Ukrainian military jet 'shot down' by Russia, Kiev officials say

The pilot of the Sukhoi-25 (an example pictured) had to eject from the aircraft but was apparently unharmed

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The Independent Online

Russian forces have been accused of shooting down a Ukrainian air force fighter jet using an air-to-air missile.

The pilot of the Sukhoi-25 aircraft had to eject from the plane, while ground troops were fired upon by missiles coming from a village inside Russia, Ukraine’s Security Council said.

Spokesman Andrei Lysenko said that the pilot was unhurt and had managed to land safely. The Russian defence ministry has not commented on the claim.

The plane was brought down on Wednesday night near Amvrosiyivka, just a few miles from the border with Russia, according to Reuters.

Separately, pro-Russia rebels have claimed responsibility for attacks on two further Sukhoi-25 jets.

Moscow has been accused of aiding the separatists and helping to fan the flame of unrest – a charge it denies.

On Monday, Ukraine said it had “unconditional evidence” that a military aircraft carrying eight people was shot down by a surface missile fired by Russia. However, rebels have claimed responsibility.

Kiev forces are battling an insurgency near the Russian border, amid heightened tensions between the two countries.

The US has levied Russia with a raft of sanctions, prompting criticism from President Vladimir Putin.

The Russian leader said that the move, which targets two major Russian energy firms, a pair of powerful financial institutions as well as eight weapons firms and four individuals, will stalemate bilateral relations and will hurt both American and Russian businesses.

The US is demanding that Russia stops its support of the insurgency, following a conflict that that the UN says has killed more than 400 and displaced tens of thousands.

Additional reporting by agencies