The Slatest

Ukrainian Government and Rebels Both Say They Have MH17’s Black Box, Deny Shooting Plane Down

A Dutch flag flies at half-staff in The Hague.

REUTERS/Cris Toala Olivares

Egregiously conflicting claims about downed flight MH17 coming out of the Ukraine this morning. Per the New York Times, an advisor to the Ukrainian regional government in the area of the crash says that the national government’s Emergency Services Ministry has recovered the planes’ black-box voice and data recorders. But the pro-Russian leader of local rebels, Aleksandr Borodai, says his group in fact has the black boxes and will give them to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, an alliance of European governments. Borodai’s reasoning:

He also said he had no intention of tampering with the black boxes because he said they would prove that the separatists were not guilty of shooting down the plane. “It is very much in our interests to have the most serious and dispassionate review of this issue by all international experts,” he said. “We will allow any international experts to the place of downing of the plane.”

The Ukrainian government also denies culpability in the crash, and released what it claims are intercepted calls between rebels discussing a missile attack on the plane:

The audio’s veracity hasn’t been confirmed by any outside group, but the United States appears to believe that the missile that brought the plane down was fired from rebel-controlled territory:

The Russian government also denies shooting down MH17, which crashed near the Russia-Ukraine border.