The Guardian is reporting that rebels in eastern Ukraine claimed responsibility for shooting down a large plane at high altitude, but have now removed the claim from their website. It’s been about 3 hours now since the Malaysia Airways passenger flight went down in the area:
A site attributed to a separatist leader suggests rebels may have shot down MH17, but it has since been taken down and details remain unclear.
It features a comment saying "We just downed an An-26 near Torez. It's down somewhere near Progress mine," which suggests rebel forces may have believed the passenger jet to be a Ukrainian military transport plane.
The page, on the VKontakte social network, is attributed to Igor Girkin, who goes by the nom de guerre Strelkov and is the self-proclaimed military commander of the rebels. The page has been posting for rebels affiliated with Strelkov for weeks, and has some 130,000 followers.
I’d call that a smoking gun confirming the position of the Ukrainian government: that Russian military assets given to the rebels shot down the plane.
FYI: Rebels don’t just have or get missiles capable of shooting stuff down large, multiple engine aircraft, at cruising altitude. Anywhere. Anytime. That’s a strictly military capability. And Ukraine has said all week that the rebels have been shooting at, and have shot down, large Ukrainian air force transports from high altitude. It looks like Russia has seriously stepped up their involvement in this conflict.