Independence Supporters Announce Downing of Ukrainian Air Force Attack Plane
LUHANSK, July 11 (RIA Novosti) — Independence supporters in the eastern city of Luhansk have shot down a Ukrainian Air Force attack airplane, Oksana Chigrina, a spokeswoman for the supporters, told RIA Novosti on Friday.
'Our independence supporters shot down a Ukrainian attack plane near the city of Perevalsk,' Chigrina said.
The spokeswoman said the incident has been confirmed by two independent sources.
Last week, independence supporters were forced to retreat from the cities of Slaviansk and Kramatorsk, as government troops announced they had gained control of two-thirds of Donetsk and Luhansk regions.
Deputy head of the Ukrainian Border Guard Service, Mykhailo Koval, said the country's special services were planning to set up a complete blockade of Donetsk and Luhansk in order to force independence supporters to lay down their arms.
The leader of the self-proclaimed People's Republic of Luhansk, Valery Bolotov, said earlier in the day that Luhansk militia would soon have its own air force following the capture of an aircraft in one of the operations.
Military actions have been ongoing in the southeast of Ukraine since mid-April, when Kiev authorities launched a special operation in a crackdown on independence supporters. The violence intensified after the Luhansk and Donetsk regions declared independence from Ukraine in May.
Moscow has condemned what it calls a punitive operation, and urged Kiev to stop the bloodshed.
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