Ukraine Releases Audio It Claims Proves Rebels' Ties To Malaysia Airlines Crash

07/17/2014 07:59 pm ET

Ukraine's intelligence agency claimed on Thursday it had intercepted phone calls that connected separatists in the country's east to the crash of a Malaysian Airlines passenger plane.

Ukraine's state security agency, also known as S.B.U., released an edited version of the purported audio tapes between separatist rebels and Russian military intelligence to reporters in the wake of the crash.

S.B.U. identified the callers in one part of the conversation as rebel commander Igor Bezler and Russian intelligence official Vasili Geranin. The Huffington Post could not independently verify the identity of the callers.

"Just now, just now, a plane has been shot down," the man S.B.U. identified as Bezler says at the start of the recording, according to a HuffPost translation.

In a second conversation, which according to S.B.U. took place after rebels inspected the site of the crash, a man says that "the plane broke into pieces in the air." He adds later that they are "100 percent sure it's a civilian plane."

Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 went down over eastern Ukraine near the Russian border on Thursday, killing all of the nearly 300 people aboard. U.S. officials have said they believe the jet was struck by a surface-to-air missile.

Eastern Ukraine has witnessed fierce fighting between the military and Russian-backed separatists in recent weeks. The Ukrainian military, the separatists and Russia all denied responsibility for the crash on Thursday.

Watch the full audio with Huffpost translation in the video above.

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