PRO-Russian separatists claimed to have seized a ground-to-air missile system from the Ukranian authorities before Malaysian Airlines flight MH-17 was brought down over the country with the loss of 295 lives.

The Donetsk People's Republic tweeted an image of four missiles loaded on the portable missile device before yesterday's crash involving Flight MH-17, a Boeing 777-200, travelling from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur. The military commander of the rebels, Russian-born Igor Strelkov, also wrote on his social media page about 30 minutes before the passenger plane disappeared from radar at 2.15pm UK-time that his forces had brought down a military Antonov An-26 turboprop transport plane of a type used by Ukraine's forces.

The separatists are believed to have shot down two Ukrainian military planes over the region in recent days.

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The Donestk People's Republic later removed the missile image as Ukraine accused "terrorists" - militants fighting to unite eastern Ukraine with Russia - of shooting down the jet with a heavy, Soviet-era ground-to-air missile.

Ukraine's president Petro Poroshenko tweeted: "MH-17 is not an incident or catastrophe, it is a terrorist attack."