Malaysia's newly appointed Transport Minister Liow Tiong Lai (C) addresses the media
Hong Kong (AFP) - 09:23 GMT - Leaving flowers - AFP’s photographer Alexander Nemenov has seen people leaving flowers outside the Malaysian Embassy in Moscow as global outrage grows over the apparent shooting down of a Malaysian airliner over strife-torn eastern Ukraine
09:07 GMT - "Cannot stop shaking" - The new Malaysia Airlines disaster has rekindled the grief of MH370 relatives and given new fire to their criticisms of the nation's flag carrier and government.
Philip Wood, the partner of missing MH370 passenger says: "My heart is breaking for another 295 souls on board, and another 295 families. Now I cannot stop shaking."
09:06 GMT - "Outrage" - Malaysia’s Transport Minister Liow Tiong Lai tells the media that if MH17 was shot down it would be considered an “outrage against human decency”.
09:03 GMT - Malaysia's newly appointed Transport Minister Liow Tiong Lai (C) addresses the media
"We can't leave them"
08:54 GMT - "Peaceful population" - A minibus with 18 miners from a shaft in nearby Snejne has arrived at the scene of the crash, AFP’s Orjollet says.
"Of course it's' scary but we can't leave them (the bodies) like that" says Ivan, 54, a miner for 28 years.
In the background the noise of a volley of a Grad multiple rocket launcher is heard.
"Hear that? They are again bombing the peaceful population" he says.
08:52 GMT - Rain falling - AFP’s correspondent Stephane Orjollet in Ukraine reports that the rescue operations headquarters has been set up on a country road near Grabove.
Rain is falling over the bodies of victims and wreckage strewn across the crash site.
08:51 GMT - Global anger intensifies over downed Malaysia Airlines jet: Duration:02:24
08:51 GMT - Ban flights - Some Russian media is questioning why a civilian plane was allowed to fly over a conflict zone.
Kommersant cites aviation sources as saying flying across eastern Ukraine was "reckless", even at 10,000 metres (33,000 feet), and says Ukraine should have banned all flights over the area.
"It remains unclear how a Boeing 777 came to be above a conflict zone and why air traffic controllers didn't prevent a potentially dangerous situation," writes government newspaper Rossiiskaya Gazeta.
Russia media debate
08:39 GMT - Debate rages - Debate rages in the Russian media over who is to blame.
The pro-Kremlin Tvoi Den has splashed a full-page cover photo of the crash scene with a line reading: "Donetsk People's Republic Authorities Claim Plane Destroyed by Ukrainian Buk Missile," an anti-aircraft system.
It is quoting a member of the Donetsk rebels' security council, Sergei Kavtaradze, as saying that "according to our information this plane was shot down by Ukrainian armed forces."
The Izvestia daily, also pro-Kremlin, goes further, reporting a rebel claim the disaster was "a planned provocation by Kiev."
A Ukrainian military expert, Igor Levchenko, tells the Kommersant business daily that Kiev did have several Buks in the conflict zone, but that "they definitely would not be used against such a target as a passenger liner."
A diplomat from an unnamed NATO country tells Kommersant that Western officials are "leaning towards the version that the rebels shot down the plane based on indirect evidence," citing a rebel leader's message and announcement that they captured a Ukrainian military post with Buk missiles.
08:38 GMT - People lay flowers and light candles in front of the Embassy of the Netherlands in Kiev
08:36 GMT - OSCE meeting - "A special Permanent Council meeting is taking place... today at 12:30pm Vienna time (1030 GMT) on the tragic crash of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 in eastern Ukraine," the organisation says in a statement.
The Vienna-based security body has had teams of monitors in Ukraine for months,and has been trying to mediate talks between Moscow and Kiev as well as local separatist groups.
08:29 GMT - OSCE calls crisis meeting on Malaysian jet crash
08:22 GMT - Malaysia response - Malaysia Transport Minister Liow Tiong Lai tells the media that hours before the incident a number of aircraft were using the same flight path over Ukraine as Malaysia Airlines. He insisted that the aircraft had a "clean bill of health".
