Malaysian Airlines MH17 plane was travelling almost the same route as Russia’s President Vladimir Putin’s jet shortly before the crash that killed 298, Interfax news agency reports citing sources.
“I can say that Putin’s plane and the Malaysian Boeing intersected at the same point and the same echelon. That was close to Warsaw on 330-m echelon at the height of 10,100 meters. The presidential jet was there at 16:21 Moscow time and the Malaysian aircraft - 15:44 Moscow time,” a source told the news agency on condition of anonymity.
"The contours of the aircrafts are similar, linear dimensions are also very similar, as for the coloring, at a quite remote distance they are almost identical", the source added.
At the same time, there have been reports contradicting Intefax’s report that was the first and the only media source to publish the news, saying that Presidential plane was not flying over Ukraine at the same time.
As a source told Gazeta.ru online news portal, Putin’s plane does take off from Vnukovo-3 [the terminal that accepts business jets], but the president does not fly over the conflict-gripped neighboring country.
“Putin has only one jet – Board One, he does not fly other planes. This plane always takes off from Vnukovo-3, but the presidential plane have not been flying over Ukraine for a while,” the source at Vnukovo-3 terminal said.
President Putin was on his way from Brazil, where he attended the BRICS summit, to Moscow.
Ukraine should bear responsibility for Malaysian airliner tragedy, said the head of the Russian state at a meeting on economic issues, which he proposed to start with a minute of silence in memory of the victims of the disaster.
“Obviously, the state over whose territory it happened bears responsibility for this terrible tragedy,” he said late on Thursday.
“This tragedy would not have happened if there was peace on this land, if military action in the southeast of Ukraine had not been resumed,” Putin said, adding that he has asked the appropriate Russian authorities to do everything to investigate the matter.
“We must do everything in our power that an objective picture of what happened goes public in our community, in Ukraine and all over the world,” Putin said as he expressed his condolences to the families of victims.
Flight MH17 crashed in Ukraine on a flight from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur, and was carrying 298 people. The passenger Boeing-777 was expected to enter Russian airspace at 5:20pm local time, but never did, a Russian aviation industry source said.“The plane crashed 60km away from the border,” Itar-Tass cited its source.