Bloody day as rebels shoot down plane
Pro-Russia separatists shot down a Ukrainian military transport plane yesterday, killing all 49 crew and troops aboard in a bloody escalation of the conflict in the country's restive east.
It was a bitter setback for the Ukrainian forces - the deadliest single incident yet in their battle against an armed insurgency that the government, backed by the United States, says is supported by Russia. It also came only a week after the new president, billionaire candy magnate Petro Poroshenko, spoke about a peace plan in his inaugural address.
Poroshenko called an emergency meeting of Ukraine's national security council and declared today a day of national mourning.
Afterwards, the president scolded the head of the country's SBU security service, referring to "omissions" in measures to protect military aircraft from attack. He called for "a detailed analysis of the reasons" and hinted that personnel changes were imminent.
In the southern port of Mariupol, five border guards were killed and seven wounded yesterday when their column of vehicles was ambushed, the guards service said.
The US government reiterated its support for Poroshenko's government and rejected Russia's statements that it was not arming the rebels.