9:50 a.m. ET: Rebels discuss the black boxes. The Ukrainian government released a YouTube video on Sunday that it said shows recorded conversations between rebels operating at the crash site.
In the first tape, an alleged rebel leader is talking to his charge on the ground about Flight 17’s black boxes.
When a rebel, Oleksiy, says he doesn’t know who has them, the leader responds, “Do it really quick. Urgently. Moscow asks where the boxes are,” he says.
The rebel at the site says the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) is there. The leader tells him they are interested in the black boxes. “They must be under our control,” he says.
In the second tape, the rebel leader tells Oleksiy not to let anybody else take anything from the crash site, saying that everything must remain in the separatists’ control.
In the third tape, the rebel at the site says he’s found the box. “We found something. This is just a box — satellite navigation block.”
“Hide it anyway,” the leader responds.
The audio recordings surfaced on the same YouTube account as an earlier recording that showed the rebels discussing the downed plane. The U.S. Embassy in Kiev referenced the recordings in its “United States Assessment of the Downing of Flight MH17 and its Aftermath” that we posted about, below.
Read the full report on Mashable.
9:30 a.m. ET: U.S. lays out the evidence
The United States released its evidence on Sunday that it says shows Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 was downed by a missile fired from within rebel-held territory in eastern Ukraine.
The evidence, which were posted on the website for the U.S. Embassy in Kiev, Ukraine (and summarized below by Mashable), includes:
- Russia is training separatist fighters on air defense systems at a facility in southwest Russia.
- Rebels have downed more than a dozen aircraft over the past few months.
- Around the time MH17 dropped out of the air, the U.S. detected a surface-to-air missile launch from a separatist-controlled area in southeastern Ukraine. “We believe this missile was an SA-11,” the U.S. says.
- Separatist communications obtained by the Ukrainian government reveal rebels discussing having and repositioning antiaircraft systems.
- Social media posts and a video that show a SA-11 system traveling through the separatist-controlled area where the jet was downed. One of the systems was missing one missile.
- Social media posts that show rebel leaders claiming responsibility for shooting down what they thought was a military transport plane on social media. Those posts were later deleted.
Read the full list of allegations, here.
8:45 a.m. ET: Rebels say they have Flight 17’s black boxes
Rebels have recovered the black boxes from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 and will hand them over to the International Civil Aviation Organization, a rebel leader said Sunday.
Alexander Borodai, self-proclaimed leader of the so-called Donetsk People’s Republic, also said the bodies recovered from the crash site in eastern Ukraine would remain in refrigerated train cars at a station in the rebel-held town of Torez, 15 kilometers (9 miles) away, until the arrival of an international aviation delegation.
“Some items, presumably the black boxes, were found and they have been delivered to Donetsk and they are under our control,” Borodai said at a news conference, according to Reuters.
It was not immediately clear Sunday if the rebels and the Ukrainian government were working together or were at odds with each other on recovering the bodies — and from their comments, many of officials didn’t appear to know either.
A Ukrainian emergency spokesperson said the armed rebels had forced emergency workers to hand over all 196 bodies recovered from the Malaysia Airlines crash site, and did not tell them where the bodies were going. Ukrainian government officials, meanwhile, prepared a disaster crisis center in the government-held city of Kharkiv, expecting to receive the bodies, but those hopes appeared delayed or even dashed Sunday.
“The bodies will go nowhere until experts arrive,” Borodai said, speaking in the rebel-held city of Donetsk.
Borodai said he was expecting a team of 12 Malaysian experts and that he was disappointed at how long they had taken to arrive. He insisted that rebels had not interfered with the crash investigation, despite reports to the contrary by international monitors and journalists at the crash site.