الخميس , يونيو 11 2020

Ukraine military plane shot down

An Ukrainian Il-76 aircraft flanked by two Su-27s during a military parade - 24 August 2008The aircraft involved was an Il-76 military transport plane said to have been carrying dozens of troops

Several Ukrainian troops have been killed after pro-Russian rebels shot down a military plane, officials say.

Ukraine’s defence ministry said the Il-76 transport plane crashed after coming under heavy anti-aircraft fire over the eastern city of Luhansk.

It said several people had died but did not give a figure. As many as 49 are thought to have been on board.

The plane was carrying troops and military equipment and was about to land at the city’s airport.

A statement from the ministry said that “terrorists” had “cynically and treacherously” fired on the aircraft as it came into land at Luhansk airport.

The ministry offered its condolences to the families of the “killed soldiers”, but did not say how many had died.

The incident came less than a week after pro-Russia rebels launched a series of attacks on Ukrainian forces at Luhansk International Airport.

The airport has been under the control of government forces but the rebels hold most of the rest of the city.

Luhansk is the main city of one of two eastern regions where pro-Russia separatists have declared independence from Kiev.

An “anti-terrorist operation” by Ukraine government forces has left at least 270 people dead over the past two months.

Meanwhile, the US said it was confident that tanks being used by separatists in eastern Ukraine came from Russia.

“Russia will claim these tanks were taken from Ukrainian forces, but no Ukrainian tank units have been operating in that area,” a US state department official spokewoman said.

“We are confident that these tanks came from Russia,” she added.

The appearance of the tanks, filmed in various towns in the Donetsk region, sparked a row between Kiev and Moscow.

Russia has denied allegations that the tanks had entered Ukraine from its territory.

BBC map of cities in eastern Ukraine

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