What We Do and Don't Know About the Malaysia Airlines Crash in Ukraine

Questions and answers about the MH17 crash.

What's Going On? - On July 17, the unthinkable happened. Mere months after one Malaysian Airlines plane seemingly disappeared from the face of the earth, a second was downed in eastern Ukraine ? a tragic consequence of the ongoing conflict between that nation and Russia. There also has been a lot of finger pointing. Here's what we do and don't yet know and some questions still to be answered.  ?  Joyce Jones (@BETpolitichick)   (Photo: AP Photo/Dmitry Lovetsky)

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What's Going On? - On July 17, the unthinkable happened. Mere months after one Malaysian Airlines plane seemingly disappeared from the face of the earth, a second was downed in eastern Ukraine – a tragic consequence of the ongoing conflict between that nation and Russia. There also has been a lot of finger pointing. Here's what we do and don't yet know and some questions still to be answered.  –  Joyce Jones (@BETpolitichick) (Photo: AP Photo/Dmitry Lovetsky)

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Who Shot Down the Plane? - A full investigation is still pending, but the prevailing view seems to be that Russian-backed separatists in Ukraine shot down the plane using a surface-to-air missile. The rebels and Russia have denied any involvement. (Photo: AP Photo/JoePriesAviation.net)

Was the Passenger Plane Targeted on Purpose? - It is believed that those behind the attack may have mistaken the Malaysia Airlines plane for a Ukrainian transport aircraft. According to Arizona Sen. John McCain, the incident "has the earmarks of a mistaken identification."(Photo: T.J. Kirkpatrick/Getty Images)

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Was the Passenger Plane Targeted on Purpose? - It is believed that those behind the attack may have mistaken the Malaysia Airlines plane for a Ukrainian transport aircraft. According to Arizona Sen. John McCain, the incident "has the earmarks of a mistaken identification."(Photo: T.J. Kirkpatrick/Getty Images)

Who Were the Victims? - According to the flight manifest released by Malaysia Airlines, the victims include 193 Dutch; 43 Malaysians, including 15 crewmembers; 27 Australians; 12 Indonesians; four Germans; four Belgians; three Filipinos; one Canadian; and one New Zealander. Among that group were three infants and six top AIDS researchers.(Photo: AP Photo/Sergei Chuzavkov)

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Who Were the Victims? - According to the flight manifest released by Malaysia Airlines, the victims include 193 Dutch; 43 Malaysians, including 15 crewmembers; 27 Australians; 12 Indonesians; four Germans; four Belgians; three Filipinos; one Canadian; and one New Zealander. Among that group were three infants and six top AIDS researchers.(Photo: AP Photo/Sergei Chuzavkov)

Where Was the Flight Headed? - The airliner was traveling from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur when it crashed. (Photo: AP Photo/Vincent Thian)

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Where Was the Flight Headed? - The airliner was traveling from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur when it crashed. (Photo: AP Photo/Vincent Thian)

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Why Did Flight 17 Fly Over a War Zone? - The airway was closed only to planes traveling under 32,000 feet. In addition, other airlines have continued to fly over eastern Ukraine, including Lufthansa and KLM.(Photo: AP Photo/Mikhail Metzel, File)

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Why Did Flight 17 Fly Over a War Zone? - The airway was closed only to planes traveling under 32,000 feet. In addition, other airlines have continued to fly over eastern Ukraine, including Lufthansa and KLM.(Photo: AP Photo/Mikhail Metzel, File)

Putin to Cooperate? - Showing his first sign of international compromise, Russian leader Putin revealed on Sept. 4 that he would “not rule out” backing military action if watertight proof justified using force and the U.N. Security Council approved the move.(Photo: Sang Tan - WPA Pool /Getty Images)

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How Has Putin Responded to the Crisis? - Initially, the Russian president blamed Ukraine, but later said to the Russian network Russia Today, “We must do everything to provide security for the international experts on the site of the tragedy." (Photo: Sang Tan - WPA Pool /Getty Images)

