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Russia, Ukraine trade accusations over MH17 crash

Russia on Monday said a Ukrainian fighter jet flew close to Malaysia Airlines flight MH17, and wanted an explanation from Kiev. However, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko denied the allegations.

MOSCOW: Russia on Monday said a Ukrainian fighter jet flew close to downed Malaysia Airlines flight MH17, and wanted an explanation from Kiev.

"Russian air space control systems detected a Ukrainian Air Force plane, presumably an SU-25 (fighter jet), scrambling in the direction of the Malaysian Boeing," Lieutenant-General Igor Makushev of Russia's Air Forces told a news briefing. 

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko denied the allegations. In an interview with CNN, he said all Ukrainian planes in the area were on the ground when MH17 was downed.

He said at the time of the incident, the airspace over east Ukraine was being monitored by various surveillance systems. Poroshenko added that Ukraine was open to any probe about its planes and that Russia should provide evidence for its claims.

Moscow also said it did not detect any missiles launched near the flight path of MH17, and asked the United States to share satellite images “if they have them”. In addition, it denied delivering SA-11 Buk missile systems "or any other weapon" to the separatists.

Meanwhile, Reuters reported that Kiev stood firm with its information that separatists received the Buk missile system from Russia, citing a Ukraine security source.

US Secretary of State John Kerry had said a sophisticated SA-11 missile system was used to bring down flight MH17, citing US intelligence.

"It's pretty clear that this is a system that was transferred from Russia in the hands of separatists," Kerry told CNN on Sunday.

Russia's Lieutenant-General Andrei Kartopolov challenged the allegations, saying "nobody (in the international community) has seen (satellite) images" that could support the United States' claims.

MH17 was travelling from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur when it crashed in rebel-held east Ukraine, killing 298 people on board.

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