Pro-Russia forces say shot down Ukrainian fighter jet
Iran Press TV
Tue Feb 3, 2015 2:50PM
The leader of Ukraine's self-proclaimed Lugansk People's Republic says pro-Russia forces have downed a Ukrainian military aircraft.
Igor Plotnitsky said the Russian-built Sukhoi Su-25 twin-engine fighter jet crashed near the town of Irmino, located approximately 750 kilometers (466 miles) east of the Ukrainian capital, Kiev, on Tuesday, Russia's Itar Tass news agency reported.
He added that the plane's pilot ejected to safety after the attack, and pro-Russians are searching for him.
Earlier on Tuesday, Eduard Basurin, a spokesman for the defense ministry of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic, said eight civilians were killed and nearly two dozen others were injured in shelling across the region in 24 hours.
In addition, a Ukrainian government official from Lugansk, Hennadiy Moskal, said two women were killed and a man was injured in an artillery attack on the city of Novotoshkivka.
The two self-declared republics of Donetsk and Lugansk in Ukraine's east have seen intense fighting over the past two weeks. On January 20, Ukraine conducted the fourth wave of the mobilization of its armed forces since the conflict started in April 2014, with another two waves planned for April and June.
Violence in eastern Ukraine intensified in May 2014 after the two flashpoint regions held local referendums in which their residents voted overwhelmingly in favor of independence from Ukraine and joining the Russian Federation.
The fighting has left more than 5,300 people killed and over 1.5 million displaced, the United Nations says.
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