We are still no nearer to knowing exactly who shot down Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 over Ukraine (see my blog of July 20), and perhaps we never will be, but it was not the first civil airliner to be shot down over the country.
On October 4, 2001, a Siberia Airlines Tupelov Tu-154 (similar pictured) was hit by what was believed to be a Ukrainian missile while en route from Tel Aviv to Novosibirsk in Russia, and crashed into the Black Sea. None of the 78 people on board survived.
With the crash coming so soon after 9/11, the favourite explanation at first was terrorism, but Ukraine eventually admitted the aircraft had been hit by one of its missiles that had gone astray during a military exercise, and paid compensation to victims’ families.
Subsequently, though, the Ukrainian government denied responsibility for the disaster, and a claim against it by Siberia Airlines remains unresolved.