KIEV, Ukraine (AP) — A Ukrainian fighter jet was shot down by an air-to-air missile from a Russian plane and Ukrainian troops were fired upon by missiles from a village inside Russia, a spokesman for Ukraine's Security Council said Thursday.
The alleged episodes mark what Ukraine says is mounting evidence that Moscow is directly supporting the separatist insurgents in eastern Ukraine who have been seen to have substantial quantities of powerful weapons in recent weeks.
Security Council spokesman Andrei Lysenko said the pilot of the Sukhoi-25 jet hit by the air-to-air missile Wednesday evening was forced to bail after his jet was shot down. He said the rockets launched at Ukrainian troops were fired from the Russian village of Kuibyshevo.
Pro-Russia rebels, meanwhile, claimed responsibility for strikes Wednesday on two Ukrainian Sukhoi-25 jets.
The Defense Ministry said the second jet was hit by a portable surface-to-air missile, but added the pilot was unscathed and managed to land his plane safely
Moscow denies Western charges that is supporting the separatists or sowing unrest in its neighbor. The Russian Ministry of Defense could not be reached for comment Thursday about the latest accusations and Russia's foreign ministry did not respond to multiple requests for comment.
Earlier this week, Ukraine said a military transport plane was shot down Monday by a missile fired from Russian territory. Security Service chief Valentyn Nalyvaichenko said he had "unconditional evidence" that Russia was involved in downing that craft.
The rebels are known to possess portable anti-aircraft rocket launchers, but Ukrainian officials say that kind of weapon would have been unable to reach the plane at the altitude at which it was flying Monday. Aviation experts, however, have questioned whether the stricken transport plane was flying at the altitude Ukrainian officials had claimed.
Although the pro-Russia insurgents fighting the government in Kiev suffered a major setback earlier this month when they abandoned their stronghold in the city of Slovyansk, they still appear well-supplied militarily and have incurred heavy losses among government troops.
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