Skip to main content

Source: Ukrainian military plane with at least 49 aboard shot down

By Laura Smith-Spark, CNN
June 14, 2014 -- Updated 1645 GMT (0045 HKT)
Ukrainian soldiers sit on an armored vehicle as they take up a position in a sunflower field near Donetsk, Ukraine, on Thursday, July 10. Here's a look at the upheaval that has persisted in eastern Ukraine since the election of President Petro Poroshenko. Ukrainian soldiers sit on an armored vehicle as they take up a position in a sunflower field near Donetsk, Ukraine, on Thursday, July 10. Here's a look at the upheaval that has persisted in eastern Ukraine since the election of President Petro Poroshenko.
HIDE CAPTION
Ukraine after the election
Ukraine after the election
Ukraine after the election
Ukraine after the election
Ukraine after the election
Ukraine after the election
Ukraine after the election
Ukraine after the election
Ukraine after the election
Ukraine after the election
Ukraine after the election
Ukraine after the election
Ukraine after the election
Ukraine after the election
Ukraine after the election
Ukraine after the election
Ukraine after the election
Ukraine after the election
Ukraine after the election
Ukraine after the election
Ukraine after the election
Ukraine after the election
Ukraine after the election
Ukraine after the election
Ukraine after the election
Ukraine after the election
Ukraine after the election
Ukraine after the election
Ukraine after the election
Ukraine after the election
Ukraine after the election
Ukraine after the election
Ukraine after the election
Ukraine after the election
Ukraine after the election
Ukraine after the election
Ukraine after the election
Ukraine after the election
Ukraine after the election
Ukraine after the election
Ukraine after the election
Ukraine after the election
Ukraine after the election
Ukraine after the election
Ukraine under new elected leadership
Ukraine after the election
Ukraine after the election
Ukraine after the election
Ukraine after the election
Ukraine after the election
<<
<
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
20
21
22
23
24
25
26
27
28
29
30
31
32
33
34
35
36
37
38
39
40
41
42
43
44
45
46
47
48
49
50
>
>>
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • NEW: Source: An Ilyushin-76 military transport plane is shot down near Luhansk
  • More than 30 separatists have been detained in Mariupol, says Interior Ministry official
  • City's residents are no longer blocking Ukrainian security forces, official says
  • 3 Russian tanks cross border, go to Donetsk, he says; Russia denies this claim to BBC

(CNN) -- A Ukrainian military plane with at least 49 passengers was shot down overnight Friday, a source said, making it the latest and likely one of the bloodiest single events in that nation's current period of turmoil.

The Ilyushin-76 military transport plane went down while approaching an airport in the eastern Ukrainian city of Luhansk, a source with the Ukrainian Anti-Terror Operation of the Ukrainian military forces told CNN.

It was not immediately clear how many of those aboard died or survived.

The incident came hours after Ukraine's Kiev-based government -- which is trying to regain control of the country's restive south and east -- deemed successful an operation targeting pro-Russian separatists in the city of Mariupol.

Anton Geraschenko, adviser to acting Ukrainian Interior Minister Arsen Avakov, said more than 30 "terrorists" had been detained and their base destroyed. Other separatists are hiding in homes and basements for safety, he said.

Where unrest has occurred in E. Ukraine  Where unrest has occurred in E. Ukraine
Where unrest has occurred in E. UkraineWhere unrest has occurred in E. Ukraine

Four Ukrainian soldiers were injured in the operation, he said.

Residents of the southeastern port city may in the past have blocked Ukraine's security forces, he said, but "today, not one resident of Mariupol protected terrorists."

Inside Slovyansk: A week of bombardment
Battle for Slovyansk intensifies
Crisis in Ukraine
Obama warns Russia over Ukraine

According to the Interior Ministry, the yellow-and-blue Ukrainian flag is flying once again over the main municipal building in Mariupol. The city has changed hands several times in the course of hostilities over the past several months.

Meanwhile, three Russian tanks that Avakov claimed had crossed the border into Ukraine on Thursday, prompting a skirmish between Ukrainian and Russian forces, are now in the Donetsk region, Geraschenko said.

He said Ukrainian intelligence indicated that the tanks' drivers were Russian citizens.

The Russian Foreign Ministry told the BBC on Thursday that the claim its tanks had crossed the border was "another fake piece of information."

The United States also believes tanks and heavy weapons have crossed into Ukraine from Russia after moving from a deployment site in southwest Russia, a State Department spokeswoman said Friday.

"We also have information that Russia has accumulated multiple rocket launchers at this same deployment site ... and these rocket launchers also recently departed. Internet video has shown what we believe to be these same rocket launchers traveling through Luhansk," said Marie Harf.

Geraschenko urged the tank drivers to leave their vehicles, warning they would soon be "destroyed from the air."

Video posted online appeared to show the tanks in the Donetsk area. CNN was not able independently to verify the footage.

