Pro-separatist Ukrainian rebels likely did not have the lone technical capability to shoot down the Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 passenger jet that went down in a conflict zone close to the Russian border Thursday, according to a ranking Pentagon official.
“Shoulder fired missiles have a ceiling of about 10,000 feet. The Malaysian air flight was supposedly shot down at 33,000 feet. That means it would have had to have been shot down by either a sophisticated surface-to-air missile or an air-to-air missile fired by a jet,” the official, who was not permitted to speak publicly, told The Daily Caller.
Flight MH17 was en route from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur with 280 passengers and 15 crew members when the airline lost contact with the jet in Ukrainian air space. Ukrainian officials report the plane was shot down by a Russian-made SA-17 Buk truck-mounted surface-to-air missile launcher.
According to the official, both Ukraine and Russia have Buks, but since the plane was traveling from west to east and had already overflown all of western Ukraine, it’s unlikely the Ukrainian government waited until it reached the Russian border to shoot it down if it was perceived as a threat.