KYIV, Ukraine — Ukraine's president says his country's armed forces did not shoot at any airborne targets, after reports that a Malaysian Airlines plane went down over Ukraine.

President Petro Poroshenko says Thursday "we do not exclude that this plane was shot down, and we stress that the Armed Forces of Ukraine did not take action against any airborne targets.''

Poroshenko said "we are sure that those who are guilty in this tragedy will be held responsible.''

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP's earlier story is below.

A Ukrainian official said a passenger plane carrying 295 people was shot down Thursday over a town in the east of the country, and Malaysian Airlines tweeted that it lost contact with one of its flights over Ukrainian airspace.

Anton Gerashenko, an adviser to Ukraine's interior minister, said on his Facebook page the plane was flying at an altitude of 10,000 metres (33,000 feet). He also said it was hit by a missile fired from a Buk launcher, which can fire missiles up to an altitude of 22,000 metres (72,000 feet).

Malaysia Airlines said on its Twitter feed that it ``has lost contact of MH17 from Amsterdam. The last known position was over Ukrainian airspace. More details to follow.''

It was the second time that a Malaysia Airlines plane had gone missing in less than six months. Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 disappeared in March while en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing. It has not been found, but the search has been concentrated in the Indian Ocean far west of Australia.

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  • MH17 Crash

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  • A picture taken on July 17, 2014 shows the wreckages of the malaysian airliner carrying 295 people from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur after it crashed, near the town of Shaktarsk, in rebel-held east Ukraine. Pro-Russian rebels fighting central Kiev authorities claimed on Thursday that the Malaysian airline that crashed in Ukraine had been shot down by a Ukrainian jet. The head of Ukraine's air traffic control agency said Thursday that the crew of the Malaysia Airlines jet that crashed in the separatist east had reported no problems during flight. AFP PHOTO/DOMINIQUE FAGET (Photo credit should read DOMINIQUE FAGET/AFP/Getty Images)

  • People walk amongst the debris, at the crash site of a passenger plane near the village of Hrabove, Ukraine, Thursday, July 17, 2014. A Ukrainian official said a passenger plane carrying 295 people was shot down Thursday as it flew over the country and plumes of black smoke rose up near a rebel-held village in eastern Ukraine. Malaysia Airlines tweeted that it lost contact with one of its flights as it was traveling from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur over Ukrainian airspace. (AP Photo/Dmitry Lovetsky)

  • People stand, on July 17, 2014, amongst the wreckages of the malaysian airliner carrying 295 people from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur after it crashed, near the town of Shaktarsk, in rebel-held east Ukraine. Pro-Russian rebels fighting central Kiev authorities claimed on Thursday that the Malaysian airline that crashed in Ukraine had been shot down by a Ukrainian jet. The head of Ukraine's air traffic control agency said Thursday that the crew of the Malaysia Airlines jet that crashed in the separatist east had reported no problems during flight. AFP PHOTO/DOMINIQUE FAGET (Photo credit should read DOMINIQUE FAGET/AFP/Getty Images)

  • Luggages are pictured on July 17, 2014 on the site of the crash of the malaysian airliner carrying 295 people from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur, near the town of Shaktarsk, in rebel-held east Ukraine. Pro-Russian rebels fighting central Kiev authorities claimed on Thursday that the Malaysian airline that crashed in Ukraine had been shot down by a Ukrainian jet. The head of Ukraine's air traffic control agency said Thursday that the crew of the Malaysia Airlines jet that crashed in the separatist east had reported no problems during flight. AFP PHOTO/DOMINIQUE FAGET (Photo credit should read DOMINIQUE FAGET/AFP/Getty Images)

  • A picture taken on July 17, 2014 shows the wreckages of the malaysian airliner carrying 295 people from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur after it crashed, near the town of Shaktarsk, in rebel-held east Ukraine. Pro-Russian rebels fighting central Kiev authorities claimed on Thursday that the Malaysian airline that crashed in Ukraine had been shot down by a Ukrainian jet. The head of Ukraine's air traffic control agency said Thursday that the crew of the Malaysia Airlines jet that crashed in the separatist east had reported no problems during flight. AFP PHOTO/DOMINIQUE FAGET (Photo credit should read DOMINIQUE FAGET/AFP/Getty Images)

