Planes Are Still Being Shot Down in Ukraine

Two Ukrainian military fighter jets were struck down Wednesday, according to the nation’s defense ministry.

Russian-made fighter jets in flight.
National Journal
Marina Koren
July 23, 2014, 4:43 a.m.

Nearly a week after a ci­vil­ian jet­liner went down over east­ern Ukraine, the re­gion’s air­space re­mains deadly.

The As­so­ci­ated Press re­ports that two Ukrain­i­an mil­it­ary fight­er jets were shot down at 1:30 p.m. loc­al time on Wed­nes­day in the east, ac­cord­ing to Ukraine’s De­fense Min­istry. The air­craft were Suk­hoi-25 fight­ers, which were de­signed by the So­viet Uni­on in the 1970s.

Ukrain­i­an De­fense Min­istry spokes­man Oleksiy Dmitrashkovsky told the AP that up to two crew mem­bers may have been aboard each jet.

A spokes­man for Ukraine’s mil­it­ary op­er­a­tions told Re­u­ters that the jets were shot down by pro-Rus­sia sep­ar­at­ists. Ukrain­i­an de­fense of­fi­cials say the mis­siles that took them down were launched from Rus­sia, just across the bor­der, ABC re­ports.

The re­por­ted down­ings come barely a week after Malay­sia Air­lines Flight 17 was blown out of the sky by a sur­face-to-air mis­sile that U.S. in­tel­li­gence of­fi­cials be­lieve was launched by pro-Rus­sia rebels who mis­took the com­mer­cial plane for Ukrain­i­an mil­it­ary air­craft. All 298 people on board were killed in the crash.

In June, sep­ar­at­ists shot down a Ukrain­i­an mil­it­ary trans­port plane, killing 49 people on board.

The cir­cum­stances sur­round­ing the down­ing of the two jet­fight­ers re­main un­clear. In­tel­li­gence of­fi­cials from the U.S. and oth­er coun­tries will likely turn their at­ten­tion to so­cial me­dia, where rebels have pre­vi­ously com­men­ted or bragged about armed at­tacks against Ukrain­i­an au­thor­it­ies, for im­me­di­ate clues about what happened. This story has been up­dated with more in­form­a­tion.
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