Airlines avoid Ukrainian airspace after Malaysian airline crash

More than 300 people died in the crash.

Several international airlines have announced that they would avoid Ukrainian airspace after a Malaysian passenger airliner with 295 people on board crashed in Ukraine near the Russian border.

Reuters had quoted a Ukrainian interior ministry official, Anton Gerashchenko, as saying that the Malaysian airliner was shot down over eastern Ukraine by militants on Thursday, killing all 295 people aboard.

Russian airlines, Aeroflot and Transero, Turkish airlines, Air France and the Royal Dutch Airline, KLM, issued separate statements on Thursday saying they would no longer fly over Ukraine territory.

German airline, Lufthansa, also said it had decided to avoid Ukrainian airspace, with immediate effect.

Flight MH-17, a Boeing 777, was flying from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur but it came down near the city of Donetsk, a stronghold of pro-Russian rebels.

Meanwhile, the Ukrainian Prime Minister, Areseny Yatseniuk, has ordered an investigation into the “airplane catastrophe” in eastern Ukraine, his spokesperson, Olga Lappo, said.

The Ukrainian President, Petro Poroshenko, believed a “terrorist act” was the cause of the Malaysian airlines plane crash, his press secretary said.

“Poroshenko thinks this of the plane that was brought down: it is not an incident, not a catastrophe, but a terrorist act,” Svatoslav Tsegolko said.

A Ukrainian interior ministry adviser was quoted by Reuters as saying that more than 300 died from the crash, including 23 U.S. citizens.


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