"History is a capricious creature.
It depends on who writes it."
Unnamed US officials are telling Associated Press that their intelligence suggests Malaysia plane shot down by anti-Kiev militia, no link to Russia found.
Officials believe that the passenger aircraft was intercepted by an SA-11 surface-to-air missile, which was fired by Ukrainian militia members. One official said the likeliest explanation was the aircraft was shot down in error, an assertion that seem to be bolstered by the previous downing of 12 Ukrainian military aircraft by militants in the region.
Intelligence suggests that, although the US maintains that Russia "created the conditions" that led to the incident, officials were not aware of the presence of any Russians during the missile launch, and would not confirm that the missile crew was trained in Russia.
16.15 Interfax news agency are claiming that a Malaysian passenger plane has crashed in Ukraine, near the Russian border.
"A Boeing Malaysian Airlines that was flying from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur began to descend about 50km before entering Russian airspace, and was subsequently found burning on the ground in kraine," an aviation source told Interfax.
What's interesting about this is the second event in the Telegraph's timeline:
Interfax said that 295 people were on board at the time.
16.20 The plane is thought to have crashed near Shaktersk.Is this timing correct? Let's check the MH17 flight data:
It's also suspicious, Dr Sutyagin said, that Russian news agency RIA Novosti reported the crash at 16.13 Moscow time, several minutes before the crash actually happened - at 16.20.
'The plane is safely in the sky, and RIA Novosti publishes information that it has been shot down,' he said.
Prof Shanks said it was 'extremely unusual' for political disputes to spill over and endanger the lives of civilians travelling in commercial flights in the skies above.
And he suggested those behind the shooting 'deliberately' targeted a passenger plane as it would have been obvious from its appearance that it was a commercial aircraft and posed no military threat.
He said: 'This is probably the first time this has happened in recent history. The aircraft was flying at such a height that it is unlikely to have been a military aircraft.
'You would be able to tell it was a civilian aircraft not a military aircraft with the naked eye because of the jet plumes behind it.
'This would almost certainly have to be a deliberate act, for whatever reason - we can only speculate.
'It should have been quite visible to people on the ground that it was a civilian aircraft, by the size of it and the shape of it. Anyone who has looked at a civilian aircraft or large military aircraft will know the difference.'
Technology available to anyone with a smartphone allows aircraft easily to be tracked - with real-time details of airline, flight number, heading and altitude provided.
Ukraine intelligence officials said they knew three days before the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 that rebels in the east of the country possessed sophisticated air-defense systems capable of felling a jetliner at altitudes in excess of where the Boeing 777 was flying.
The disclosure deepens the mystery of why Ukrainian aviation officials failed to entirely close off the airspace in the Donetsk region, where the jet was flying went it was shot down, killing all 298 people on board.
Three Buk-M1 medium-range antiaircraft systems, also known as the SA-11 Gadfly under the North Atlantic Treaty Organization designation, were known to be in rebel hands as early as July 14, said Vitaly Nayda, the head of the counterintelligence division of Ukraine's security service.
Ukraine imposed a partial flight ban in the region on flights below 26,000 feet on July 1, and raised the ceiling of the exclusion area to 32,000 feet on July 14. The Malaysia Airlines plane was flying at 33,000 feet.
The altitude restrictions on commercial flights were raised after rebel separatists backed by Moscow on July 14 shot down a Ukrainian military Antonov An-26 transport plane with eight people on board over the skies of the Luhansk region. The aircraft was flying at 21,000 feet.
Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 was not the first plane to be shot out of Ukraine's skies. The country's civil unrest between pro-Russian and pro-Ukraine forces has caused many more this month alone.
"I can't think of any reason why you would increase a restriction to 32,000 feet when the bad boys have just demonstrated a capability to go all the way," said a European aviation safety veteran. The airspace should have been closed, he said.
The Soviets never start a war. By definition, the United States or, more generally speaking, "imperialism is the source of all antagonistic conflicts of the present day world, the source of war danger."[General Major A.S. Milovidov, quoted in Soviet Strategy For Nuclear War, p.98]