Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak demanded swift
justice for those responsible if a Malaysian airliner that came
down in Ukraine was found to have been shot down.
Najib, reading out a statement at a news conference, said
Malaysia had not been able to verify what caused the Boeing
777-200 to crash while on a flight from Amsterdam to the
Malaysian capital, Kuala Lumpur, but it had not made a
But he said he had agreed in talks with US President Barack
Obama that investigators must get full access to the site of
"The Ukrainian authorities believe that the plane was shot
down," Najib said in the statement. "At this stage, however,
Malaysia is unable to verify the cause of this tragedy. But
we must, and we will, find out precisely what happened to
this flight. No stone will be left unturned."
"If it transpires that the plane was indeed shot down, we
insist that the perpetrators must swiftly be brought to
Ukraine accused "terrorists" - militants fighting to unite
eastern Ukraine with Russia - of shooting down the plane. The
rebels denied responsibility.
US Vice President Joe Biden said the downing of the airliner
was apparently was "not an accident" and that it was "blown
out of the sky".
Najib said also that Malaysia was sending a special flight to
Kiev with a disaster assistance and rescue team.
"An international team must have full access to the crash
site and no one should interfere with the area, or move any
debris, including the black box," he said.
Malaysia Airlines said earlier air traffic controllers lost
contact with Flight MH-17 as it flew over eastern Ukraine
toward the Russian border with 280 passengers and 15 crew
aboard. Flight tracking data indicated it was at its cruising
altitude of 10,000 metres when it disappeared.
That would be beyond the range of smaller rockets used by the
rebels to bring down helicopters and other low-flying
Ukrainian military aircraft - but not of Soviet-era SA-11
ground-to-air missiles which a Ukrainian official accused
Russia of supplying to the rebels.
The loss of MH-17 is the second disaster for Malaysia
Airlines this year, following the mysterious loss of Flight
MH-370. It disappeared in March with 239 passengers and crew
on board on its way from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing.
"This is a tragic day, in what has already been a tragic
year, for Malaysia," Najib said.
Relatives of passengers aboard the airliner gathered at the
Kuala Lumpur airport early on Friday, demanding information,
in particular confirmation of those on board.
"We need to know the list. The list. That is all," one man
told reporters, referring the flight's passenger list.