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Wed Jul 23, 2014, 12:14 PM

Exclusive: Ukraine rebel commander acknowledges fighters had BUK missile [View all]

Source: Reuters

A powerful Ukrainian rebel leader has confirmed that pro-Russian separatists had anti-aircraft missiles of the type Washington says were used to shoot down Malaysia Airlines flight MH17.

In an interview with Reuters, Alexander Khodakovsky, commander of the Vostok Battalion, acknowledged for the first time since the airliner was brought down in eastern Ukraine on Thursday that the rebels did possess the BUK missile system.

He also indicated that the BUK may have originated in Russia and could have been sent back to remove proof of its presence.

Before the Malaysian plane was shot down, rebels had boasted of obtaining the BUK missiles, which can shoot down airliners at cruising height. But since the disaster the separatists' main group, the self-proclaimed People’s Republic of Donetsk, has repeatedly denied ever having possessed such weapons.

Read more: http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/07/23/us-ukraine-crisis-commander-exclusive-idUSKBN0FS1V920140723

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