Ukraine Helicopter Shot Down; General Among 14 Killed

Image: Ukraine Helicopter Shot Down; General Among 14 Killed Armed pro-Russian militants guard a checkpoint in the village of Senyonovka, near the eastern Ukrainian city of Slavyansk, on May 26, 2014 photo.

Thursday, 29 May 2014 10:20 AM

  Comment  |
   Contact  |
  Print   |
    A   A  
  Copy Shortlink
A Ukrainian military helicopter was shot down in eastern Ukraine by pro-Russian separatists on Thursday and 14 people on board, including a general, were reportedly killed.

"I have just received information that terrorists using Russian anti-aircraft missiles shot down our helicopter near Slaviansk. It had been ferrying servicemen for a change of duty," acting President Oleksander Turchinov told parliament., according to Reuters.

Turchinov said 14 soldiers, including Gen. Serhiy Kulchytskiy, were killed when rebels used a portable air defense missile to down the helicopter over the city of Slovyansk.

Urgent: Do You Approve Or Disapprove of President Obama's Job Performance? Vote Now in Urgent Poll

Slovyansk, 100 miles from the Russian border, has become the epicenter of fighting between pro-Russia insurgents and government forces in recent weeks. Its residential areas have regularly come under mortar shelling from government forces, causing civilian casualties and prompting some residents to flee.

An Associated Press reporter saw the helicopter go down amid a trail of black smoke. Gunshots were heard in Slovyansk near the crash site and a Ukrainian air force jet was seen circling above. It was too dangerous to visit the site itself.

Turchynov said the helicopter was flying troops in for a rotation to a hill outside Slovyansk where Ukrainian forces have set up positions.

The Interfax news agency said Kulchytskiy had once served in the Soviet army and was in charge of combat training for Ukraine's National Guards.

The city of 120,000 is in the Donetsk region, one of the two sprawling provinces in eastern Ukraine that have declared independence from the government in Kiev.

The Kiev government condemns the insurgency roiling the east as the work of "terrorists" bent on destroying the country and blames Russia for fomenting it. Russia denies the accusations, saying it has no influence over rebels, who insist they are only protecting the interests of Russian-speakers in the east.

Still, fighters from Russia, including from the battled-hardened region of Chechnya, have been appearing recently in the ranks of the separatists.

Also Thursday, an insurgent leader confirmed that his fighters were holding four missing observers from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe and promised they would be released shortly. Vyacheslav Ponomarev, the self-proclaimed "people's mayor" of Slovyansk, told the AP that the monitors — who are from Turkey, Switzerland, Estonia and Denmark — were safe.

"I addressed the OSCE mission to warn them that their people should not over the coming week travel in areas under our control. And they decided to show up anyway," Ponomarev said.

"We will deal with this and then release them," he said, without setting a specific timeframe.

The OSCE had lost contact with the team in Donetsk on Monday evening. Their teams have been deployed to Ukraine to monitor security situation following Russia's annexation of Crimea and the rise of the pro-Russia separatist insurgency in eastern Ukraine. They also observed Sunday's presidential vote, won by billionaire candy magnate Petro Poroshenko.

Poroshenko has promised to negotiate with people in the east but also vowed to uproot the armed rebels.

In the most ferocious battle yet, rebels in Donetsk tried to take control of its airport Monday but were repelled by Ukrainian forces using combat jets and helicopter gunships. Dozens of men were killed — some insurgent leaders said the death toll might be up to 100 fighters.

The mood in Donetsk was calm Thursday, although many businesses have stopped opening due to fears of renewed fighting.

The separatists in Ukraine have pleaded to join Russia, but President Vladimir Putin has ignored their appeal in an apparent bid to de-escalate tensions with the West and avoid a new round of Western sanctions.

Putin has supported an OSCE peace plan that calls for ending hostilities and launching a political dialogue and has said Russia would work with Poroshenko. But Russia has repeatedly urged the Ukrainian government to end its military operation against the separatists.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov on Thursday called for quick international mediation to persuade Kiev to halt what he described as a "punitive operation" in the east.

Urgent: Assess Your Heart Attack Risk in Minutes. Click Here.

Related Stories:

© 2014 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

  Comment  |
   Contact  |
  Print   |
  Copy Shortlink
Send me more news as it happens.
 
 
Get me on The Wire
Send me more news as it happens.
Around the Web
Join the Newsmax Community
Please review Community Guidelines before posting a comment.
>> Register to share your comments with the community.
>> Login if you are already a member.
blog comments powered by Disqus
 
Email:
Country
Zip Code:
Privacy: We never share your email.
 
Follow Newsmax
Like us
on Facebook
Follow us
on Twitter
Add us
on Google Plus
You May Also Like

Cambodia HIV Outbreak: 100-Plus People Diagnosed; Investigation Sought

Friday, 19 Dec 2014 18:50 PM

More than 100 HIV infections in a single Cambodian village have spurred the country's prime minister to ask for an inves . . .

Slender Man Case: Two Girls Competent to Stand Trial in Stabbing

Friday, 19 Dec 2014 18:26 PM

Two girls who allegedly stabbed a 12-year-old friend over the online game Slender Man are competent to stand trial for a . . .

Kate Upton Sexiest Woman Alive; Model Apologizes to Teen Brother

Friday, 19 Dec 2014 17:52 PM

Model Kate Upton was selected as People magazine's first Sexiest Woman Alive, a month after Chris Hemsworth received the . . .

Top Stories

Newsmax, Moneynews, Newsmax Health, and Independent. American. are registered trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc. Newsmax TV, and Newsmax World are trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc.

 
NEWSMAX.COM
America's News Page
©  Newsmax Media, Inc.
All Rights Reserved