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Ukraine military transport plane shot down by Pro-Russian separatists in Lugansk leaves 49 dead


A reported 49 Ukrainian services personnel were killed when pro-Russian separatists shot down a large military transport plane in the country's unsettled east, officials say.

The Ukrainian defence ministry statement said that the plane was downed as it approached an airport at Lugansk.

The Il-76 transport plane was carrying service members as well as equipment and food.

The statement said that the rebels "cynically and perfidiously" downed the plane using anti-aircraft guns and heavy-calibre machine guns.

An Il-76 is a four-engine jet that can be used to transport heavy gear and people.


The setback for the Ukrainian government comes a day after its troops retook the port of Mariupol from separatists.

Workers remove the roadblocks once manned by insurgents


Lugansk is in Ukraine's east near its border with Russia, an area that has seen separatists seize government buildings and declare independence after holding disputed referendums. The Ukrainian health ministry says at least 270 people have died in clashes between government forces and armed separatists, who Ukraine says are supported by Russia. Russia denies that.