Rebel commander: We shot down a civilian aircraft.. there are corpses of women and children

Ukraine intelligence officials have released audio purporting to show a pro-Russian rebel commander admitting to shooting down a civilian plane - just hours after the MH17 tragedy.

The first of the several recordings released, intercepted by Ukraine's security agency, the SBU, and published by the New York Times, features a commander identified as Igor Belzer telling a Russian military intelligence officer identified as Vasili Geranin that rebels had "shot down a plane".

In a second call, which Ukrainian authorities claim is between two militants nicknamed 'Major' and 'Greek', they begin to realise it was a passenger plane. Major says Cossack militants based in Chernukhino had "100 per cent" shot down a civilian aircraft.

In the third, an unidentified militant tells a man Ukranian authorities identify as Cossack commander Nikolay Kozitsin that "there are lots of corpses of women and children."

In a translation provided by the New York Times, he continues: "The Cossacks are out there looking at all this. They say on TV it's an AN-26, a Ukrainian transport [plane]. But it has a Malaysia Airlines logo on it, they say."

Kozitsin replies: "Why the f* were they flying here, a war is going on?"

Please log in or register to upvote this article
The Conversation (0)