KIEV, Ukraine (AP) — Ukraine's defense ministry says a Ukrainian military transport plane has been shot down along the country's eastern border with Russia. But officials say all eight people aboard managed to bail out safely.
Separatist rebels claimed responsibility, but Ukrainian officials rejected that claim and blamed Russia instead. The defense minister says the plane had been flying too high to be reached with the weapons used by the separatists.
But defense analyst Charles Heyman in London says he doubts that the plane was flying that high, and he says the missile was more likely fired by the Ukrainian rebels.
There's been no comment from Russia.
In the last two weeks, Ukraine's government has taken back about half of the territory in eastern Ukraine that had been held by the pro-Russia separatists, who have been forced back into two cities.
A resident of one of those cities, Luhansk, says there's been panic there today over reports that Ukrainian paratroopers were slipping in and detaining rebel fighters.
179-c-17-(Peter Leonard, AP correspondent)-"fired from Russia"-AP correspondent Peter Leonard reports separatist rebels claim to have shot down the Ukrainian plane, but the government says the Russian military did it. (14 Jul 2014)
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178-c-16-(Peter Leonard, AP correspondent)-"military air base"-AP correspondent Peter Leonard reports experts are skeptical, but Ukraine is pointing the finger at Russia for shooting down a Ukrainian transport plane in which all eight on board apparently bailed out safely. (14 Jul 2014)
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APPHOTO XDL111: A Donetsk People's Republic fighter stands guard during a pro-Russian meeting in the city of Donetsk, eastern Ukraine Sunday, July 13, 2014. Pro-Russian insurgents last week retreated from the strategic city of Slovyansk and holed up in Donetsk, a city of one million, and potentially the final frontier for the rebels. (AP Photo/Dmitry Lovetsky) (13 Jul 2014)
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