Pro-Russian Rebel Leader: 'We Have Warned Them -- Not To Fly In "Our Sky"'

Igor StrelkovAP Photo/Dmitry LovetskyIgor Strelkov, a pro-Russian separatist commander

Russian leader of separatist “Lugansk People Republic” Igor Strelkov posted a statement on Russia’s largest social network that may help explain what happened to Malaysia Airlines flight 17 on Thursday morning.

The Ukrainian Crisis Media Center shared and translated a screenshot of Strelkov’s comment, shown below, on Facebook.

Post by Ukrainian Сrisis Media Center. Strelkov, also known as Girkin, posted on Thursday at 9:50 am EST on VKontakte, Russia's version of Facebook. Most notably, he wrote, "We have warned them -- not to fly in 'our sky.'" The word Strelkov used for sky "небо," can also mean "heavens," hinting at pro-Russian rebels' strong claim to the area. Strelkov also referenced a shot down "AN-26," a Ukrainian military transport plane. He put that crash somewhere near a mine called "Progress," located in Torez, the same city where the Malaysia passenger plane reportedly crashed. Thus, the Crisis center noted the terrorists likely mistook MH flight 17 for the Ukrainian aircraft. Ukrainian officials also accused pro-Russian separatist rebels of shooting down an AN-26 on Monday. They have already shot down multiple other planes this month. Strelkov's statement also mentions a plane "Su," which likely refers to the Su-25 war plane shot down in Ukraine Thursday morning, in addition to flight MH 17.

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