08:17 GMT - International crime - Ukraine Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk has told the media: "Yesterday's terrible tragedy has altered our lives. The Russians went too far," Interfax-Ukraine reports. "This is an international crime for which they should face an international tribunal in The Hague."
08:13 GMT - Personal belongings of passengers
08:04 GMT - Those behind the downing of the Malaysian jet should face the Hague tribunal, says Ukraine Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk
07:42 GMT - Wreckage of the Malaysia Airlines jet
07:40 GMT - Cobra meeting - British Prime Minister David Cameron has called an emergency meeting.
"There is a Cobra meeting to take place 10:30am (0930 GMT)," says a Downing Street office spokesman, referring to the government's crisis committee.
07:34 GMT - Europe shares down - Europe's main stock markets fell at the start of trading, as the crash weighed on investor sentiment.
Russian shares and the ruble also fell.
In initial deals, London's benchmark FTSE 100 index slid 0.40 percent to 6,711.39 points, Frankfurt's DAX 30 dipped 0.51 percent to 9,703.67 points and the CAC 40 in Paris retreated 0.45 percent to 4,296.84 compared with Thursday's close.
In Moscow, the ruble-denominated Micex stock index fell by 1.67 percent in early trading, and the dollar-based RTS index was down 2.23 percent.
The ruble fell to 35.1 to the dollar and to 47.5 to the euro.
Shares in leading Russian airline Aeroflot were down 2.97 percent to 55.60 rubles after the company restricted some of its flights to Ukraine.
Shares in Russian oil group Rosneft, one of the main targets of new sanctions against Russia over the crisis in Ukraine, fell further, losing 1.49 percent to 230.22 rubles.
Putin wants Ukraine settlement
07:25 GMT - Wreckage of the Malaysia Airlines jet
07:23 GMT - "The head of Russia stressed that the tragedy once again highlighted the need for an urgent peaceful settlement of the most acute crisis in Ukraine and noted there is a need for a thorough and objective investigation of the air crash," the Kremlin says in a statement after Putin spoke with Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte by phone to offer condolences.
07:11 GMT - Putin calls for urgent Ukraine crisis settlement after jet crash
07:11 GMT - "No excuses" - "We all know that there are problems in Ukraine," says Abbott.
"We also know who is very substantially to blame for those problems, and the idea that Russia can somehow say that none of this has anything to do with them because it happened in Ukrainian airspace, frankly, does not stand up to any serious scrutiny.
"I want to say to the Australian people that as far as I am concerned, when you have a situation where Russian-backed rebels appear to have killed Australians using -- it may well turn out to be Russian-supplied heavy weaponry -- Australia takes a very dim view indeed and we want the fullest possible investigation."
He added that if Russia wanted to "maintain any international standing at all" it must fully cooperate in any investigation.
"No prevarication, no excuses, no blame shifting, no protecting of people who may be backed by Russia who may have been involved in this terrible event."
07:10 GMT - Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop speaks to the media after meeting the Russian ambassador
07:05 GMT - "A crime" - "I have to tell you that the initial response of the Russian ambassador was to blame Ukraine for this, and I have to say that this is deeply, deeply unsatisfactory," Abbott says, adding the crash was "not an accident, but a crime."
06:57 GMT - "Unsatisfactory" - Australia PM Abbott says Russia's reaction to the jet crash is "deeply unsatisfactory."
06:50 GMT - A body amongst the wreckage of the Malaysia Airlines jet
06:43 GMT - Search ongoing - Emergency crews are working through the debris of the downed jet that is spread over an area stretching for kilometres.
06:36 GMT - Black box - Black box found at plane crash site, emergency workers say
06:00 GMT - Allow collection of bodies - Following talks with the rebels, negotiators say they have received guarantees of "safe access" to the crash site for investigators.
