What happened to MH17 - Malaysia Airlines Flight 17? Ukrainian President calls it 'terrorism'

What caused the crash of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, which went down near the border between Russia and Ukraine? So far, little is known with certainty, but the one fact beyond debate is that 298 people were on board the ill-fated Boeing 777-200ER, and there were no survivors.

"We are not calling it an accident, or a disaster, but an act of terrorism," Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said in a quote provided by ABC News.

Malaysia's prime minister says the downed jetliner did not make any distress call before it crashed. A U.S. official told ABC News the plane was brought down by a surface-to-air missile.

The Buk missile system operated by Russian and Ukrainian forces is a likely candidate. Anton Gerashenko, the adviser to Ukraine's Interior Minister, said on his Facebook page that a weapon of that type was used to down the plane.

A similar launcher was seen by Associated Press journalists near the eastern Ukrainian town of Snizhne earlier Thursday.

An Associated Press journalist counted at least 22 bodies at the wreckage site, located about 25 miles from the Russian border. A journalist with CNN said crews were marking the locations of bodies in the debris field with white ribbons.

Poroshenko called for an international investigation into the crash and has insisted that his forces did not shoot down the plane.

Flight MH17 operated on a Boeing 777 departed Amsterdam at 12.15pm (Amsterdam local time) and was estimated to arrive at Kuala Lumpur International Airport at 6.10 am (Malaysia local time) the next day.

Data from FlightAware.com shows only a few recorded locations from the flight's travel over the country, with the last recorded at 33,000 feet over Donetsk Oblast, Ukraine.


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