Sun, Jun 15, 2014 - Page 6 News List

Pro-Russia rebels take down plane in east, 49 dead

AP, KIEV

Soldiers injured in fighting against pro-Russian militants in eastern Ukraine are visited by relatives as they lie in beds at a ward at the Central Clinical Hospital of the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine in Kiev on Friday.

Photo: EPA

The Ukrainian prosecutor-general’s office said 49 people died when pro-Russian separatists shot down a Ukrainian military transport.

A statement on the office’s Web site said that nine crew and 40 service members were aboard the Il-76 plane when it went down early yesterday as it approached the airport at the city of Lugansk.

Another official, counter-terrorism spokesman Vladislav Seleznyov, was quoted by the Interfax news agency as saying the figure was preliminary.

The prosecutor’s office said that a criminal investigation had been opened under anti-terrorism laws.

The Il-76 transport plane was carrying service members, as well as equipment and food.

The statement said that the rebels “cynically and treacherously” downed the plane using anti-aircraft guns and heavy-caliber machine guns. It expressed sympathy to the families of those killed “for their tragic and irreparable loss.”

The Ukrainian health ministry says at least 270 people have died in clashes between government forces and armed separatists, who Ukraine says are supported by Russia. Russia denies that.

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