Pope Francis was dismayed at learning about the "tragedy of the Malaysian Airlines aircraft downed in east Ukraine,” the Vatican said. The incident took place near the separatist-held city of Donetsk, near the Russian border.
The plane carried 298 passengers, but none survived the crash. In a statement, the Vatican said Pope Francis is praying for the victims and their families. He also renewed his appeal for peace and dialogue, to end the conflict.
Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 took off from Amsterdam, and was headed to Kuala Lumpur. The airlines was already under scrutiny after another of its flights disappeared over the Indian Ocean in March.
Ukraine accused Russian separatists of striking down the plane. But they responded saying they do not have the advanced weapons needed to reach aircraft flying at 33,000 feet.