BREAKING: Malaysian Jetliner Shot Down Near Russian Border

Posted: Jul 17, 2014 12:10 PM

**See updates below**

A Malaysian airliner traveling from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur has crashed 20 miles or so from the Russian border, and was reportedly shot down:

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:

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:

UPDATE: Awful:

UPDATE: Ukraine's president released this statement:

UPDATE: The site of the crash:

UPDATE: There were reportedly 23 Americans on board:

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:

UPDATE: Piers Morgan had some rather harsh words for the president, too:

UPDATE: The president's full remarks:

UPDATE: Hmmmm:

UPDATE: Nothing is confirmed yet, but this is certainly a significant development:

UPDATE: It's official:

UPDATE: More horror.

UPDATE: Updated breakdown of passengers' nationalities: