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.
What We're Following See More »
"The FBI rejected a recent White House request to publicly knock down media reports about communications between Donald Trump's associates and Russians known to US intelligence during the 2016 presidential campaign, multiple US officials briefed on the matter tell CNN. But a White House official said late Thursday that the request was only made after the FBI indicated to the White House it did not believe the reporting to be accurate."
Sen. Susan Collins, who sits on the Intelligence Committee, "said on Wednesday she's open to using a subpoena to investigate President Donald Trump's tax returns for potential connections to Russia." She said the committee is also open to subpoenaing Trump himself. "This is a counter-intelligence operation in many ways," she said of Russia's interference. "That's what our committee specializes in. We are used to probing in depth in this area."
"Top lawyers who helped the Obama White House craft and hold to rules of conduct believe President Donald Trump and his staff will break ethics norms meant to guard against politicization of the government — and they’ve formed a new group to prepare, and fight. United to Protect Democracy, which draws its name from a line in President Barack Obama’s farewell address that urged his supporters to pick up where he was leaving off, has already raised a $1.5 million operating budget, hired five staffers and has plans to double that in the coming months." Meanwhile, NPR has launched a "Trump Ethics Monitor" to track the resolution of ten ethics-related promises that the president has made.