  • In this image taken from video, Thursday July 17, 2014, showing part of the wreckage of a passenger plane carrying 295 people after it was shot down Thursday as it flew over Ukraine, near the village of Hrabove, in eastern Ukraine. Malaysia Airlines tweeted that it lost contact with one of its flights as it was traveling from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur over Ukrainian airspace.(AP Photo / Channel 1) RUSSIA OUT - TV OUT

  • In this image taken from video, Thursday July 17, 2014, showing part of the wreckage of a passenger plane carrying 295 people was shot down Thursday as it flew over the country and plumes of black smoke rose up near a rebel-held village Hrabove, in eastern Ukraine. Malaysia Airlines tweeted that it lost contact with one of its flights as it was traveling from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur over Ukrainian airspace. (AP Photo / Channel 1) RUSSIA OUT - TV OUT

  • In this image taken from video, Thursday July 17, 2014, showing flames rising from part of the wreckage of a passenger plane carrying 295 people after it was shot down Thursday as it flew over Ukraine, near the village of Hrabove, in eastern Ukraine. Malaysia Airlines tweeted that it lost contact with one of its flights as it was traveling from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur over Ukrainian airspace. (AP Photo / Channel 1) RUSSIA OUT - TV OUT

  • In this image taken from video, Thursday July 17, 2014, people walk amongst the debris at the crash site after a passenger plane carrying 295 people was shot down Thursday as it flew over Ukraine, near the village of Hrabove, in eastern Ukraine. Malaysia Airlines tweeted that it lost contact with one of its flights as it was traveling from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur over Ukrainian airspace. (AP Photo / Channel 1) RUSSIA OUT - TV OUT

  • In this image taken from video, Thursday July 17, 2014, showing debris at the crash site after a passenger plane carrying 295 people was shot down Thursday as it flew over Ukraine, near the village of Hrabove, in eastern Ukraine. Malaysia Airlines tweeted that it lost contact with one of its flights as it was traveling from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur over Ukrainian airspace. (AP Photo / Channel 1) RUSSIA OUT - TV OUT

  • Smoke rises up at a crash site of a passenger plane, near the village of Hrabove, Ukraine, Thursday, July 17, 2014. A Ukrainian official said a passenger plane carrying 295 people was shot down Thursday as it flew over the country and plumes of black smoke rose up near a rebel-held village in eastern Ukraine. Malaysia Airlines tweeted that it lost contact with one of its flights as it was traveling from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur over Ukrainian airspace. (AP Photo/Dmitry Lovetsky)

  • MH17 Crash

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  • MH17 Crash

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  • MH17 Crash

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  • MH17 Crash

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  • People gather near flowers and candles placed in front of the Embassy of the Netherlands in Kiev on July 17, 2014 to commemorate passengers of Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 carrying 295 people from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur which crashed in eastern Ukraine. Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said on July 17 that the Malaysia Airlines jet that crashed over rebel-held eastern Ukraine may have been shot down.' Ukraine's government and pro-Russian insurgents traded blame for the disaster, with comments attributed to a rebel commander suggesting his men may have downed Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 by mistake, believing it was a Ukrainian army transport plane. AFP PHOTO/ SERGEI SUPINSKY (Photo credit should read SERGEI SUPINSKY/AFP/Getty Images)

  • A woman lights a candle in front of the Embassy of the Netherlands in Kiev on July 17, 2014, to commemorate passengers of Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 carrying 295 people from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur which crashed in eastern Ukraine. Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said on July 17 that the Malaysia Airlines jet that crashed over rebel-held eastern Ukraine may have been shot down.' Ukraine's government and pro-Russian insurgents traded blame for the disaster, with comments attributed to a rebel commander suggesting his men may have downed Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 by mistake, believing it was a Ukrainian army transport plane. AFP PHOTO/ SERGEI SUPINSKY (Photo credit should read SERGEI SUPINSKY/AFP/Getty Images)

  • Akmar Binti Mohd Noor, 67, whose sister was onboard Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 from Amsterdam cries outside the family holding area at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport in Sepang on July 18, 2014. A Malaysian airliner carrying 295 people from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur crashed on July 17 in rebel-held east Ukraine, as Kiev said the jet was shot down in a 'terrorist' attack. Ukraine's government and pro-Russian insurgents traded blame for the disaster, with comments attributed to a rebel commander suggesting his men may have downed Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 by mistake, believing it was a Ukrainian army transport plane. AFP PHOTO/ MANAN VATSYAYANA (Photo credit should read MANAN VATSYAYANA/AFP/Getty Images)

