Moscow, July 21 (IANS) A Ukrainian Su-25 fighter jet was flying close to Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 before it crashed in eastern Ukraine, a Russian military official said on Monday.
The Ukrainian fighter jet flew within 3-5 km of the ill-fated Malaysian airliner before it was downed, Xinhua cited Andrei Kartopolov, chief of the main operative department of the General Staff, as telling reporters.
Moscow would ask for an explanation from Kiev about this, he added.
The Malaysian passenger jet strayed 14 km north from its planned route after passing Ukraine's eastern city of Donetsk, according to the official.
"The crew was attempting to return to the planned aerial corridor, but the flight was terminated at that moment," he said.
Flight MH17, while flying from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur, crashed Thursday afternoon in the conflict-hit Donetsk region in eastern Ukraine killing all 283 passengers and 15 crew on board.
According to reports, the indications are that the Boeing 777 crashed after being hit by a missile. US President Barack Obama said that initial investigations showed that the missile was fired from an area in Ukraine controlled by anti-Kiev militants.
Kartopolov also claimed that a group of Ukrainian Buk-M1 anti-aircraft batteries were redeployed near Donetsk Thursday when flight MH17 crashed in the area.
These surface-to-air systems are capable of hitting targets at a distance of up to 35 km at an altitude of 22 km. For what purpose and against whom were these missile systems deployed? As is known, the militia has no aviation," he said
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