17/07/2014 World News Today


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This is BBC World News Today with me, Daniela Ritorto.


A Malaysian Airlines plane with 295 people on board


's We will build live across the world assessing the impact of this


disaster. -- we will be alive. Pictures appear to show


the plane after it came down Debris is seen falling from the


darkened sky in the moments after the crash.


Malaysia Airlines confirmed that it lost contact with flight MH17


from Amsterdam which was en route to Kuala Lumpur.


Hello and welcome to this special coverage.


A Malaysia Airlines plane with nearly 300 people


on board has crashed in Ukraine near the Russian border.


There are claims it was shot down - but Ukraine


and pro-Russian separatists are both denying responsibility.


There has been fighting on the Ukrainian-Russian border


since March, after the overthrow of the Ukrainian government.


Flight MH1-7 took off from Amsterdam just after midday local time,


Its flight path took it over Ukraine's Donetsk region


and it came down near the village of Grabovo.


Four months ago, another Malaysia Airlines plane is


believed to have crashed with over 200 people on board.


With the latest our correspondent Richard Galpin.


A plume of smoke rising into the sky in eastern Ukraine this afternoon.


Local people said it was a plain which had just crashed. There is no


confirmation this was the Malaysian airline which came down with almost


300 people on board. Eyewitnesses in the region say that they have seen


burning wreckage and bodies on the ground. Malaysian Airlines quickly


put out this message on social media.


The manufacturer, Boeing, said it was investigating. Flight


#ColourWhite had taken from Amsterdam and was reported to be


cruising at more than 30,000 feet eastern Ukraine, and area of intense


conflict between separatists and Ukrainian military. The pro-Russian


separatists control parts of eastern Ukraine and have done for several


months. It has shot down military planes and helicopters in the past.


They are known to have short-range anti-aircraft missiles and according


to some reports, have also been seen with heavy weapons. We are talking


about something every significant. The secessionist have used tanks.


Bigger not find those lying on the street. They have supplies of


relatively sophisticated weapons. It would be damaging for them and the


brush in case if they have got the weapons which can shoot down


civilian aircraft, but even more damaging if it turns out that the


missile, if there was one, came from the Russian side of the border.


These unverified photographs apparently show some of the wreckage


of the Malaysian plane. The separatists then shooting it down,


blaming the Ukrainian military. But at the moment, it is still not known


if it was brought down by military action.


The BBC's Oleg Boldyrev joins us from Moscow.


We have heard in that report, we still do not know what happened. Was


it shot down? What can you tell us from Moscow? The official reaction


has been muted. President Putin has expressed his condolences. The


separatists are denying that they have weapons capable of doing that.


One of the crucial questions is who gets to the crash site, all the


experts. Initially the separatists say that they will allow


investigators to come and investigate. The latest comment we


see is that the local police, which are loyal to the separatist cause,


will conduct initial investigations. Everyone who is familiar with the


procedure is not doubt that the policemen will be capable of doing


that, local policemen. The Russian ministry said it is ready to go and


help with this, but they have said to the authorities in Kiev, who will


go to the area of the conflict. That is the biggest question of all.


Another question we are all asking, did the rail -- did the rebels have


the hardware capable of bringing down a commercial jet flying at


10,000 metres? There is no set in stone confirmation that they did.


There have been reports which are hard to verify. The weaponry that


they have sometimes surpasses even the Ukrainian capabilities. There


have been so many reports of weapons from Russia, including modern


shooting systems and weapon systems crossing over to the rebel side in


eastern Ukraine. Speculation is that they might have this, but no one has


seen it all documented it or put it on paper and presented it to the


world. Anna Holligan joins us from Amsterdam, Schiphol Airport. What is


this scene there? It is now an unimaginable, painful wait for


relatives who are arriving at Schiphol airport. Nine hours ago,


passengers travelled through these gates to board a flight


#ColourWhite. Airport officials said the relatives and family members of


those on board that flight have been taken to a special area inside the


airport, separate from the other passengers, and we expect to hear


more from them later this evening. They are planning a press conference


to tell us more details. Do we know anything about the nationalities of


the Passion yours yet? -- passengers. We have seen reports on


Twitter that there were 23 Americans on board. It is assumed that what


Dutch Passion jazz. But it is still so early, so it is still breaking


news and man of those details have been confirmed. We have heard from


that Dutch Prime Minister who says he is returning from Brussels


immediately to deal with the situation. He is deeply shocked by


what has happened. We will be hearing more from him in the coming


days. We will come back to you again as well.