The separatists committed to providing "safe access and security guarantees to the national investigation commission, including international investigators, in the area under their control," the trilateral Contact Group on the Ukraine Crisis says in a statement, adding rebels will also close off the site and allow local authorities to recover the bodies.
05:53 GMT - A Dutch national flag flies at half mast on the parliament in The Hague
05:47 GMT - Guarantee access - Ukraine rebels are guaranteeing investigators access to the crash site, say mediators
05:34 GMT - Malaysia hit twice - The tragedy is particularly hard on Malaysia which for the second time this year has woken to the grim news of yet another air disaster that left dozens of their countrymen dead or missing, following the disappearance of Flight MH370.
"Why is there no peace of mind in our country? Tragedy after tragedy is happening to us," says G. Subramaniam, whose son was aboard MH370.
"Just heard the terrible news. I don't think we are ready to accept this so soon after (the) MH370 tragedy," badminton ace Lee Chong Wei, the country's top sporting star, tweets.
The twin tragedies are destroying Malaysians' sense of their multi-cultural country as a bastion of stability and prosperity in an often turbulent Southeast Asia, says Ibrahim Suffian, the head of Malaysia's leading polling firm.
"Malaysians have always felt shielded from calamity and tragedy. Typhoons, earthquakes, wars -- it's always not us, but Indonesia, Burma or the Philippines. But that sense of security is now shattered," he says.
05:21 GMT - Markets down - Asian markets have taken a hit.
Airline stocks retreated, led by a slump in already under-pressure Malaysia Airlines.
Tokyo tumbled 1.16 percent in the afternoon, Hong Kong shed 0.60 percent, Sydney lost 0.11 percent and Seoul was 0.32 percent lower. However, Shanghai was up 0.40 percent after an early sell-off.
Friday's stock market sell-off affected other airlines, with Japan's JAL losing 0.83 percent and ANA 1.20 percent lower, while Hong Kong's Cathay Pacific lost 1.40 percent.
The market plunge was triggered by "nothing but the crash", said Hirokazu Kabeya, senior strategist at Daiwa Securities.
On Wall Street, the Dow fell 0.94 percent, while the S&P 500 sank 1.18 percent and the Nasdaq was down 1.41 percent.
The dollar took a hit Thursday in New York as traders moved into the yen, which is considered a safe hedge bet during times of uncertainty.
Gold, also a safe haven, jumped to $1,313.40 by 0500 GMT compared with $1,302.90 late Thursday.
05:18 GMT - Relatives at Kuala Lumpur International Airport
04:44 GMT - Oil prices up - The crash is also affecting the markets.
Speculation that flight MH17 was shot down by pro-Moscow separatist rebels has fuelled concerns of an escalation of the conflict as well as intensified US sanctions on Russia, CMC Markets in Singapore says.
"Oil prices rose as fears over intensified sanctions on Russia risked a tit-for-tat situation which may affect supplies from the (world's) second largest crude oil producer," it says.
However, the dollar edged up in Asian trade after earlier tumbling in New York on the news.
04:17 GMT - Will go on - International AIDS Society President Francoise Barre-Sinoussi tells reporters there is no confirmation of the number of delegates on the plane, but the conference would go ahead.
"The decision to go on, we were thinking about them because we know it's really what they would have liked us to do," says Barre-Sinoussi.
AIDS community mourns
04:12 GMT - 100 delegates - Unconfirmed reports in The Australian broadsheet and the Sydney Morning Herald say as many as 100 of those killed were delegates to the AIDS conference.
03:58 GMT - Global conference - The world AIDS community is mourning several passengers on the crashed plane who were heading to Australia for a global conference, including leading researcher and former International AIDS Society president Joep Lange who is thought to have been on the flight.
"My thoughts & prayers to families of those tragically lost on flight . Many passengers were enroute to here in ," tweeted UNAIDS executive director Michel Sidibe.
Held every two years, the International AIDS Conference to start on Sunday is a forum for campaigners to highlight developments in fighting the disease and discuss financing problems.
