War has gone beyond the territory of Ukraine, the country’s President Petro Poroshenko has stated following the shocking news that the Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 on a flight from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur was brought down yesterday (17 July) over the territory of Eastern Ukraine close to the Russian border.

“Today, terrorists have killed almost 300 persons with one shot”, said Poroshenko in his statement. While it appears that the plane was shot down by pro-Russian separatists in Eastern Ukraine, the reaction of EU officials stopped short of pointing out at them.

Russian President Vladimir Putin pinned the blamed on Kyiv for renewing its offensive against the rebels two weeks ago after a ceasefire failed to hold.

“I would like to note that this tragedy would not have occurred if there were peace in that country, or in any case, if hostilities had not resumed in southeast Ukraine. And certainly, the government over whose territory it occurred is responsible for this terrible tragedy,” Putin is quoted as saying by the Kremlin website.

US Vice President Joe Biden said the jet was "blown out of the sky" and a US official said that while its origin was unclear, a surface-to-air missile was probably responsible.

Reportedly, the pro-Russian separatists who have been the first on the crash site have taken the airplane’s black box to Moscow.

“I have just had phone conversations with President of the USA Barack Obama, Prime Ministers of Malaysia and the Netherlands – countries passengers of which have suffered most from the terrorist act. It is unfortunate that terrorists have already claimed their willingness to cover things up and take the flight data recorder, the so-called black box, to Moscow,” Poroshenko said.

Intercepted calls: Kozytsyn’s Russian Cossacs shut down the plane

According to intercepted telephone conversations, a separatist group in Eastern Ukraine known as Kozitsyn’s Russian Cossacs have brought down the Malaysian airliner flight MH17 yesterday (17 July), killing all 295 people aboard and sharply increasing tensions between Russia and the West.

According to the General Staff of Ukrainian Armed Forces,  the Malaysia Airlines was brought down by a Russian-made ground-launched BUK missile, as the liner was flying at an altitude of 10,000 meters.

Ukraine has no long-range air defence missile systems in this area.

The plane was shot down, because the Russian air defence systems was affording protection to Russian mercenaries and terrorists in this area, the Ukraine ministry said.

The leader of the terrorists Igor Girkin (Strelkov) immediately commented on the airplane catastrophe, believing that it was an Ukrainian jet that was put down: “In Torez [Donetsk region, close to the Russian border] An-26 was shot down, its crashes are lying somewhere near the coal mine “Progress”. We have warned everyone: do not fly in our skies.”

An intercepted telephone conversation 30 minutes after the crash Igor ‘Bes’ (Demon) Bezler tells Vassily Geranin, colonel of the Main Intelligence Directorate of the General Forces of the Russian Federation, that Kozitsyn’s Russian Cossacs, based at Chernukhino [close to Horlivka], have put down what is believed to be at that moment a Ukrainian military plane.

In a second conversation a first speaker designated as “Major” tells his superior called “Grek” (Greek) that the remains of the plane have been inspected and that it has become obvious that it’s a civil plane and there are many people killed.

Plane was ‘bringing spies’

In a third intercepted conversation military commander Mykola Kozitsyn looks tense at the news that the plane proves to be civilian, while the militant to whom he speaks tries to cheer him up, saying that the plane was “bringing spies”.

According to information obtained by EurActiv, the Russian Cossacs in the region of Luhansk, with headquarters at Antratsyt, Luhansk region, are under the command of Mykola Ivanovych Kozitsyn, , Russian citizen. He holds the rank “General of the Russian Cossacks Forces Army” and introduces himself as a Russian GRU (Military intelligence) officer. The strength of the Russian Cossacs in the Luhansk region is of up to 1000 people.

Read: Ukraine submits evidence of Russian covert action

Kozitsyn, who is on the EU sanctions list, is responsible for kidnapping of two teams of the OSCE observers in late May 2014.

According to information provided by the Ukrainian government to EU countries before the 16 June European Council, the first interlocutor in the intercepted conversations Igor ‘Bes’ Bezler (Igor Mykolaiovich Bezler) is a Russian citizen, leader of a separatist group located in Horlivka, Donetsk region. He is a former member of a Russian GRU subversive group led by Igor Girkin (Strelok). The unit comprised of two groups of 70 and 250 heavily armed insurgents.

Igor Vsevolodovych Girkin (Strelok) is the leader of a separatist group stationed in Slaviansk, Donetsk region. It comprises some 200 trained fighters and up to 800 armed “insurgents”.

Other militant groups include the so-called “Abwehr” group of Sergei Anatoliovich Zdriliuk, located at Kramatorsk, the battalion ‘Vostok” of Alexandr Sergiovich Khodakovskyi located in Donetsk, the “Chapaev” faction of Fedir Dmytrovich Berezin, located in Donetsk, the group of Ihor Venedyktovich Plotnitski based in Luhansk and in the Luhansk region.