Malaysian airlines is holding a press conference in two hours time,


that is at 4am local time. That is what we understand. Local media is


reporting that the Prime Minister might be holding a press conference


shortly, but we cannot verify that just yet. So far, the information,


the official information we have been getting, has been limited. We


have seen senior ministers on twitter, expressing shock, saying


that they are working closely with the relevant ministries to handle


this issue. We understand that the transport Minister, who is currently


in Beijing, is on his way back to Kuala Lumpur or. The transport


minister was in Beijing to discuss the disappearance of the plane which


disappeared in March earlier this year, which of course, we still do


not know what happened to it. And it is fair to say that the reaction in


Asia on social media and even among my friends in the region has been


"not again" with Malaysian airlines, the cause of the memory of the


disappearance of that first plane, which is very fresh. I know that you


cover the disappearance of MH370. People around the world and the


region must be sane, not again. The circumstances are different, MH370


disappeared in March and we do not know exactly what happened. There is


lots of speculation, which continues. With this one, we have


seen the blame game, if you like, speaking the correspondence around


the world. The Ukrainian government, the president of Ukraine, has said


this is a terrorist act. In the meantime, the rebels say that they


do not have any capacity to be able to shoot down such a plane. There


has been a lot of speculation, but at least we have got confirmation


from the Ukrainian government that the plane has crashed. And we are


getting some very disturbing images of the crash site, as well. As Anna


Holligan was saying from Amsterdam, there are reports of 23 US


passengers on board the plane which went down. The US State Department


has said that Washington could not yet confirmed those reports, but it


was urgently trying to obtain that information. We have seen the same


reports that you have, at this point. We do not have any confirmed


information about casualties, the cause, or additional details.


Thoughts and prayers go out to those on board, their families and loved


ones. We are closely monitoring the situation. The Secretary of State is


aware of these reports and we are seeking additional information. The


embassy in Kiev is in close contact with the authorities about this


incident but at the moment this is all the details that we have.


President Obama is about to speak. Let's see if we can join that.


Please, have a seat. It is wonderful to be back in Delaware. Before I


begin, obviously the world is watching reports of a grounded


passenger jet near the Russia-Ukraine border. It looked


like it might be a terrible tragedy. We are working to determine whether


American citizens were on board. That is our first priority. I have


directed a national security team to stay in contact with the Ukrainian


government. The United States will offer any assistance that we can to


help determine what happened, and why. As a country, our thoughts and


prayers are with all of the passengers and families, whoever and


wherever they call home. I would like to thank Jeremy Forrest


introduction. Give him a big round of applause. -- Jeremy, for his


introduction. speculation. Can we talk about


facts? The fact I will not there yet. That is the problem. We know


the background to this. There has been rising tension, there have been


a number of Ukrainian military aircraft which have been shot down.


Those have been at low heights. The suspicion is that pro-Russian rebels


have been using portable surface-to-air missiles, missiles


they can put on their shoulder, if they see a plane or helicopter, and


fire at it and shoot it down. This is different. This passenger jet was


flying at 30,000 feet, ten to limit is. It would be difficult to see


from the ground. You would have to have had a radar system to lock onto


that. You would have to have had a medium to long range surface to air


missile, of the kind that is either locked onto the ground are tracked


vehicle, and indeed, someone in the Ukraine believes it was a Buk


system, a Russian system, which has a radar on board. This looks


different to what has happened in the past. Clearly, what has been


shot down is different to what has been shot down in the past. The


targets have been military aircraft and helicopters, this is a civilian


airline, and it changes the situation is usually. There could be


dozens of countries involved with citizens on that plane who now want


answers. Watching pictures of the crash site and the aftermath. People


are asking, why are commercial airlines flying over a conflict


zone? Turkish airlines are now rewriting their planes. Shouldn't


they have done that before? There was a big difference between a


civilian aeroplane and the military aeroplane in the air, in that it is


not just about the height that they travel, it is about what they are


doing. Civilian passenger plane will be what is called squawking,


identifying itself, letting air traffic control, that -- letting


them know what height it is at, it will have an identification that is


known on the ground. If it is a military aircraft it will not have


that facility. It will still be identifiable to radar stations, but


it is very different. You would have thought, a civilian passenger plane,


it should not be a target. That is the assumption. This has clearly


changed things, and now airlines are saying that they will change their


ways because of this. people on board but we also have the


political situation on the ground in Ukraine, what happens next? People


are being very careful not to watch -- rush to judgement. It is a


mystery at the moment. People are not sure what exactly happens. There


is the possibility of a surface-to-air missile, speculation


that a fighter jet with a missile or even a terrorist attempt. People


will look at what has happened but we will be looking at the data. You


will have experts looking at satellite imagery and they will be


able to identify whether a surface-to-air missile was fired.


