Jerome Sessini has been covering the conflict between the Ukrainian Government and pro-Russian separatist rebels near the eastern border with Russia. Once he’d found out that a civilian passenger airliner had gone down in the region, Sessini made his way to the crash site.
The Ukrainian military had recently launched a new offensive to regain control over rebel-held territory, which involved use of air-strikes. Prior to July 17th commercial aviation authorities had advised carriers to use routes that would bypass the conflict zone.
On July 14th rebels shot down a Ukrainian Air Force transport, killing all 49 military personnel aboard and only hours before Flight 17 was destroyed, a Ukrainian fighter jet had been shot down. The Ukrainian government claims that the Russian military were directly involved in the latter incident.