Kiev Military Aviation Resumes Flights in Special Operation Zone
KIEV, July 16 (RIA Novosti) - Military aviation flights above the special operation zone in eastern Ukraine resumed Wednesday after being briefly halted in the wake of a military transport plane crash on Monday, the country's national security council said.
"Flights have already been permitted, and [military planes] are already supporting our ground forces in the areas of most intense fighting," National Security and Defense Council spokesman Andriy Lysenko said.
Kiev halted military flights in the east of the country on July 14, after an An-26 military transport plane crashed in Luhansk Region Monday.
The plane, carrying seven crew members and one accompanying person, was downed in the area surrounding Lisichanka, a city near the Russian border, using a Strela-1 missile system. Several crew members have been taken hostage by independence forces.
Earlier on Wednesday a spokesman for the local defense forces told RIA Novosti independence supporters of the self-proclaimed Luhansk People's Republic were negotiating a swap of the crew members from the downed plane for captives held by Kiev.
Since mid-April, Kiev authorities have been conducting a special military operation in eastern Ukraine to suppress the independence movement. More than 450 civilians have died in the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Luhansk republics over the past few months as a result of the conflict.
Moscow has repeatedly called on Kiev to immediately put a stop the violence and resolve the conflict through peaceful dialogue.
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