A top Ukrainian government official cited on Friday the purported social media post of a pro-Russian rebel leader as evidence that the rebels were responsible for shooting down Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 on Thursday.
Ukrainian Foreign Minister Pablo Klimkin told CNN that the government had intercepted phone calls between rebels, which have since been released to the press, in which they appear to be discussing the downed plane. But he also said that the rebels had posted about the incident on social media.
“We intercepted a number of phone calls between the terrorists, and they’re talking about shooting down the plane,” Klimkin said. He added that the rebels also “put on their Facebook the message about shooting down the plane. So it’s absolutely clear that it’s up to us to have responsibility on that.”
As reported Thursday, one of the pro-Russian rebel leaders allegedly posted a message on Russia’s version of Facebook taking credit for downing a plane at the same time that Flight 17 went missing. The post was later deleted.
The rebels later claimed that the page was a fake and pointed blame at the Ukraine military for the crash that killed nearly 300 people. U.S. officials have said that the plane was likely gunned down by a surface-to-air missile, but have not definitively said who was responsible.