Two Military Jets Shot Down in Eastern Ukraine

23 July, 2014

The Ukrainian Defense Ministry says two of its military fighter airplanes have been shot down in eastern Ukraine. A Defense Ministry spokesman said Wednesday the planes were struck and fell near Savur Mogila. The spokesman said he did not know what happened to the pilots.

Savur Mogila is not far from where a Malaysian passenger plane was shot down earlier this month. All 298 passengers and crew members were killed in that incident.

The area is a burial place in the Shaktersky area. A memorial there marks attacks by the Soviet Army on occupying German troops during World War II.

Savur Mogila, Ukraine

A pro-Russian separatist leader known as Igor Strelkov said the separatists had brought down one of the planes. He said the pilot had ejected. He gave no details. Igor Strelkov is commanding the separatists in the eastern city of Donetsk.

Fierce fighting took place near the separatists' two main headquarters centers in Donetsk and nearby Luhansk. The area is close to where Ukrainian government forces have forced back separatists. The government forces recaptured control of villages and towns on the edges of the cities.

On Tuesday, the Ukrainian government said the separatists were leaving their positions on the edges of Donetsk. It said they were moving towards the city center.

Local people said the separatists had dug areas around the main university from which to fight. They have been living in student housing at the university.

Also Tuesday, a train carrying bodies and flight information recorders collected from the Malaysia Airline crash arrived in Kharkiv. The pro-Russia separatists had collected the bodies and the recorders.

There are questions about how many bodies the train carried. The separatists accused of shooting down the plane had said 282 bodies, and body parts of 16 other victims, were on the train. But a Dutch investigator said the train was carrying only 200 bodies.

I'm Christopher Cruise

This story was written from VOA News reports and Reuters news service.