There will be limited radar information because neat tool do not


have radar is looking that far east. But there will be information to


firm up details and give up -- give an accurate assessment. This will be


very different. Civilians are involved. This does not just involve


Russia and Ukraine. It involves other countries like America and


other European countries as well. We will stop our analysis at the


moment. We want to hear from the Ukrainian president who has


described the downing of the plane as an act of terrorism and calls for


an international investigation. I have just concluded a conversation


with the Prime Minister of melons -- Prime Minister of the Netherlands. I


offered condolences. I would like to have an investigation into this act


of terrorism. We are not calling it an accident, but an act of


terrorism. Those are the words of the Ukrainian president. Let us


speak to an aviation specialists who joins us from our studio in


Salford, your immediate thoughts? This is an incident which has filled


me with a fair degree of shock and horror. The fact that a civil


airliner travelling between Amsterdam and Kuala Lumpur or was


brought down in this fashion, one can only feel a sense of shock. We


jet ever have thought something like this could happen? Not in this day


and age, quite frankly. 20, 30, 40 years ago, may be. We did have


incidents like this long ago. But in this day and age with air traffic


control systems, with the ability to monitor who is where and anything


from that air traffic control system through to an iPhone for instance,


it beggars belief that an aircraft such as this has been brought down


in such a way. With commercial airlines have taken into account


when flying over that area that it is a conflict zone? It would not


have been Mr Savile on their radar. -- Nessus Adderley. They follow a


great circle route, the shortest distance between one airport and the


other. They would be operating along a well worn and well used YouTube --


route which they had used for years. They would probably not give


consideration as to what is happening on the ground because we


did not know until two hours ago that the people down on the grounds


might have the sort of technology to target the civil airliner in such a


tragic fashion. If France, Turkish airlines, either flocked, they all


say they are avoiding eastern Ukraine which is prudent bats?


Present in deeds but there must be some questions to ask. -- Air


France. The central control for air traffic control for instance, asking


why there was zero detailed information to pass on to airlines


to point them in a different direction. Perhaps taking the route


further north, away from the conflict zone itself. Some of those


questions will be asked over the coming days. Thank you very much for


joining us. Let us recap what we are doing. It


was a Malaysia flight, MH17, flying from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur or,


it took off just after noon. 295 people on board. 15 crew. Ukrainian


government, the President is saying that this is an act of terrorism.


Nobody has been able to confirm how this plane has come down. There is


speculation and finger-pointing that it was shot down. Let us speak now


to another expert. I'm joined now by Charles Hayman,


former editor of Jane?s World Armies and now Senior Defence


Analyst with the armed forces. Your immediate thoughts? With the


rebels have the necessary armoury to shoot down a commercial airliner? We


have to look at the balance of probabilities first of all. It looks


from the evidence so far, that are ground to air missile launcher was


used. We know that these missile launchers were on the infantry of


the Ukrainian government forces. It is quite possible that one or more


of these missile launchers were about -- were abandoned by Ukrainian


forces when they left rebel held areas. Most people are beginning to


think this was fired from a rebel held area. Also, because it was a


battlefield radar, as Jonathan Beale pointed out, the sophisticated air


traffic radar is that the Kiev government have got and the Russian


government have got, they would pick up civilian aircraft squawking all


the time. But something like this missile launcher, with its own


battlefield radar, which only pick up an aircraft and not the fact it


was a civilian aircraft. Putting the pieces into the jigsaw puzzle, it is


beginning to look as if this was fired from a separatist area and it


was fired from an old air defence system which did not identify the


aircraft as a civilian airliner. When the separatists denied


involvement, they say they have no air defence systems of this kind,


what do you say? That is right, they are denying there is but there is


evidence to say there was some tweeting coming out of the


separatist area saying we had just shot down another Ukrainian


government aircraft. The tweet source is the same tweet sources


which was boasting about shooting down a Ukrainian government aircraft


last week. So the separatists are under suspicion. It is unlikely BPF


government would want to do that. After the experiences with the


Korean airliner 25 years ago, the Russian government would be loath to


involve themselves in a crime of this magnitude. The Russians are


canny political operators. They do not tend to make mistakes like this.


Thank you very much indeed. Let us get the views of Simon Calder now. I


presume your initial reaction was one of shock and horror? Yes, I have


been looking at the warnings which were in place. Eight weeks ago the


American Federal Administration put out a warning to American pilots and


airlines saying exercise extreme caution in Ukraine. They were


warning about the area of Crimea and other parts of Crimea and the


Ukraine. They said these places were dangerous. Nobody of course was


expecting anything like this. For years there have been routine long


haul flights over areas of conflict. Airlines are predisposed to fly the


most direct route, if that takes them over places like Iraq,


Afghanistan and Libya and so on, or view is that the weaponry on the


ground is not sophisticated enough to endanger passenger aviation. Can


you put this in the historical conflict -- context for as? There is


a history of accidental shootings of passenger jets. September the 1st


1983, the Korean flight on a flight to New York Street Ofqual is over


the eastern edge of the soviet union and was shot down by a Soviet


fighter. -- Street of quarters. There was an Israeli aircraft on


route to divide which was shot down by an American warship in the Gulf.


That is held by some to be the cause of the Lockerbie attack which


happened, some see as revenge. While you have weaponry capable of


shooting dead aircraft, this will always be a threat. -- shooting down


aircraft. Shoulder launched missiles have always been an issue for


aviation experts, that has always been an issue... We have to leave it


there. You have been watching a special edition. Stay with us for


more. Hello there. If you have enjoyed the


sunshine today, you may find tomorrow to warm. This low pressure


is moving northwards through the night bringing a band of heavy,


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