Kiev, July 18 :
Pro-Russian separatists have admitted to downing the Malaysia Airlines flight over Ukraine killing 298 people, the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) said Friday.
The SBU said it had learnt this based on the intercepted telephone calls between Russian military intelligence officers and the rebels.
According to the SBU, Igor Bezler, a Russian military intelligence officer, telephoned a Russian security officer, Vasili Geranin, 20 minutes after the plane crash Thursday.
“We have just shot down a plane. Group Minera. It fell down beyond Yenakievo (Donetsk region),” the Kyiv Post quoted Bezler as as saying.
Bezler is also a leading commander of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic.
The second intercepted conversation released by the SBU was apparently between two militants nicknamed “Major” and “Greek” immediately upon the inspection of the crash site.
“It’s 100 percent a passenger aircraft,” Major is recorded as saying, as he admitted to seeing no weapons on site.
“Absolutely nothing. Civilian items, medicinal stuff, towels, toilet paper.”
In the third intercepted conversation, Cossack commander Nikolay Kozitsin tells an unidentified militant that the MH17 could have been carrying spies. Otherwise, it would have no business flying in that area.
The Kuala Lumpur-bound MH17 passenger plane crashed near the Russian border, in eastern Ukraine’s Donestsk region. All the 298 passengers and crew members on board were killed.
The flight took off from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur.