Two Ukrainian Su-25 fighter jets were shot down on Wednesday, the Ukrainian Security Council confirmed. Self-defense forces claim to be behind the attack, though Kiev believes anti-aircraft missiles could have been launched from Russia.
The two fighter jets were downed near the village of Dmitrovka,
in eastern Ukraine's Donetsk region, according to the Ukrainian
“We [are looking] into the possibility of the missile, which downed the planes, having been launched from the territory of Russia. That’s one of the theories,” a spokesman for the council, Andrey Lysenko, said.
The theory is based on an assumption by the Ukrainian military that anti-Kiev forces in Donetsk and Lugansk do not possess the type of military equipment needed for shooting down the Su-25s.
“Missiles launched from manpads don’t reach such altitudes,” Lysenko said. “The planes have been shot down at the height of 5,200 meters. Only more powerful missile launchers are capable of doing that...[The planes] were downed professionally, the terrorists don’t have such experts.”
Meanwhile, self-defense forces in Ukraine have claimed they downed the jets. In fact, it was they who first broke the news.
“Near Saur-Mogila, a Ukrainian fighter jet was shot down,” the minister of defense of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic, Igor Strelkov, said, as quoted by Novorossiya website. “The pilot ejected himself. One more plane could have been damaged.”
The self-defense forces posted a video of one of the downed jets to YouTube.
RIA Novosti later received the confirmation from Aleksandr
Boroday, prime minister of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's
“Two Su-25 jets were downed near Dmitrovka,” he said.
A leader of the self-defense forces, who would only give his nickname “Cap,” also confirmed that two jets were downed.
“Both were downed by manpads,” the fighter told LifeNews. “One pilot ejected himself into the forest. We’ve found his parachute and are looking for the pilot himself.”
The militia claims it downed two more fighter jets on Tuesday.
“Yesterday self-defense forces downed two Su-25 jets, the so-called "Grach" ("Rook"). That happened in the sky over Lugansk region, near the towns of Zorinsk and Krasny Luch. There’s yet no information about pilots,” said Vladimir Inogorodtsev, spokesman for the self-proclaimed Lugansk People's Republic, as quoted by RIA Novosti.
The self-defense forces claim they shot the military aircraft down to prevent it from bombing residential areas.