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Deleted posts suggest Ukraine rebels downed Malaysian jet in error

Wreckage of the Malaysian airliner after it crashed, near the town of Shaktarsk, in rebel-held east UkraineSocial media posts by pro-Russian insurgents — most of them hastily removed — suggest the rebels thought they had shot down a Ukrainian army plane before realising in horror that it was in fact a packed Malaysian airliner. The Twitter and blog messages were immediately publicised by top Kiev officials in their furious information war with the Kremlin for global opinion and the hearts and minds of ethnic Russians caught in the worst East-West crisis since the Cold War. Confirmation of separatist fighters killing 298 passengers and crew on a flight from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur would further complicate Russian President Vladimir Putin’s efforts to paint their uprising as a fight for self-determination. Russia’s state media avoided any mention of the controversial posts and instead reported militia leaders’ later charges that the Ukrainian air force had shot down the Boeing 777 liner instead.

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