Russian President Vladimir Putin in a telephone conversation told US President Barack Obama that a Malaysian airplane crashed on Ukrainian territory, the Kremlin said yesterday.
The two leaders held a pre-planned call on the situation in Ukraine during which information became available from air traffic controllers about the crash. But Kremlin did not disclose what the two leaders discussed.
Meanwhile, US Vice President Joe Biden yesterday told Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko the United States was ready to help probe the crash of a Malaysian Airlines, which was flying from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur.
Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 disappeared from radar contact around 1415 GMT as it was flying over eastern Ukraine.
Biden called Poroshenko, a US official said, as the Kiev government and separatist rebels accused each other of bringing down the plane, carrying 295 people.
"On the call, the vice president offered US assistance to help to determine what happened and why," the official said.
President Barack Obama, who was also on the road, in Delaware, earlier said the crash looked like a "terrible tragedy".
There was no sign of survivors at the crash site near the rebel-held town of Shaktarsk in the Donetsk region, where an AFP reporter saw dozens of severely mutilated corpses strewn through the smouldering wreck of the decimated airliner.
Meanwhile, distraught relatives of passengers on the Malaysian airliner were shielded from the media at Amsterdam's Schiphol airport as news of the disaster spread.
An AFP journalist saw several family members -- many in tears -- led into a restaurant on the upper deck of the airport, from where the ill-fated jet had taken off hours earlier.
Meanwhile, European flight safety body Eurocontrol yesterday said that Ukrainian authorities have closed the airspace over the east of the country following the crash.
"Since the crash, the Ukrainian authorities have informed Eurocontrol of the closure of routes from the ground to unlimited (altitude) in Eastern Ukraine," a Eurocontrol statement said.