Pro-Russian separatists shot down a Ukrainian military transport plane overnight carrying troops and supplies in the eastern city of Luhansk, the defence ministry said on Saturday.
“On the night of June 13-14, the terrorists...fired from an anti-aircraft weapon and a large calibre machine gun, shooting down military transport aircraft...IL-76 as it was about to land,” the ministry said in a statement, offering its condolences to the victims’ families.
Forty-nine military personnel were killed in the incident, according to military spokesman Vladislav Seleznov.
Ukraine’s President Petro Poroshenko later summoned his defence and security chiefs for consultations.
“All those involved in cynical acts of terrorism of this magnitude must be punished. Ukraine needs peace. However, the terrorists will receive an adequate response,” Poroshenko said in a statement released by his press service.
Luhansk lies near Ukraine’s border with Russia, an area where separatists have seized government buildings and declared independence after holding disputed referendums.
The toll would be the biggest suffered by government forces in a single incident since Ukraine’s government launched a military operation against pro-Russian separatists in the east.
An estimated 270 people have been killed in the violence over the past two months.
(FRANCE 24 with AFP, AP, REUTERS)
Date created : 2014-06-14