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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