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Malaysian airliner crash: Here are people who should know what brought it down

world Updated: Jul 19, 2014 14:54 IST

A day after Malaysian airliner MH17 with 298 on board crashed in strife-torn east Ukraine, apparently shot down, the blame game deepened.

The charges flew thick and fast, while clarity on who brought down MH17 continued to elude the world on Friday.

Here is a look at the key figures trading charges, the Russian impact, the American perspective and expert opinion.

Petro Poroshenko, Ukrainian president

Kiev has accused pro-Russian separatists battling Ukrainian forces of committing the "terrorist act".

Poroshenko, who had stepped up an offensive in the east this month, said, "The external aggression against Ukraine is not just our problem but a threat to European and global security.”

His stated position is his country's armed forces did not shoot at any airborne targets.

Russia, which Western powers accuse of trying to destabilise Ukraine to maintain influence over its old Soviet empire, has accused Kiev's leaders of mounting a fascist coup.

It says it is holding troops in readiness to protect Russian-speakers in the east — the same rationale it used for taking over Crimea.

It says it is holding troops in readiness to protect Russian-speakers in the east — the same rationale it used for taking over Crimea.

Aleksandr Borodai, self-proclaimed prime minister of pro-Russian separatist "Donetsk People's Republic"

There was talk of black boxes being found, but Borodai dismissed it.

“No black boxes have been found... We hope that experts will track them down and create a picture of what has happened,” said the rebel leader who pledged to allow investigators access the site of downed jet.

Earlier, an aide to rebel military leader Igor Girkin, a Russian better known by his assumed name Strelkov, said authorities had recovered eight out of 12 recording devices.

Since planes usually have two black boxes — one for recording flight data and the other for recording cockpit voices — it was not clear what he was referring to.

Donetsk separatist leader Aleksandr Borodai said 17 representatives from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe and four Ukrainian experts had travelled into rebel-controlled areas to begin an investigation into the attack.

The militia allowed them to look at part of the crash site, but refused to let them view the area where the engines came down.

Vladimir Putin, Russian President

Putin called for a cease-fire in eastern Ukraine and urged the two sides to hold peace talks as soon as possible. A day earlier, he had blamed Ukraine for the crash, saying Kiev was responsible for the unrest in its Russian-speaking eastern regions. But he did not accuse Ukraine of shooting the plane down and did not address the key question of whether Russia gave the rebels such a powerful missile.

American view

US President Barack Obama said, "Evidence indicates that the plane was shot down by a surface-to-air missile that was launched from an area that is controlled by Russian-backed separatists inside of Ukraine."

Obama, who earlier this week ramped up sanctions on Russia over the conflict, called on Putin to "take the path that would result in peace in Ukraine."

"I think it's important for us to recognise that this outrageous event underscored that it is time for peace and security to be restored in Ukraine," Obama said.

Expert opinion
Justin Bronk, a research analyst at the Royal United Services Institute, a London-based military think tank, said the US had sophisticated military satellites capable of detecting a missile launch, but might be unwilling to share its images in order to protect its secret surveillance capabilities.

"They will probably try to liaise with civilian satellite operators to see if there are any who also picked up the trail on infra-red sensors so that they can publicly release that data."

Aviation analyst Gerard Feldzer said investigators' goal would be to "find the debris of the missile in question and determine the trajectory”. Once investigators reach the site, they should be able to discover whether the plane was hit by one or more missiles, and the size of the missile system involved. But that “won’t determine who did it” unless investigators find a satellite photo or radar records of the missile, he added.

Full coverage:MH17 goes down