WASHINGTON — The UN Security Council will hold an emergency meeting Friday morning after two planes were downed this week over eastern Ukraine, including a Malaysia Airlines plane carrying 295 people.
Britain’s UN Mission said it requested the meeting and proposed a press statement calling for “a full, thorough and independent international investigation into the incident.”
The statement must be approved by the council members before it can be issued.
Malaysian plane crashes in Ukraine
Most passengers were from Netherlands
What would it take to shoot down jet?
Map: Known flight path of MH17
A ‘terrible tragedy,’ Obama says
Images, videos from social media
A US official said that American intelligence authorities now believe a surface-to-air missile took down the commercial jet as it flew from Amsterdam to Malaysia.
The official said the US was still working to determine additional details about the crash, including who fired the missile and whether it came from the Russian or Ukraine side of the border. But the official said US intelligence assessments suggest it is more likely pro-Russian separatists or the Russians rather than Ukrainian government forces shot down the plane.
The official was not authorized to discuss the matter publicly so spoke on condition of anonymity.
PHOTOS: Scenes from the crash
The US has sophisticated technologies that can detect missile launches, including the identification of heat from the rocket engine.
The plane carrying 298 people was shot down over eastern Ukraine on Thursday, Ukrainian officials said, and both the government and the pro-Russia separatists fighting in the region denied any responsibility for downing the aircraft.
The death toll rose after Malaysia Airlines said three infants had not been included in the origianl list.
Malaysia’s prime minister said the jetliner did not make any distress call before it went down, and that the flight route was declared safe by the International Civil Aviation Organization.
Prime Minister Najib Razak told reporters that Ukrainian authorities believe the Boeing 777, on its way from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur, was shot down.
He said that Malaysia, however, is unable to verify ‘‘the cause of this tragedy but we must, and we will, find out precisely what happened to this flight.”
Russian President Vladmir Putin said Ukraine bears responsibility for the crash.
A Kremlin statement early Friday said Putin opened a meeting with his economic advisers by calling for a moment of silence over the crash. Then, he said, ‘‘This tragedy would not have happened if there were peace on this land, if the military actions had not been renewed in southeast Ukraine. And, certainly, the state over whose territory this occurred bears responsibility for this awful tragedy.’’
US Vice President Joe Biden said the incident was ‘‘not an accident’’ and described the plane as having been ‘‘blown out of the sky.’’ However, Biden cautioned that the US was still seeking details about the cause of the crash and reports that there were American citizens aboard the plane.
At least 154 people on the flight were Dutch citizens, said Huib Gorter, Malaysian Airlines senior vice president in Europe. There were also 27 Australians on board, 23 Malaysians, including all 15 crew, and 11 Indonesians.
Other nationalities so far identified were six passengers from the United Kingdom, four from Germany, four Belgians, three from the Philippines and one Canadian. There are still 47 dead whose nationalities haven’t yet been confirmed, he added.
As plumes of black smoke rose up near a rebel-held village of Hrabove, an Associated Press journalist counted at least 22 bodies at the wreckage site 40 kilometers (25 miles) from the Russian border.