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Two Ukrainian fighter jets shot down

Two Ukrainian fighter jets were shot down just days after the Malaysian airliner MH17 was downed, said a Ukrainian military spokesman.

"Two Sukhoi Ukrainian fighter jets have been shot down. The fate of the pilots is not known," said a spokesman Oleksiy Dmytrashkivsky. 

These planes, which were flying at an altitude of 5,200m were downed about 25km from the MH17 crash site, an area of heavy fighting between the government forces and pro-Russia rebels.

The government said the pilots of the fighter jets ejected safely.

Ukrainian officials believe that the military jets were hit by missiles that may have been launched from Russia.

"They were shot down very professionally. They terrorists do not have such professionals," said Ukraine's Security Council Andriy Lysenko. 

Meanwhile, a Pentagon spokesman said that Russia has continued to arm and train separatists near the border area and has dispatched military equipment.

A powerful Ukrainian rebel leader has confirmed that pro-Russian separatists had of the Buk missile system, which is widely believed to have brought MH17 down.

In an interview with Reuters, Alexander Khodakovsky (above), commander of the Vostok Battalian said: "That Buk I know about. I heard about it. I think they sent it back. Because I found out about it at exactly the moment that I found out that this tragedy had taken place. They probably sent it back in order to remove proof of its presence."

Sources: The Guardian, The New York Times, Reuters

Photo: Reuters

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