Rebels Shoot Down Ukrainian Fighter Plane, Conflict Continues Escalation

The Ukrainian military has reported that a fighter plane was shot down over the Luhansk area in Eastern Ukraine on Sunday. The fighter was returning from an attack mission against the rebels, when the pilot’s plane was hit, he ejected to safety.

The shooting shows that although Ukrainian forces have gained ground, the rebels maintain ample firepower.

No further information about the Ukrainian fighter or the pilot has been made available.

This shooting comes right after an upswing in the fighting in Eastern Ukraine.

Alexander Zakharchenko, the leader of the rebel group holding Donetsk, recently sent out a video of himself saying that they had recently received new weapons from Russia and 1,200 new fighters to join the conflict.

Although Russia continues to deny that weapons and fighters are going to Ukrainian rebels, as previously reported by the Inquisitr, Ukrainian forces recently destroyed a number of Russian military vehicles crossing the border.

Washington and other western government’s voiced their condemnation of Russia continuing to arm Ukrainian rebels. NATO leader Anders Fogh Rasmussen said, “It is a clear demonstration of continued Russian involvement in the destabilization of eastern Ukraine.”

A pattern of downplaying the violence?

Along with the unknown details of the Ukrainian fighter, the destruction of the military vehicles seems to be draped in ambiguity. The destruction was described as commonplace by Ukrainian military officials and no further details were officially released. According to the Wall Street Journal, the Ukraine is attempting to avoid a larger conflict, now that it is getting closer to victory.

On the upside of the crisis, Russia does appear to be sending legitimate aid to the East Ukrainian region.

The newest plane shooting comes as hundred of aid convoy trucks from Russia sit on the Ukrainian border, waiting on inspections from the Red Cross. The convoy was initially stopped by Ukrainian officials fearing it was a way to smuggle in new equipment. The officials said they would only let in the convoy if it was inspected by the Red Cross, which has been delayed because of a lack of security on both the Russian and Ukrainian side.

Despite Ukraine’s fears the aid is becoming critically in need.

The city of Luhansk has suffered from periodic bouts of electrical outages and shortages of medicine and food. The largest rebel-held city, Donetsk has also been suffering and been hit with repeated volleys of shell fire.

Hopefully the rebels shooting down the Ukrainian fighter will not make things worse for those stuck in the war zone.

[Image Credit: AFP]