partlycloudy
Wednesday July 1st, 2015 7:12PM

Ukraine military helicopter down, at least 12 dead

By The Associated Press
SLOVYANSK, Ukraine (AP) -- Rebels in eastern Ukraine shot down a government military helicopter Thursday amid heavy fighting around Slovyansk, killing at least 12 soldiers including a general, officials said.<br /> <br /> Acting President Oleksandr Turchynov told the parliament in Kiev that rebels used a portable air defense missile to bring down the helicopter. He said 14 died, including Gen. Serhiy Kulchytskiy, according to the Interfax news agency.<br /> <br /> Ukraine's National Guards put the death toll at 12 including the general, but said information about the crash was still being clarified. It said one soldier was badly wounded.<br /> <br /> Slovyansk, a city of 120,000 residents 100 miles (160 kilometers) from the Russian border, has become the epicenter of fighting between pro-Russia insurgents and government forces in recent weeks. It's in the Donetsk region, one of the two provinces in eastern Ukraine that have declared independence from the central government in Kiev.<br /> <br /> An Associated Press reporter saw the helicopter go down amid a trail of black smoke. Gunshots were heard in Slovyansk near the crash site and a Ukrainian air force jet was seen circling above. It was too dangerous to visit the site itself.<br /> <br /> Turchynov said the helicopter was rotating troops into a checkpoint when it came under rebel fire. Residential areas in Slovyansk have regularly come under mortar shelling from government positions on a hill above the city, causing civilian casualties and prompting some residents to flee.<br /> <br /> Interfax said Kulchytskiy had once served in the Soviet army and was in charge of combat training for Ukraine's National Guards.<br /> <br /> The Kiev government condemns the insurgency that is roiling the east as the work of "terrorists" bent on destroying the country and accuses Russia of fomenting it. Russia denies the accusations, saying it has no influence over rebels, who insist they are only protecting the interests of Russian-speakers in the east.<br /> <br /> Billionaire candy magnate Petro Poroshenko, who just won Ukraine's presidential vote, has promised to negotiate with people in the east but has also vowed to uproot the armed rebels. He is not yet in charge however - a date is still being set for his swearing-in early next month - and has not spoken about the insurgency since his victory speech Monday.<br /> <br /> Russia's Foreign Ministry on Thursday denounced the use of aircraft and artillery against the rebels and demanded that Kiev end a "fratricidal war and launch a real political dialogue with all political forces and representatives of the regions."<br /> <br /> The ministry said it would be impossible to restore peace in Ukraine without ending the government's military action against the rebels and withdrawing Ukrainian troops from the east. It called on the West to use its clout with Kiev to "stop Ukraine from sliding into a national catastrophe."<br /> <br /> The separatists in Ukraine have pleaded to join Russia, but President Vladimir Putin has ignored their appeal in an apparent bid to de-escalate tensions with the West and avoid a new round of Western sanctions.<br /> <br /> Putin has denied sending any troops into Ukraine, but fighters from Russia, including from the battle-hardened region of Chechnya, have been appearing among the separatists.<br /> <br /> An insurgent in Donetsk, who identified himself only by his nom de guerre, Baran (Ram), told reporters Thursday that 33 Russian citizens were among the rebels killed earlier this week.<br /> <br /> Dozens of rebels were killed - insurgent leaders said the death toll might be up to 100 fighters - when Ukrainian forces used combat jets and helicopter gunships Monday to dislodge those trying to seize control of Donetsk airport, Ukraine's second-largest.<br /> <br /> The mood in Donetsk was calm Thursday, although many businesses have stopped opening due to fears of renewed fighting following Monday's ferocious battle.<br /> <br /> An insurgent leader, meanwhile, confirmed that his fighters were holding four missing observers from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe and promised they would be released shortly. Vyacheslav Ponomarev, the self-proclaimed "people's mayor" of Slovyansk, told the AP that the monitors - who are from Turkey, Switzerland, Estonia and Denmark - were safe.<br /> <br /> "I addressed the OSCE mission to warn them that their people should not over the coming week travel in areas under our control. And they decided to show up anyway," Ponomarev said. "We will deal with this and then release them."<br /> <br /> He did not give a specific timeframe.<br /> <br /> The OSCE had lost contact with the team in Donetsk on Monday evening. Their teams are in Ukraine to monitor security situation following Russia's annexation of Crimea in March and the rise of the pro-Russia separatist insurgency.
  • Associated Categories: U.S. News, Business News
© Copyright 2015 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Judge denies motions to move, delay Tsarnaev trial
Lawyers for Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev asked a federal appeals court Wednesday to overturn a judge's decision to not move his upcoming trial out of state.
10:02PM ( 6 months ago )
High court to adopt electronic filing of cases
The Supreme Court is belatedly developing an electronic filing system similar to those used in courts around the country, Chief Justice John Roberts said Wednesday in his annual end-of-year report.
7:57PM ( 6 months ago )
Storm brings snow, cold to West for New Year's
A blustery winter storm dumped snow and ice across the West on Wednesday, making driving treacherous in the mountains from California to the Rockies and forcing residents and party-goers in some usually sun-soaked cities to bundle up for a frosty New Year's.
5:19PM ( 6 months ago )
U.S. News
State DOT awards $48M contract for NE Ga. road project
The state Department of Transportation has awarded a $47.8 million contract for nine miles of work on a northeast Georgia road.
9:37AM ( 6 months ago )
Business News
As SC fire investigated, stats show church fires not unusual
GREELEYVILLE, S.C. (AP) — The Rev. John Taylor feared the worst when he learned his church was on fire, only days after a mass shooting at a black church in Charleston prompted Southern leaders to cal...
6:29PM ( 42 minutes ago )
The Latest: Cuba embassy plan riles Republican hopefuls
WASHINGTON (AP) — The United States and Cuba will open embassies in their capital cities after more than 50 years of hostilities between the two countries. The latest developments (all times local):__...
4:46PM ( 2 hours ago )
Emails show top officials aware of Clinton's private address
WASHINGTON (AP) — Senior Obama administration officials, including the White House chief of staff, knew as early as 2009 that Hillary Rodham Clinton was using a private email address for her governmen...
4:25PM ( 2 hours ago )
Tennessee store owner replaces 'No Gays Allowed' sign
RUTLEDGE, Tenn. (AP) — An East Tennessee hardware store owner who put up a "No Gays Allowed" sign in response to the Supreme Court decision allowing same-sex marriage says he decided to take a "bold"...
12:07PM ( 7 hours ago )
Episcopalians to vote on allowing gay marriage in churches
SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Episcopalians were set to vote Wednesday on allowing religious weddings for gay couples, just days after the U.S. Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage nationwide.In 2003, th...
11:47AM ( 7 hours ago )