Who Controls the Crash Site? - It is in a rebel-controlled area. (Photo: AP Photo/Evgeniy Maloletka)

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Who Controls the Crash Site? - It is in a rebel-controlled area. (Photo: AP Photo/Evgeniy Maloletka)

A Step Forward - After initially refusing access to the crash site, Kremlin-backed separatists on July 21 allowed the 282 bodies of the crash victims to be recovered and transported away on a refrigerated train. They also agreed to turn over the airplane's two black boxes to Malaysian investigators.(Photo: AP Photo/Evgeniy Maloletka)

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A Step Forward - After initially refusing access to the crash site, Kremlin-backed separatists on July 21 allowed the 282 bodies of the crash victims to be recovered and transported away on a refrigerated train. They also agreed to turn over the airplane's two black boxes to Malaysian investigators.(Photo: AP Photo/Evgeniy Maloletka)

U.N. Resolution - The United Nations Security Council on July 21 voted unanimously in favor of a resolution proposed by Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott that demands international access to the crash site and a cease-fire in the area surrounding it. Obama also called for immediate access to the area. "We have to make sure the truth is out and accountability exists," he said, adding "What exactly are they trying to hide?" (Photo: Seth Wenig/ AP Photo)

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U.N. Resolution - The United Nations Security Council on July 21 voted unanimously in favor of a resolution proposed by Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott that demands international access to the crash site and a cease-fire in the area surrounding it. Obama also called for immediate access to the area. "We have to make sure the truth is out and accountability exists," he said, adding "What exactly are they trying to hide?" (Photo: Seth Wenig/ AP Photo)

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Who Will Be in Charge of the Investigation? - Under different circumstances, Ukraine would lead the probe. But because of the conflict between the nation and Russia, the Russians and separatists would likely object to that. In addition, the Dutch, who lost 193 citizens, will surely want to be involved as well as other European nations. Most likely, Ukraine and Malaysia will jointly head up the investigation.(Photos from Left: Getty Images, Wiki Commons)

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Who Will Be in Charge of the Investigation? - Under different circumstances, Ukraine would lead the probe. But because of the conflict between the nation and Russia, the Russians and separatists would likely object to that. In addition, the Dutch, who lost 193 citizens, will surely want to be involved as well as other European nations. Most likely, Ukraine and Malaysia will jointly head up the investigation.(Photos from Left: Getty Images, Wiki Commons)

What Are the Challenges? - There is some concern that the site has been "severely compromised," said Malaysia's transport secretary Liow Tiong Lai, although the rebels say they've not tampered with it. Secretary of State John Kerry shares the Malaysian government's fears. (Photo: Brendan Hoffman/Getty Images)

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What Are the Challenges? - There is some concern that the site has been "severely compromised," said Malaysia's transport secretary Liow Tiong Lai, although the rebels say they've not tampered with it. Secretary of State John Kerry shares the Malaysian government's fears. (Photo: Brendan Hoffman/Getty Images)

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What Are the Challenges? - When the news of the crash was first announced, the president responded briefly during a stop in Delaware and then immediately launched into his prepared spiel. Later, he went out for ribs and a game of pool and attended fundraisers the next day. Although lawmakers and pundits are divided over whether he should have returned to the White House, many believe that he gave the impression that the crisis wasn't important to him and that he was not providing any leadership. They are also calling on him to convince European allies to be more forceful with Putin.(Photo: AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

Defense - The Pentagon got a $3.3 billion increase, bringing its base budget to $490 billion.   (Photo: John Moore/Getty Images)

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Should the U.S Get More Involved in the Russia/Ukraine Conflict? - According to a poll taken by Politico before the crash, just 17 percent of respondents said that the U.S. should do more to counter Russian aggression in Ukraine; 31 percent said the current policy is correct and 34 percent said the U.S. should be less involved. (Photo: John Moore/Getty Images)