Separatist leader 'boasts of downing plane in Ukraine'

A separatist leader claimed on social media his men had shot down an aircraft in eastern Ukraine shortly before reports emerged of a passenger plane crashing in the area, Radio Free Europe Radio Liberty reports.

Igor Girkin wrote on Russia's largest social media site this afternoon: "In the vicinity of Torez, we just downed a plane, an AN-26 [a transport plane used by Ukrainian military].

"It is lying somewhere in the Progress Mine. We have issued warnings not to fly in our airspace. We have video confirming. The bird fell on a waste heap. Residential areas were not hit. Civilians were not injured."

The post also included two videos that showed black smoke billowing in the distance.

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Investigators to examine second black box from MH17

Air investigators are to examine a second black box which was recovered from flight MH17 today. The data could reveal if the pilots were aware of a missile coming towards the plane and what happened in the last few seconds of the flight if they were able to speak.