Australia's National AIDS Trust paid tribute to Dutchman Lange on Twitter.
"Reports Joep Lange died in Malaysian plane crash today, with other scientists on way to @AIDS_conference. Desperately sad news."
American academic and AIDS activist Gregg Gonsalves tweeted that "Joep Lange was a leading AIDS researcher and clinician and an activist at heart. Lost today too soon on Malaysian flight 019 (sic). RIP," he said.
US doctor Seema Yasmin described him on social media as "a kind man and a true humanitarian".
"How do we measure how much a person has done for humanity? People like Joep change the course of humanity," she said.
The International AIDS Society confirmed in a statement that "a number of our colleagues and friends" en route to the conference were on Flight MH17.
"At this incredibly sad and sensitive time the IAS stands with our international family and sends condolences to the loved ones of those who have been lost to this tragedy," it said.
03:42 GMT - Previous incidents - While the cause of the Malaysian airline crash is still to be determined, there have been previous cases where civilian aircraft have been downed.
On October 4, 2001, 78 people, mostly Israelis, were killed when their Russian Sibir Tupolev-154, flying from Tel Aviv to Novosibirsk, exploded in mid-flight over the Black Sea. The crash happened less than 300 kilometres (186 miles) from the Crimean coast. A week later Kiev admitted that the disaster was due to the accidental firing of a Ukrainian missile.
On July 3, 1988, an Airbus A-300 belonging to Iran Air, flying from Bandar Abbas in Iran to Dubai in the United Arab Emirates, was shot down shortly after take-off by two missiles fired from a US frigate patrolling the Strait of Hormuz, apparently mistaking it for a fighter aircraft. The 290 passengers on board were killed. The United States paid Iran $101.8 million in compensation.
On September 1, 1983, a South Korean Boeing 747 of Korean Air was shot down by Soviet fighter jets over the island of Sakhalin, after veering off course. Some 269 passengers and crew members were killed. Soviet officials acknowledged five days later that they had shot down the South Korean plane.
On June 27, 1980, a DC-9 belonging to the now defunct Italian airline Itavia, flying from Bologna to Palermo with 81 people on board, exploded in mid-flight near the island of Ustica, off Sicily. The hypothesis that a missile was fired in error by American or French fighter jets was denied by Washington, while the French defence ministry refused to comment.
On February 21, 1973, a Libyan Arab Airline Boeing 727 flying from Tripoli to Cairo was shot down by Israeli fighter jets over the Sinai dessert. All but four of the 112 people on board were killed. The Israeli air force intervened after the Boeing flew over military facilities in the Sinai, then occupied by Israel. The Israeli authorities said fighters opened fire when the plane refused to land.
03:39 GMT - A relative (C) of a passenger is mobbed by journalists as she arrives at Kuala Lumpur International Airport
03:29 GMT - Wait for news - AFP's Julia Zappei and Shannon Teoh are at Kuala Lumpur's international airport where tearful relatives are enduring an agonising wait for news.
One woman, Akmar Mohd Noor, says her 67-year-old sister is among the 298 people on board flight MH17, adding that she rushed to the airport as soon as she saw the news on television.
"She was coming back from Geneva to celebrate Hari Raya (Eid al-Fitr) with us for the first time in 30 years. Her son was supposed to come with her but he refused to come with her," she says between sobs.
"She called me just before she boarded the plane and said 'see you soon'."
03:25 GMT - Root of conflict - Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper calls Russian aggression "the root of the ongoing conflict" in Ukraine.
"While we do not yet know who is responsible for this attack, we continue to condemn Russia's military aggression and illegal occupation of Ukraine," Harper says in a statement, adding that it was "at the root of the ongoing conflict in the region."
Harper says he was "shocked and saddened" by the disaster, noting the presence of a Canadian national on board.
Airspace security concerns
03:19 GMT - FAA warning - The Federal Aviation Administration is urging US-registered planes to avoid flying over eastern Ukraine.
