TPM Livewire

Rebel Leader: Separatists Possessed Type Of Missile Used In Plane Attack

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AP Photo / Ivan Sekretarev

Samantha Power, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, said last week that the United States believed a Buk missile -- also known as an SA-11 -- had been fired from rebel-controlled territory and brought down the commercial plane, killing all 298 passengers.

Khodakovsky did not confirm that the rebels in Donetsk, where the attack occurred, possessed those weapons or that they had fired on the plane. But his comments do confirm that such weaponry might have been available to rebels in the area. The separatists had previously bragged about possessing the missiles, according to Reuters, but the Donetsk group later denied it after the plane attack.

"What resources our partners have, we cannot be entirely certain," he said. "Was there (a BUK)? Wasn’t there? If there was proof that there was, then there can be no question."

Reuters reported that Khodakovsky, who is Ukrainian, had experienced some friction with rebels from Russia -- including Igor Strelkov, the feared separatist leader in Donetsk who had allegedly boasted on social media of shooting down an airplane at about the same time Flight 17 crashed.

Khodakovsky still blamed the Ukrainian government for the attack, saying that the government had provoked a response by launching airstrikes in the area.

"Even if there was a BUK, and even if the BUK was used," he said, "Ukraine did everything to ensure that a civilian aircraft was shot down."