Story by the Associated Press; curated by Oliver Darcy.

WASHINGTON (AP) — Senior U.S. intelligence officials say they have no evidence of direct Russian government involvement in the shooting down of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17.

They say the passenger jet was likely felled by an SA-11 surface-to-air missile fired by Russian-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine and that Russia “created the conditions” for the downing by arming the separatists.

GRABOVO, UKRAINE - JULY 17: Debris from Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 is shown smouldering in a field July 17, 2014 in Grabovo, Ukraine near the Russian border. Flight 370, on its way from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur and carrying 295 passengers and crew, is believed to have been shot down by a surface-to-air missile, according to U.S. intelligence officials Ukrainian authorities quoted in published reports. The area is under control of pro-Russian militias. Pierre Crom/Getty Images

Debris from Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 is shown smouldering in a field July 17, 2014 in Grabovo, Ukraine near the Russian border.  (Pierre Crom/Getty Images)

The officials briefed reporters Tuesday under ground rules that their names not be used in discussing intelligence related to last week’s air disaster, which killed 298 people.

They said they didn’t know if any Russians were present at the missile launch, and they wouldn’t say that the missile crew was trained in Russia.

A senior official said the most likely explanation was the plane was shot down by mistake.