The FAA issued a so-called Notice to Airman, or NOTAM "due to recent events and the potential for continued hazardous activities," with restricted areas including the entire Simferopol and Dnepropetrovsk flight information regions.
The notice, "prohibiting US flight operations until further notice" over the area, follows an April FAA ban on flights over the Crimean Peninsula annexed by Russia and adjacent zones of the Black Sea and Sea of Azov.
"No scheduled US airlines are currently flying routes through this airspace," the FAA noted.
03:19 GMT - Graphic on the nationalities of people on board Malaysia Airlines MH17 that crashed in the Ukraine
03:18 GMT - Abandoned airspace - Several Asian airlines say they abandoned flying over Ukraine airspace several months ago because of security concerns.
South Korea's two main airlines, Korean Air and Asiana, as well as Australia's Qantas said they all rerouted flights from as early as the beginning of March when Russian troops moved into Crimea.
"We stopped flying over Ukraine because of safety concerns," Asiana spokeswoman Lee Hyo-Min says.
Korean Air re-routed its flights 250 kilometres (160 miles) south of Ukraine "due to the political unrest in the region", an official for the carrier tells AFP.
A Qantas spokeswoman says its London to Dubai service used to fly over Ukraine, but the route was changed "several months ago".
02:52 GMT - The United States has called for an "immediate ceasefire" in Ukraine to ensure an unimpeded investigation into the jet crash.
"We urge all concerned -- Russia, the pro-Russian separatists and Ukraine -- to support an immediate ceasefire in order to ensure safe and unfettered access to the crash site for international investigators and in order to facilitate the recovery of remains," White House spokesman Josh Earnest says in a statement.
02:45 GMT - Immediate ceasefire - The White House calls for an immediate ceasefire in Ukraine
02:39 GMT - Abbott says Australia will push for a binding resolution at the United Nations Security Council calling for a full and impartial investigation.
This will require full access to the site, the debris, the black box and "all individuals who might be in a position to shed light on this terrible event."
"The minister for foreign affairs will shortly summon the Russian ambassador to seek a categoric assurance from the ambassador that the Russian government will fully cooperate in this investigation."
02:36 GMT - A firefighter stands next to wreckage of the Malaysian airliner
02:33 GMT - "Tragic death" - Obama expressed condolences for the "tragic death" of Dutch citizens during a call with Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte.
He told Rutte: "the United States was prepared to contribute immediate assistance to support a prompt, full, credible and unimpeded international investigation," according to a White House statement.
"The president and prime minister agreed on the need to assure immediate access to the site of the incident to international investigators in order to facilitate the recovery of remains and to carry out a thorough investigation."
02:27 GMT - "Brought to justice" - Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott urges Russia to cooperate with an investigation.
"As things stand, this looks less like an accident than a crime," Abbott tells parliament.
"And if so, the perpetrators must be brought to justice," he adds to cries of "hear, hear".
Obama offers help
02:24 GMT - "Thoughts and prayers" - US President Barack Obama has assured Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko that US experts will "offer all possible assistance immediately."
The statement raised the possibility that US officials are concerned pro-Russian forces could try to tamper with the evidence of the wrecked aircraft to cover up who is to blame.
"And as a country, our thoughts and prayers are with all the families of the passengers, wherever they call home," said Obama.
02:23 GMT - Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko says pro-Russian insurgents shot down a Malaysian Airlines jet in a "terrorist act" Duration:00:37
02:21 GMT - White House warning - The White House warns against tampering with debris from the crash in rebel-held eastern Ukraine.
"The president emphasized that all evidence from the crash site must remain in place on the territory of Ukraine until international investigators are able to examine all aspects of the tragedy," the White House said.
02:18 GMT - Safe path - Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak tells reporters in Kuala Lumpur that flight MH17 was on a flight path that had been deemed safe.
"The aircraft's flight route was declared safe by the International Civil Aviation Organisation," Najib says.
"And International Air Transportation Association has stated that the airspace the aircraft was traversing was not subject to restrictions," he adds.
