(QHA) -

298 people are presumed dead after a Malaysia Airlines jet crashed in eastern Ukraine close to the border with Russia.

According to Malaysia Airlines, the plane lost contact four hours after leaving Amsterdam en route to Kuala Lumpur, at 14:15 GMT, 50km from the Russia-Ukraine border.

Both the Ukrainian government and pro-Russian rebels who have been fighting in the region have denied shooting it down.

US Vice-President Joe Biden said he believed the incident was not an accident, and the plane was "blown out of the sky".

Malaysia Airlines says the flight route for MH17 had been earlier declared safe by the International Civil Aviation Organisation, and the airspace was not subject to restrictions.

QHA