Malaysia Airlines says it lost contact with a plane over Ukrainian airspace.
MH17 was heading from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur on Thursday.
A Ukrainian government adviser Anton Gerashenko said on Facebook that a plane carrying 295 people was shot down over a town in the east of the country.
The timing and proximity of the crash to the Russian border is certainly suspicious, leading one Ukrainian government to accuse pro-Russian separatists of shooting down the plane:
#BREAKING: Ukrainian Interior Ministry adviser said the Buk missile was fired by separatists: Interfax— Reuters Top News (@Reuters) July 17, 2014
The Russian government, however, has denied any involvement:
Russia's Defense Ministry denied on Thursday it had shot down a Ukrainian airplane and called the accusation by Kiev "absurd", Russian state news agency RIA reported.
"It is absurd, just like all the previous accusations from Kiev's leadership against Russia's Defense Ministry," a ministry spokesman was quoted as saying.
This is a breaking news story. Stay tuned.
UPDATE: One expert thinks the plane was probably shot down:
"It's extremely rare for an aircraft to come down at altitude. And when one does come down, it is usually the result of an external force.."— Noah Rothman (@NoahCRothman) July 17, 2014
"... like a bomb or a missile."- CBS analyst.— Noah Rothman (@NoahCRothman) July 17, 2014
#BREAKING: Emergency Ministry official on site says body parts scattered around up to 15 km from crash site, at least 100 bodies seen— Reuters World (@ReutersWorld) July 17, 2014
UPDATE: Ukraine's president released this statement:
UPDATE: The site of the crash:
UPDATE: There were reportedly 23 Americans on board:
Adviser to Ukranian Int Minister says, Ukraine crash kills 23 U.S. citizens— Trish Regan (@trish_regan) July 17, 2014
Bear in mind that CBS News reported earlier today zero Americans were on board. So we don't know the official figures yet. Stay tuned.
UPDATE: President Obama is aware of the crash and will hold a press conference about it this afternoon at 2:10 PM EST.
UPDATE: As it turns out, the "press conference" lasted only about 30 seconds:
May? RT @ZekeJMiller: Obama: “It looks like it may be a terrible tragedy"— Ed Morrissey (@EdMorrissey) July 17, 2014
Hey, Obama. 295 people are dead. It is a TRAGEDY.— Mary Chastain (@mchastain81) July 17, 2014
UPDATE: Piers Morgan had some rather harsh words for the president, too:
President Obama massively dropped the ball just now. 23 Americans killed and he says 'it looks like a terrible tragedy' then back to jokes?— Piers Morgan (@piersmorgan) July 17, 2014
UPDATE: The president's full remarks:
Full Obama comments on the plane pic.twitter.com/uL84A1HRUp— Zeke Miller (@ZekeJMiller) July 17, 2014
BREAKING: Armed Russian Separatists now in control of the MH17 crash site and not allowing anyone approach the wreckage - @ABC— NewsBreaker (@NewsBreaker) July 17, 2014
UPDATE: Nothing is confirmed yet, but this is certainly a significant development:
A US official tells @LMartinezABC US believes a single surface-to-air missile brought down the Malaysian Airlines jet.— Jonathan Karl (@jonkarl) July 17, 2014
UPDATE: It's official:
BREAKING. @CBSDavidMartin: US intelligence confirms Malaysian plane brought down by missile, not yet determined from where.— Charlie Kaye (@CharlieKayeCBS) July 17, 2014
UPDATE: More horror.
Breaking now: death toll increases from 295 to 298 after officials say 3 infants we on board #MH17— Greta Van Susteren (@gretawire) July 17, 2014
UPDATE: Updated breakdown of passengers' nationalities: