Shortly before reports began to surface that a Malaysian Airlines Boeing 777 had been shot down in Eastern Ukraine along the border of Russia, pro-Russian separatist leader Igor Girkin posted on his VKontakte page (think Facebook) that they had shot down an aircraft.
“In the vicinity of Torez, we just downed a plane, an AN-26. It is lying somewhere in the Progress Mine. We have issued warnings not to fly in our airspace. We have video confirming. The bird fell on a waste heap. Residential areas were not hit. Civilians were not injured,” he wrote.
The claim was posted at 5:50 Moscow time, just before the Malaysian civilian aircraft crashed. A Ukrainian Interior Minister said that MH-17 had been downed by a surface-to-air missile. Two-hundred ninety-five people perished in the crash.
Andrei Purgin, the first vice premier of the unrecognized Donetsk People’s Republic, told Interfax the separatists do not have weapons that could shoot down a plane flying at an altitude of 10,000 meters.
Video has surfaced that reportedly shows the moment the plane crashed: