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US officials: MH17 shot down by mistake

Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 may have been shot down by "mistake" by pro-Russian separatists with inadequate training, said US intelligence officials.

It is likely that these separatists launched the SA-11 surface-to-air missile that downed the commercial airliner, but exactly who did it and why has yet to be determined.

These officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said that there is no direct evidence to prove that Russians were with the SA-11 unit that fired on the airliner.

Although the United States had observed a flow of heavy weapons, including air defense systems, into Ukraine from Russia, intelligence agencies had not seen the larger SA-11 missiles being moved into the country before the plane was downed.

Officials said: "It's a solid case that it's a SA_11 that was fired from eastern Ukrained under conditions the Russians helped created."

The Russian military has been training the rebels at a large base in Rostov on various weapons, including air defense systems, said officials.

But, they added, it was unclear if the Russians trained the separatists on the missile batteries that brought the Malaysian flight down.

Source: AFP

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