  • Relatives of people onboard Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 from Amsterdam react outside the family holding area at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport in Sepang on July 18, 2014. A Malaysian airliner carrying 295 people from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur crashed on July 17 in rebel-held east Ukraine, as Kiev said the jet was shot down in a 'terrorist' attack. Ukraine's government and pro-Russian insurgents traded blame for the disaster, with comments attributed to a rebel commander suggesting his men may have downed Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 by mistake, believing it was a Ukrainian army transport plane. AFP PHOTO/ MANAN VATSYAYANA (Photo credit should read MANAN VATSYAYANA/AFP/Getty Images)

  • People react as they wait for news after a Malaysia Airlines plane crashed in eastern Ukraine, at Kuala Lumpur International Airport, in Sepang, Malaysia, Friday, July 18, 2014. Ukraine said a passenger plane carrying 295 people was shot down Thursday as it flew over the country, and both the government and the pro-Russia separatists fighting in the region denied any responsibility for downing the plane. (AP Photo/Vincent Thian)

  • A closed desk of Malaysian airlines is seen at Schiphol airport in Amsterdam, Thursday, July 17, 2014. Ukraine said a passenger plane carrying 295 people was shot down Thursday as it flew over the country, and both the government and the pro-Russia separatists fighting in the region denied any responsibility for downing the plane. (AP Photo/Phil Nijhuis)

  • A closed desk of Malaysian airlines is seen at Schiphol airport in Amsterdam, Thursday, July 17, 2014. Ukraine said a passenger plane carrying 295 people was shot down Thursday as it flew over the country, and both the government and the pro-Russia separatists fighting in the region denied any responsibility for downing the plane. (AP Photo/Phil Nijhuis)

The Donetsk region government said Thursday's plane crashed near a village called Grabovo, which it said is currently under the control of armed pro-Russian separatists. The region where theflight was lost has seen severe fighting between Ukrainian forces and pro-Russia separatist rebels in recent days.

A launcher similar to the Buk missile system was seen by Associated Press journalists near the eastern Ukrainian town of Snizhne earlier Thursday.

On Wednesday evening, a Ukrainian fighter jet was shot down by an air-to-air missile from a Russian plane, Ukrainian authorities said Thursday, adding to what Kyiv says is mounting evidence that Moscow is directly supporting the separatist insurgents in eastern Ukraine. Security Council spokesman Andrei Lysenko said the pilot of the Sukhoi-25 jet hit by the air-to-air missile was forced to bail after his jet was shot down.

Pro-Russia rebels, meanwhile, claimed responsibility for strikes Wednesday on two Ukrainian Sukhoi-25 jets. The Ukrainian Defence Ministry said the second jet was hit by a portable surface-to-air missile, but added the pilot was unscathed and managed to land his plane safely

Moscow denies Western charges that is supporting the separatists or sowing unrest in its neighbour. The Russian Defence Ministry couldn't be reached for comment Thursday about the Ukrainian jet and Russia's foreign ministry didn't respond to multiple requests for comment.

Earlier this week, Ukraine said a military transport plane was shot down Monday by a missile fired from Russian territory.

The rebels are known to possess portable anti-aircraft rocket launchers, but Ukrainian officials say that kind of weapon would have been unable to reach Monday's plane at the altitude at which it was flying Monday. Aviation experts, however, have questioned whether the stricken transport plane was flying at the altitude Ukrainian officials had claimed.

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The black box flight recorders from the doomed Malaysia Airlines jet suffered slight damage in the attack and crash, Reuters reported.

"During the inspection it was established that the recorders have slight mechanical damage which did not affect the intactness of the recorders," Russia's Interstate Aviation Committee, a supervisory body that oversees the use and management of civil aviation, stated.

FMI: Click here.

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Two more planes arrived in the Netherlands carrying the remains of victims on Thursday, AP reports:

Human remains continue to be found a full week after the plane went down, underlining concerns about the halting and chaotic recovery effort at the sprawling site spread across farmland in eastern Ukraine. Armed separatists control the area and have hindered access by investigators.

Read the full story here.

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President Barack Obama spoke with Netherlands Prime Minister Mark Rutte on the phone and they agreed that more sanctions need to be imposed on Russia, Reuters reports:

"Instead of de-escalating the situation, they agreed that all evidence indicates Russia is still arming and supplying separatists who continue to engage in deadly acts of aggression against Ukrainian armed forces," the White House said.

