KIEV — Russian separatists downed two Ukrainian fighter jets Wednesday, not far from where last week they are thought to have downed a passenger jet with 298 people on board.
The two fighter jets were reported to have been shot from the sky as two transport planes carrying an estimated 60 coffins of the dead from the Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 were in the air headed toward the Netherlands.
There were varying reports of exactly where the jets were flying when attacked. Some reports put them within 16 miles of the crash site and others placed them near a village to the north, about 60 miles away.
The two jets were reported to be Su-25s. The type of anti-aircraft weapon used to take them down was not immediately available. Officials described the weapons only as “missiles.”
Military spokesman Vladislav Seleznev said:
“Today in the south of the Lugansk region close to the village of Dmytrivka, pro-Russian fighters shot two Su-25 jets from a missile system. The pilots took evasive action.”
Before news of the jets broke, Col. Andriy Lysenko, a spokesman for Ukraine’s National Security and Defense Council, told reporters in Kiev that “we know that they still possess anti-aircraft weapons.”
A week ago, Ukrainian officials accused Russian fighter jets of downing yet another Su-25. According to the military website GlobalFirepower, Ukraine is thought to have had a total of 116 fighter jets when the conflict began.