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MH17 Ukraine crash: Images from the ground

The tragedy of MH17

Pierre Crom | Getty Images

Malaysian Airlines flight MH17, carrying 283 passengers and 15 crew members from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur, crashed in battle-torn eastern Ukraine on Thursday, July 17.

The aircraft, which came down near the rebel-held regional capital of Donetsk, is thought to have been shot down by a surface-to-air missile.

There is no sign of survivors at the crash site. The passengers on board included 193 Dutch citizens, 43 Malaysians, 27 Australians, 12 Indonesians, and 10 Britons, according to the airline.

The origin of the missile that hit the aircraft remains unclear, with both the Ukrainian government and the pro-Russia separatists denying responsibility for downing the plane.

Russian President Vladimir Putin said Ukraine bore responsibility and that it would not have happened if Kiev hadn't resumed a military campaign against separatists. Meanwhile, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said his country's armed forces did not take action against any airborne targets.

U.S. Vice President Joe Biden said the plane crash was "not an accident," adding that it was "blown out of the sky."

Click ahead to view the latest developments, in pictures.

Updated on July 23, 2014

MH17 takes off from Amsterdam

Fred Neeleman | AFP | Getty Images

Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 takes off from Schiphol Airport in the Netherlands, on Thursday, July 17.

Around three hours after taking off, the airline says it had 'lost contact' with the flight that was scheduled to land in Kuala Lumpur at around 6:00 am on Friday (2200 GMT Thursday). Malaysian Airlines has confirmed that the aircraft did not make a distress call.

This is the airline's second tragedy in less than a year, following the mysterious disappearance of flight MH370 in March.

The aftermath

Dominique | AFP | Getty Images

People stand amongst the wreckage of MH17, which was a large passenger Boeing 777 aircraft.

According to Malaysian Airlines, the airspace the aircraft was traversing was not subject to restrictions. However, there had been warnings around flying in the area. In April, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) told U.S. airlines in April to avoid flying in that region because of political unrest.

Following the crash, Ukrainian authorities have closed off Eastern Ukrainian air space to commercial flights, according to Eurocontrol - a European organization for the safety of air navigation.

Rescue team arrives

Dominique Faget | AFP | Getty Images

First-aid workers gather at the site of the crash. The first help arrived 20 minutes after the crash, according to media reports.

Receiving the heartbreaking news

Manan Vatstatana | AFP | Getty Images

Akmar Binti Mohd Noor, 67, whose sister was onboard Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 from Amsterdam cries outside the family holding area at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport in Sepang.

For Malaysians, the news brings back haunting memories of flight MH370, a Malaysian Airlines carrier that went missing en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing with 239 passengers and crew on board, in March.


Addressing the press

Getty Images

Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak delivers a statement regarding the ill-fated flight in Kuala Lumpur on Friday.

Razak demanded swift justice for those responsible if the Malaysian airliner was confirmed to have been shot down. He has backed U.S. President Barack Obama's calls for investigators to have full access to the crash site.

Rebels hand over black box

STR | AFP | Getty Images

A breakthrough in negotiations occurred on July 22, Tuesday, when pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine handed over the plane's black boxes to Malaysian experts, and declared a localized truce to allow international investigators full access to the crash site.

Rebels were previously in control of the site and had prevented officials from full access since the plane crashed on July 17, Thursday.

Inspectors scour the scene

Getty Images

Investigators from Malaysia and the Organization for Security and Co-operation inspect the wreckage from the downed plane on July 22 in Grabovo, Ukraine.

Personal belongings

Getty Images

Experts found remnants of luggage belonging to the holiday-bound passengers on board the plane, such as travel guides, chocolate wrappers, passports and sunglasses.

Claims by Russian officials

MOHD RASFAN | AFP | Getty Images

During a press conference on July 22, Russian ambassador to Malaysia Lyudmila Vorobyeva revealed that separatists fighting in eastern Ukraine did not possess missile systems that could have shot down the plane, nor did they have the qualifications required to operate them.

Lieutenant General Andrey Kartopolov, the head of the main operations directorate of the Russian Armed Forces, added that a Ukrainian SU-25 fighter jet was flying 3 to 5 km away from the Malaysia Airlines plane before it was shot down.

Bodies arrives in Kharkiv

Sergey Bobok | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

A train carrying the bodies of 282 of the 298 people arrived at the Ukrainian city of Kharkiv on July 22. According to Australian prime minister Tony Abbott, the bodies will be transported via plane to Holland.