Read more here.

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07/24/2014 5:48 PM EDT
Shelling In Donetsk

Foreign correspondents report shelling in the city of Donetsk on Thursday night.



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Reuters reports:

Gunmen chased investigators from the site where the Malaysian airliner crashed and "lunatics" were still making life difficult for those who wanted to find out what downed flight MH17, officials said on Thursday.

As foreign ministers from Australia and the Netherlands met Ukrainian officials to coordinate the investigation, the head of Ukraine's Emergency Situations Service and the chief of a Dutch police mission said their work at the site was being hampered.

The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, however, said there had been no incidents, and that they had been joined by experts from Malaysia and Australia, which lost 28 citizens in the crash.

The West has called for a thorough investigation into the downing of flight MH17 over eastern Ukraine to get justice for the 298 people who were killed, but have voiced concern that the rebels were preventing investigators from doing their job.

"They took away our tents, the ones which were at our base camp," Serhiy Bochkovsky, the head of the emergencies service, told a news conference in the eastern city of Kharkiv from where the remains of the victims are starting their journey home.

"We were allowed only our equipment and machinery and we were chased away at gunpoint."

He did not say when this happened.

Read the full story here.

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netherlands
A convoy of hearses carry bodies and remains from those killed on Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 on July 24, 2014 in Boxtel, Netherlands. (Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images)

netherlands
Dutch military personnel carry coffins containing the remains of the victims of the MH17 plane crash to a waiting hearse at the airbase in Eindhoven on July 24, 2014. (MARCEL VAN HOORN/AFP/Getty Images)

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The Washington Post has an infographic showing information surrounding each of the aircraft that have been shot in Ukraine since May 2.

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From Reuters:

Investigators looking into the downing of MalaysiaAirlines flight MH17 have found no evidence that either of the aircraft's two black boxes were tampered with, the Dutch Safety Board, which is coordinating the investigation, said.

In a statement on Thursday, the Board said the data from theBoeing 777's flight data recorder had been successfully downloaded by investigators at Britain's Air Accident Investigation Branch. The other voice recorder was successfully read the day before.

World leaders had expressed concern that the black boxes, which could contain data vital to ascertaining the cause of the crash, may have been manipulated by Moscow-backed rebels who control the territory in which the aircraft crashed last week.

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(Reuters) - Russia will cooperate with the investigation into the downing of a Malaysian airliner a week ago and is satisfied that the Netherlands, rather than Ukraine, is leading the effort, the country's ambassador to Malaysia said on Thursday.

Reuters explains:

The norm under rules set down by the United Nation's civil aviation body (ICAO) is that an air investigation is led by the state in whose territory the plane crash, but Russia had said that Ukraine should not take charge because the rebels who control the crash site did not trust the authorities in Kiev.

Read the full story here.

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07/24/2014 9:35 AM EDT
Fixer For CNN Abducted
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07/24/2014 5:05 AM EDT
Australia Sends Police To Ukraine

Fifty Australian police officers are heading to Ukraine to help secure the Malaysian plane crash site, The Associated Press reported.

The officers will work as part of an international team under United Nations' authority, Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott said.

Click here for more.

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The remains of victims of the July 17 Malaysia Airlines crash have been loaded aboard two military transports.

According to The Associated Press, two military planes holding 51 containers of bodies and body parts are ready to fly from Kharkiv to the Netherlands, Ukraine's government said.

For more, click here.

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Ukraine's ambassador to the United States Olexander Motsyk leveled blame for the downing of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 firmly with Russia, writing for CNN, "This appalling event would not have happened had Russia not launched its aggression against Ukraine."

Motsyk points to evidence that the missiles suspected of felling the plane were supplied by Russia and ongoing Russian support for rebels in Ukraine, claiming "terrorists continue killing civilians, destroying infrastructure and shooting down Ukrainian planes with Russian weapons."

He urges Russia to "immediately stop supporting terrorists acting in eastern Ukraine and to discontinue supplies of mercenaries and weapons across the border."

Read the article at CNN.

-- Andrew Hart

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Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop vowed to provide whatever support would be needed to secure the Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 crash site in eastern Ukraine. She announced that she would be tarveling to Ukraine to discuss the process of securing the site with other leaders. There has been concern over rebels' control of the site has led to crucial evidence being tampered with or allowed to go without examination for too long.

