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Malaysian Airlines 777 Goes Down Over Ukraine
By Harold Hutchison

A Malaysian Airlines Boeing 777 carrying 295 people went down over the Ukraine earlier today. The airliner, the second 777 to be lost by Malaysian Airlines this year had been flying the passengers from Amsterdam to Kuala Lampur.

According to media reports, some sources in the Ukrainian government are claiming that the airliner was shot down by a Buk surface-to-air missile. The Buk, also known as the SA-11 Gadfly or SA-17 Grizzly, had reportedly been deployed into areas of the Ukraine held by pro-Russian separatists, who began an uprising after Viktor Yanukovych was deposed in a popular revolt earlier this year.

The Ukrainian government had been making gains in eastern Ukraine, where pro-Russian insurgents had been controlling oblasts, including Donetsk, where Malaysian Airlines Flight MH17 has apparently gone down near the village of Torez. Pro-Russian separatists took control of Crimea this past spring.

Boeing 777
(NASA photo)

Several Ukrainian planes, including a cargo plane and a Su-25 ground-attack plane, were reportedly downed by surface-to-air missiles. The cargo plane was reportedly flying at 21,000 feet, well above the range of man-portable surface-to-air missiles.

If this is a shootdown, this would not be the first time that Russia has downed an airliner. In 1983, a Russian Su-15 Flagon shot down Korean Air Lines Flight 007, a Boring 747, killing all aboard. In 1978, another Su-15 downed a KAL Boeing 707, with two fatalities.