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3. Nationalities Following this afternoon’s press conference, Malaysia Airlines can confirm that a further 16 passengers’ nationalities have been verified. The latest breakdown of nationalities of those on board the flight is as follows: ·
189 Netherlands ·
44 Malaysia ·
27 Australia ·
12 Indonensia ·
9 UK ·
4 Belgium ·
4 Germany ·
3 Philippines ·
1 Canada ·
1 New Zealand
Four passengers’ nationalities remain to be verified.
UNITED NATIONS (AP) — U.S. Ambassador Samantha Power told an emergency meeting of the U.N. Security Council on Friday that the United States cannot rule out that Russia helped in the launch of the surface-to-air missile that shot down a Malaysian Airlines jet over eastern Ukraine, killing all 298 people on board.
Power said the U.S. believes the plane was likely downed by an SA-11 missile fired from an area in eastern Ukraine controlled by pro-Russian separatists. She said Russia has provided SA-11s and other heavy weapons to the separatists.
The Malaysian jet was flying at a cruising altitude of 33,000 feet (10,000 meters) from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur on an established flight corridor when it was shot down Thursday, she said.
Power said that early Thursday a Western reporter reported an SA-11 system in separatist-controlled territory near Snizhne, "and separatists were spotted hours before the incident with an SA-11 SAM system close to the site where the plane came down."
"Separatists initially claimed responsibility for shooting down a military transport plane, and claimed responsibility and posted videos that are now being connected to the Malaysian Airlines crash," Power said. "Separatist leaders also boasted on social media about shooting down a plane, but later deleted these messages."
"Because of the technical complexity of the SA-11, it is unlikely that the separatists could effectively operate the system without assistance from knowledgeable personnel. Thus, we cannot rule out technical assistance from Russian personnel in operating the systems," she said
Friday, July 18, 08:20 PM GMT +0800 Media Statement 4 : MH17 Incident
Media Statement 4: MH17 Incident
1. Flight plan
MH17’s flight plan was approved by Eurocontrol, who are solely responsible for determining civil aircraft flight paths over European airspace. Eurocontrol is the air navigation service provider for Europe and is governed under ICAO rules. The route over Ukrainian airspace where the incident occurred is commonly used for Europe to Asia flights. A flight from a different carrier was on the same route at the time of the MH17 incident, as were a number of other flights from other carriers in the days and weeks before. Eurocontrol maintains records of all flights across European airspace, including those across Ukraine. In April, the International Civil Aviation Organization identified an area over the Crimean peninsula as risky. At no point did MH17 fly into, or request to fly into, this area. At all times, MH17 was in airspace approved by the ICAO.
MH17 filed a flight plan requesting to fly at 35,000ft throughout Ukrainian airspace. This is close to the ‘optimum’ altitude. However, an aircraft’s altitude in flight is determined by air traffic control on the ground. Upon entering Ukrainian airspace, MH17 was instructed by Ukrainian air traffic control to fly at 33,000ft.
Russian security experts – if not the Kremlin – were coming to grips Friday with the likelihood that the Malaysian Airlines Flight MH17 was shot down by an advanced air defense missile wielded by pro-Russian rebels in Ukraine's eastern Donetsk region.
If the allegations prove true, they warn the global outrage against Russia will be comparable to the white-hot fury that took hold after the USSR shot down Korean airliner KAL 007 in 1983 after mistaking it for a US spy plane.
A similar level of isolation and world-wide condemnation could be facing Russia now, they say, unless President Vladimir Putin takes decisive steps to demonstrate that the Kremlin wants to be a constructive actor amid Ukraine's spiraling crisis.
"The facts will inevitably come in, and if it is shown that Russian-supported rebels did this, the whole conversation about Ukraine will change," says Alexander Golts, a military expert with the online journal Yezhednevny Zhurnal. "In the eyes of the world there will be no difference between Russia and the rebels. Everyone knows who arms and supports these rebels, and that will be enough for most people to blame Russia."
Some argue that it's possible the horror of the airliner's downing in the heart of Europe could force all sides to step back from the escalating hostilities in eastern Ukraine and the increasingly vicious "information war" that has accompanied it.
Pro-Russia separatist groups in eastern Ukraine are hastily covering up all links to the Buk missile battery suspected to have been used to shoot down the Malaysia Airlines passenger plane, according to western-based defence and intelligence specialists.
As the UN security council called for a "full, thorough independent international investigation" into the downing of the plane, concern that a cover-up was under way was fuelled by a standoff at part of the crash site between observers from the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) and rebel gunmen, which ended with a warning shot being fired.
Postings on rebel websites immediately after the crash boasted of having shot down what they claimed was an Antonov Ukrainian military transport plane, but these have since been deleted.
In Washington, President Obama called for a full, impartial investigation and said the tragedy should cause people to "snap their heads together" and stop playing games in Ukraine. Putting pressure on Moscow over Ukraine, Obama said: "The violence that's taking place there is facilitated in large part because of Russian support."
The US ambassador to the UN, Samantha Power, blamed a surface-to-air missile fired by rebels in eastern Ukraine and hinted that they might have had Russian technical help. The rebels are suspected of having used a Russian-built, vehicle-mounted Buk missile system to bring down MH17, killing all 298 passengers and crew. Power called for the crash site to be preserved. "All evidence must be undisturbed," she said. "Russia needs to help make this happen."