The plane disappeared from radar over a region of Ukraine at the center of ongoing Ukraine-Russia tensions:
Eastern Ukraine has been roiled for months by a violent pro-Russian separatist uprising in which a number of military aircraft have been downed. But this would be the first commercial airline disaster resulting from the hostilities in Ukraine.U.S. State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki refused to speculate on whether the U.S. was concerned that the Russian military had supplied the sort of missiles that could bring down a passenger jet flying at cruising altitude to separatists. She also said she was aware of media reports indicating 23 American citizens were on board the flight, but said she could not confirm that information.
11:10 AM PT: President Obama is delivering a speech now in Delaware including comments on the flight:
11:12 AM PT: The president's remarks are brief and circumspect: "It looks like it may be a terrible tragedy. [...] Working to determine whether there were American citizens aboard." Adds that the U.S. will assist in any way possible to determine what happened.
11:13 AM PT: MSNBC focusing on the fact that the president's offer of assistance was to Ukraine in particular and not to other countries, but given that the plane went down in Ukraine, that seems like exactly what you'd expect.
11:15 AM PT: This is supposedly video of the plane falling from the sky and exploding when it hits the ground, taken from long-range:
An Associated Press reporter on Thursday saw seven rebel-owned tanks parked at a gas station outside the eastern Ukrainian town of Snizhne. In the town, he also observed a Buk missile system, which can fire missiles up to an altitude of 22,000 meters (72,000 feet).