Updated: 11:55 p.m. AEST. Latest updates at the top.
Malaysia Airlines says the passengers included 154 Netherlanders, 28 Australians, 23 Malaysians, 11 Indonesians, six Britons, four Germans, four Belgians, three Filipinos, and one Canadian.
All 15 crew members were Malaysian nationals.
American officials believe a surface-to-air missile hit the plane as it was travelling at about 33,000 feet over Ukraine, though it was unclear who fired the missile or where it came from, Associated Press reported.
Australia's prime minister held a late afternoon press conference to turn up the heat on Russia over the MH17 investigation.
Mr Abbott told the assembled media it was "deeply, deeply unsatisfactory" that the Russian ambassador had blamed Ukrainian forces for the conditions that lead to the plane crash.
He called for Russian authorities to allow Australian consular staff to get access to the crash site, saying: "Their whole standing in the world is at risk here."
Earlier, foreign minister Julie Bishop called a meeting with Russian ambassador Vladimir Morozov in Sydney.
Malaysia Airlines has released a new media statement saying the B777-200 was "functioning normally" and had recorded 75,322 hours of service.
Foreign minister Julie Bishop has revised the number of Australians killed in the MH17 crash to 28. Ms Bishop told reporters she also fears the number will rise.
Prime minister Tony Abbott has announced a National Day of Mourning across Australia.
Up to 108 delegates and families heading to the AIDS2014 conference in Melbourne were reportedly were aboard Flight MH17.
UPDATE: 9.00 p.m. AEST. Names of the Australian victims are continuing to emerge.
Another of the Australian victims has been confirmed as Sister Philomene Tiernan. The Catholic nun lived and worked at the exclusive Kincoppal girls school in Rose Bay in Sydney.
The University of New South Wales' Kirby Institute has issued a statement regarding the death of former International AIDS Society president Joep Lange.
“The joy in collaborating with Joep was that he would always bring a fresh view, a unique take on things, and he never accepted that something was impossible to achieve."
(L-R) Professor David Cooper, Praphan Phanuphak, and Professor Joep Lange.
Chris Beyrer, the president-elect of the International AIDS Society, has told Australian reporters that he would not speculate on the number of conference delegates aboard Malaysian Flight MH17.
The names of Australians lost are starting to be released by family members.
Prime minister Tony Abbott has addressed Australia's parliament in the wake of #MH17.
Opposition leader Bill Shorten also addressed the parliament, promising to stand by the prime minister's response, especially at the UN.
Malaysia Airlines is yet to release the official manifest of #MH17 and is in the process of informing all next of kin.
Melbourne's Herald Sun has issued a special 7am edition of its Friday newspaper with this striking front cover.
STATEMENT ON MALAYSIAN FLIGHT MH 17 Friday, July 18, 2014The International AIDS Society (IAS) today expresses its sincere sadness at receiving news that a number of colleagues and friends en route to attend the 20th International AIDS Conference taking place in Melbourne, Australia, were on board the Malaysian Airlines MH17 flight that has crashed over Ukraine earlier today.At this incredibly sad and sensitive time the IAS stands with our international family and sends condolences to the loved ones of those who have been lost to this tragedy.
It's one of the worst Australian aviation disasters ever. Twenty-nine Aussies died in both the Trans-Australian Airline (1960) and Australian National Airways (1950) crashes.
Australia's foreign minister, Julie Bishop, has held a press conference in Brisbane. She's called for Australian staff to get access to the site.
She speculated that the reasons so many Australians died in the crash was due to it being a common connecting flight between Amsterdam-Kuala Lumpur-Perth.
There's also been confirmation many on board the flight were heading to a World AIDS Conference in Melbourne to start next week.
It's not the only event involving Australians overseas this morning. Ms Bishop has confirmed that an Australian suicide bomber has been involved in an incident in Baghdad where at least three people have been killed.
The comments came after Mr Abbott blamed the crash on the activities of Russian president Vladimir Putin.
Speaking to ABC Radio National, prime minister Tony Abbott said at least 23 Australians were onboard.
"It seems there were at least 23 Australians on this flight. Obviously the Department of Foreign Affairs is talking to Dutch authorities to confirm numbers and identities but it does seem there were definitely 23 Australians on this flight.
"We can assure families that, at the highest levels of government, we feel for them, we grieve with them and we pray for them. That's the first thing we go. The second thing is to try to provide whatever practical assistance we can, in terms of counsel and the repatriations of remains and so on.
"This tragedy is made worse by reports it might be a crime rather than an accident. Let's wait until we've got all the facts in ... but obviously it is the clear and settled position of the Australian government that larger countries should not bully smaller ones, that countries should not aide people in rebelling against their own government and that disputes between nations should be settled peacefully and under international law.
"We just have all sorts of reports and claims flying around, that's all we have at the moment.
"If it does turn out that this aircraft was brought down by a surface-to-air missile, this would be an unspeakable crime."