02:17 GMT - Shares hit - The crash is having a financial impact with shares in Malaysia Airlines tumbling almost 18 percent in morning trade on the Kuala Lumpur stock exchange.
02:12 GMT - FAA warning - The FAA is urging US commercial planes to avoid flying over Ukrainian airspace
02:06 GMT - "If it should disappear" - In a chilling post just before he boarded the flight, young Dutch traveller Cor Pan posted an image of the doomed flight with the comment: "If it should disappear, this is what it looks like."
Pan, who appeared to be going on a beach holiday to Malaysia, posted the photo as a joking reference to missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370.
Cor had earlier posted pictures of idyllic tropical beaches on his Facebook page, saying: "A few more days to wait yet..."
Comments by Pan's friends on Facebook suggest that he was on MH17. Late on Thursday his picture had been shared more than 10,000 times on the social media site.
Petra Bleeker posted a picture of Cor and his girlfriend Neeltje Tol on which she superimposed a white rose, signifying death. It was unclear whether Tol was also on the flight.
"Such a beautiful couple who have been taken from life. I wish you the best wherever you are," said Peter Bootsman.
01:59 GMT - A nation reels - AFP's Jan Hennop reports from Schiphol airport that distraught and sobbing relatives were taken to a restaurant on the upper floor to shield them from the media massed below.
They then boarded buses headed for an unknown destination.
Around the country national flags have been lowered to half-mast and at embassies around the world.
"I am deeply saddened by this horrible news," King Willem-Alexander said in a statement.
"Our thoughts go to the families, friends and colleagues of the victims, and to those who do not know yet if one of their loved ones was on board the plane."
Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said he was "deeply shocked" by the catastrophe, while Justice Minister Ivo Opstelten added that "the images I saw were terrible."
Malaysian Airlines vice president Huib Gorter told a press briefing at Schiphol that a plane would take victims' relatives to Ukraine to visit the crash site if they wished to make the trip.
01:59 GMT - Map locating Saktarsk in Ukraine where a Malaysia Airlines jet crashed
01:57 GMT - Russian expletive - The strongly pro-Kiev Ukrainska Pravda news site later posted an audio recording of what it claimed were the intercepted field communications between rebels and a Russian agent discussing the downing.
"We just downed a plane," a rebel the recording identifies as Bes (Demon) tells an alleged Russian military intelligency officer.
Another recording shows one alleged fighter reporting from the site of the plane's remains that it was "100 percent certain this is a civilian aircraft."
He spits out a Russian expletive when asked whether there were a lot of passengers on board.
01:56 GMT - A 'bird fell' - The rebels first claimed to have downed at least one Ukrainian army plane over the strife-torn eastern rustbelt.
The VK social networking page of Igor Strelkov -- "defence minister" of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic -- first announced: "We just downed an An-26 near (the town of) Torez."
"And here is a video confirming that a 'bird fell'," said the post.
01:50 GMT - US "horrified" - US Secretary of State John Kerry expresses horror and calls for a "credible" international investigation.
"We are horrified by the crash of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17," Kerry says in a statement.
"The United States government remains prepared to assist with a credible, international investigation any way we can, and we will continue to be in touch with all relevant partners as we seek the facts of what happened today."
01:47 GMT - Relatives arrive at Kuala Lumpur International Airport
01:44 GMT - Tributes to top AIDS researcher - Australia's National AIDS Trust is paying tribute to leading AIDS researcher and former International AIDS Society president Joep Lange.
"Reports Joep Lange died in Malaysian plane crash today, with other scientists on way to @AIDS_conference. Desperately sad news," it says on Twitter.
American academic and AIDS activist Gregg Gonsalves is tweeting that "lots of AIDS researchers, activists, officials on downed Malaysia Airlines flight to Melbourne for Intl AIDS Conference", naming Lange.
"Joep Lange was a leading AIDS researcher and clinician and an activist at heart. Lost today too soon on Malaysian flight 019 (sic). RIP," says Gonsalves.
