Ukraine pinned the blame for the crash of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 squarely on pro-Russian rebels Thursday, saying they were solely responsible for killing almost 300 people "with just one shot." The separatists denied responsibility.
In a video statement, President Petro Poroshenko claimed the government had intercepted conversations — one of them allegedly with a Russian colonel whom he identified as Vasiliy Geranin — in which rebel commanders and fighters were "boasting about the hit airplane." NBC News couldn't authenticate the recordings, which the Ukrainian government posted online.
“Just now, just now, a plane was shot down,” says a man the government identified as a rebel commander. In the second audio, a man the government identified as a rebel fighter known as Major remarks that "it's a civilian plane.” The other man on the audio, whom the government identified as a rebel fighter known as The Greek, asks whether weapons were found at the crash site. Major says no.
— Irina Tkachenko, Erin McClam and M. Alex Johnson
First published July 17 2014, 5:23 PM