37 Australians were aboard the plane downed last week. Bishop held that Australia's first priority was repatriating its citizens and residents aboard the plane, next would be securing the site. It is being reported that Australian troops could be sent to help secure the site.

Bishop's statement said, "We stand ready to provide whatever support or resources are needed."

More from the AP here.

-- Andrew Hart

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A scholar of Russia and the Cold War argues that the downing of Malaysia Airlines and the Ukrainian fighter jets shot down in the eastern part of the country point to a trend of Russia's role in such incidents.

Mark Kramer of Harvard writes for CNN, "even if the downing of the airliner had been deliberate, it would not have been unprecedented. Indeed, on numerous occasions, insurgents armed by Moscow have deliberately shot down civilian planes." He goes on to reference incidents from the 1970s to 1990s where insurgents that targeted aircraft had apparent Soviet and Russian support.

Read the article on CNN here.

-- Andrew Hart

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BuzzFeed carries Reuters report on the examination of key evidence from the downed Malaysia Airlines MH17 plane by the International Civil Aviation Organization.

More from Reuters

-- Andrew Hart

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Australian couple Anthony Maslin and Rin Norris, who lost their three children in the MH17 crash, as well as Rin Norris' father, penned a devastating open letter describing their grief. "Our pain is intense and relentless. We live in a hell beyond hell," they write, in the letter published by Perth News.

Their children, Mo, 12, Evie, 10 and Otis, 8 , were returning home from vacation in Amsterdam on the Malaysia Airlines flight, the newspaper reports.

The letter continues:

"No one deserves what we are going through.

Not even the people who shot our whole family out of the sky.

No hate in the world is as strong as the love we have for our children, for Mo, for Evie, for Otis."

Read the full letter on Perth News here.

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As the U.S. investigates whether the shots that took down two Ukrainian military fighter jets in eastern Ukraine were fired upon from the Russia side of the border, U.S. officials claim that Russia has been taking position near the border with eastern Ukraine.

CNN reports:

Some of the 12,000-15,000 Russian troop near the eastern Ukraine border have broken up into smaller groups and moved within five miles or less of the border, and some are even positioned right at the border, according to two U.S. officials.

-- Andrew Hart

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U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Geoffrey Pyatt tells CNN's Christiane Amanpour that Russia is continuing to send weapons over its border into Ukraine.

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A separatist commander in Eastern Ukraine confirmed to Reuters that rebels had access to the type of anti-aircraft missiles that is believed to have been used to down Malaysia Airlines flight 17. Alexander Khodakovsky also told the news service that the system may have been brought in from Russia, and may already have crossed the border back into Russia.

"I knew that a BUK came from Luhansk. At the time I was told that a BUK from Luhansk was coming under the flag of the LNR," he said, referring to the Luhansk People's Republic, the main rebel group operating in Luhansk, one of two rebel provinces along with Donetsk, the province where the crash took place.

"That BUK I know about. I heard about it. I think they sent it back. Because I found out about it at exactly the moment that I found out that this tragedy had taken place. They probably sent it back in order to remove proof of its presence," Khodakovsky told Reuters on Tuesday.

Read the full story here.

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German politicians called on the international soccer association FIFA to move the 2018 World Cup tournament from Russia, Reuters reports. But the Dutch soccer association (KNVB) said it would prefer to postpone the discussion for now.

More from Reuters:

“The association is well aware that a future World Cup in Russia will stir a lot of emotion among Soccer lovers and the next of kin in the Netherlands," the KNVB said.

“Standing still to remember our enormous loss is now the priority. The KNVB believes it would be more appropriate to hold the discussion over the future World Cup in Russia at a later time once the investigation into the disaster is completed.”

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Reuters reports:

The Dutch Safety Board said on Wednesday it had taken charge of an international investigation into the crash last week in Ukraine of a Malaysian airliner in which 298 people died, the majority from the Netherlands.

In a statement, the authority said it would coordinate a team of 24 investigators from Ukraine, Malaysia, Germany, the United States, the United Kingdom and Russia and the International Civil Aviation Organization. It said four Dutch investigators were operating in Ukraine.

The authority said it would look at whether the Boeing 777's black box flight data recorders had been tampered with. It said it would also conduct separate investigations into the decision-making processes behind flight routes and the availability of passenger lists.

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