01:41 GMT - Complications - If it is confirmed that separatist fighters shot down the plane, it would further complicate Russian President Vladimir Putin's efforts to paint their uprising as a fight for self-determination.
Russia's state media has avoided any mention of the controversial posts and instead reported militia leaders' later charges that the Ukrainian air force had shot down the Boeing 777 liner instead.
01:38 GMT - A man looks at flight information screens at Kuala Lumpur International Airport
01:35 GMT - Possible Mistake - My colleague Dmitry Zaks reports from Kiev that social media posts by pro-Russian insurgents -- most of them hastily removed -- suggest the rebels thought they had shot down a Ukrainian army plane before realising in horror that it was in fact a packed Malaysian airliner.
The Twitter and blog messages were immediately publicised by top Kiev officials in their furious information war with the Kremlin for global opinion and the hearts and minds of ethnic Russians caught in the worst East-West crisis since the Cold War.
Tears and Shock
01:32 GMT - Malaysian shock - Malaysians have expressed shock and sadness on the country's active social media sites.
"Deepest condolences, this is horrendous... Our thoughts and prayers are with all affected passengers and crew and their family members,” one user tweeted while and Ukraine were among top trending topics on Twitter in Malaysia.
An "MH17 Community" page on Facebook has attracted thousands of clicks of support.
01:31 GMT - Tearful families at KL - My colleague Julia Zappei is at Kuala Lumpur International Airport departure hall and reports dozens of journalists waiting outside a cordoned off area where families of those aboard are registering with Malaysia Airlines officials.
Tearful relatives arrived earlier, as well as several diplomats who wanted to check if their nationals are on the plane. Several policemen are on standby.
01:26 GMT - Self-proclaimed prime minister of the "Donetsk People's Republic" Alexander Borodai (C) at the crash site
01:20 GMT - Many heading to AIDS conference - UNAIDS executive director Michel Sidibe has tweeted: "My thoughts & prayers to families of those tragically lost on flight . Many passengers were enroute to here in ."
The 20th International AIDS Conference is being held in Melbourne.
International call for investigation
01:16 GMT - Russian President Vladimir Putin says Kiev bears responsibility for the crash, which comes as Ukrainian forces battle pro-Moscow insurgents in the east of the country.
As Malaysian investigators head to the scene, the UN Security Council has called an emergency session on Friday to discuss the disaster -- the second to strike the airline in just four months.
Shocked world leaders have called for an international inquiry to determine the causes of the disaster with potentially far-reaching political implications, with Britain demanding a UN-led probe.
01:15 GMT - There also were 43 Malaysians, including the crew and two infants, and 27 Australians, it said, updating earlier figures as the airline works to verify passenger nationalities.
Twelve were Indonesians including an infant, nine were British, four were German, three were from the Philippines and one was Canadian.
The airline said four were Belgian but the Belgian foreign minister said five Belgians were on board.
Malaysia Airlines said the nationalities of 41 passengers remained unconfirmed.
01:14 GMT - Passenger nationalities - The carrier says there were 298 people, including 154 Dutch nationals, on board the Malaysia Airlines flight.
In an e-mailed statement it says the flight "was carrying a total number of 298 people -- comprising 283 passengers including three infants of various nationalities and 15 crew of Malaysian nationality."
01:09 GMT - First-aid workers gather on the site of the crash of a Malaysian airliner
01:07 GMT - WELCOME TO AFP'S LIVE REPORT after a Malaysian airliner carrying 298 people from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur crashed in strife-torn east Ukraine, with US officials saying it was shot down by a surface-to-air missile.
Ukraine's government said the jet was shot down in a "terrorist act", while comments attributed to a pro-Russia rebel chief suggested his men may have downed Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 by mistake, believing it was a Ukrainian army transport plane.
Russian President Vladimir Putin meanwhile said Kiev bore responsibility for the crash, which came as Ukrainian forces battle pro-Moscow insurgents in the east of the country.