Rival claims

According to Avakov, the tanks crossed the border at a checkpoint controlled by separatists in the Luhansk region of eastern Ukraine. Armored vehicles and artillery were part of the columns, the minister said Thursday, citing Ukrainian intelligence.

Two of the tanks split off and were attacked by Ukrainian military forces, Avakov said. Part of that column was destroyed, he said. CNN has not independently confirmed the incidents.

Russia and Ukraine have been engaged in a tense standoff since March, when Russia annexed Crimea and massed troops along its border with Ukraine.

Western leaders have accused Moscow of fomenting instability in eastern Ukraine. Russian leaders say Ukraine has failed to move to implement a framework for peace worked out in Geneva, Switzerland, in April. They say Ukrainian leaders have carried out a campaign of violence against people living in the largely pro-Russian east.

On Thursday, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko and Russian President Vladimir Putin "held a substantial and long phone conversation," the Ukrainian President's media office said. The leaders discussed Poroshenko's peace plan to resolve the situation in the east of Ukraine, it said.

Poroshenko has called on the rebels to lay down their arms and engage in talks.

Also Thursday, Vitaly Churkin, Russia's U.N. ambassador, said he would introduce a resolution on Ukraine at the U.N. Security Council in light of what he said was a deteriorating situation in the country.

Churkin told reporters the resolution, to be introduced behind closed doors, would focus on stopping the violence in Ukraine and addressing political efforts through the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe.

Based on Russia's past vetoes of Western-backed Ukraine resolutions, its passage is thought unlikely.

READ: Europe's new frontline: Inside Slovyansk

READ: Ukraine's President vows to defend territory 'no matter what'

CNN's Matthew Chance and Richard Roth and journalist Victoria Butenko, in Kiev, contributed to this report.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
November 20, 2014 -- Updated 1417 GMT (2217 HKT)
Donetsk's neediest line up for food handouts. There are long queues at the bus station as people try to leave town. There are no banks left open.
November 25, 2014 -- Updated 1025 GMT (1825 HKT)
Barking overwhelms the thud of artillery fire. An animal shelter is crammed with 1,000 dogs, many orphans of the conflict with owners who have fled or been killed.
October 3, 2014 -- Updated 0751 GMT (1551 HKT)
Reza Sayah looks into why thousands of Ukrainians have left their old lives to volunteer to fight.
October 14, 2014 -- Updated 2048 GMT (0448 HKT)
CNN's Ralitsa Vassileva speaks to The New Republic's Linda Kinstler about Putin's motives with Ukraine and China.
September 24, 2014 -- Updated 1436 GMT (2236 HKT)
President Barack Obama speaks at the 69th session of the United Nations General Assembly.
November 13, 2014 -- Updated 2258 GMT (0658 HKT)
The Commander of NATO forces in Europe says Russian tanks, Russian artillery, Russian air defense systems and Russian troops -- all heading into Ukraine.
September 9, 2014 -- Updated 1258 GMT (2058 HKT)
Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 broke apart in the air after it was hit by a burst of "high-energy objects" from outside, a preliminary report by Dutch aviation investigators said Tuesday.
September 3, 2014 -- Updated 1611 GMT (0011 HKT)
On a country road in eastern Ukraine, a scene of bucolic tranquility was suddenly interrupted by the aftermath of carnage.
September 2, 2014 -- Updated 2019 GMT (0419 HKT)
In the city of Donetsk, the devastation wrought by weeks of fighting between pro-Russia rebels and Ukrainian forces is all too apparent.
September 1, 2014 -- Updated 0000 GMT (0800 HKT)
CNN's Diana Magnay reports from the front lines in the Ukrainian conflict.
September 1, 2014 -- Updated 1126 GMT (1926 HKT)
A few miles south of the town of Starobeshevo in eastern Ukraine, a group of men in uniform is slumped under a tree.
August 23, 2014 -- Updated 1343 GMT (2143 HKT)
A shopkeeper's mutilated body, relatives' anguish, homes destroyed ... this is Donetsk.
August 19, 2014 -- Updated 1112 GMT (1912 HKT)
A 20-minute drive from Kiev takes you to a neighborhood that feels more like Beverly Hills than central Ukraine.
November 20, 2014 -- Updated 1412 GMT (2212 HKT)
Photos illustrate the ongoing crisis in Ukraine as fighting continues to flare in the region.
July 31, 2014 -- Updated 1631 GMT (0031 HKT)
Future imports, exports between the EU and Russia are now banned -- but existing contracts continue.
July 20, 2014 -- Updated 1540 GMT (2340 HKT)
Some contend that larger weapons have come into Ukraine from Russia.
July 23, 2014 -- Updated 0925 GMT (1725 HKT)
The downing Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 put the pro-Russia rebels operating in Ukraine's eastern region center stage.
ADVERTISEMENT