Ukraine says military plane `likely` shot down from Russia
Davydo-Mykilske: Ukraine said a military plane downed over rebel territory on Monday was "likely" shot from Russia after establishing contact with the aircraft`s crew, ratcheting up tensions with Moscow along their volatile border.
"Crew members from an AN-26 plane... That was shot down have established contact with the general staff," said a statement on Ukrainian presidency website, without giving details of any casualties.
It said the transport aircraft had been flying too high to be hit by portable missile systems used by the rebels meaning the shots had come "likely from the territory of the Russian Federation".
An AFP crew found the wreckage of the downed plane strewn around a field in the eastern Lugansk region close to the border with Russia and local residents said it had come down shortly after midday with some parachutes spotted in the sky.
There was no sign of the eight people on board. Kiev`s accusation will ramp up nerves along the porous border between the two ex-Soviet neighbours -- across which Kiev accuses Moscow of pouring fighters and weapons -- despite Russia saying it was inviting international observers to monitor the frontier.
"As a gesture of goodwill and without waiting for the enforcement of a ceasefire regime, the Russian side is inviting OSCE observers to the Gukovo and Donetsk border posts on the Russian-Ukrainian border," Russia`s foreign ministry said in a statement.
Tensions had already soared after a shell reportedly from the Ukrainian side killed a Russian civilian yesterday.
The foreign ministry in Moscow warned that Kiev risked "irreversible consequences" and a report in respected daily Kommersant cited a source close to the Kremlin as saying Russia was weighing up "targeted retaliatory strikes" against Ukrainian positions.
President Vladimir Putin`s spokesman Dmitry Peskov however dismissed the report, telling AFP: "I don`t comment on this in any way. It`s complete nonsense."
Kiev has denied that its forces were behind the shelling and Western-backed President Petro Poroshenko called yesterday on the West to condemn "attacks by Russian soldiers of positions held by Ukrainian servicemen", in a phone conversation with EU Council President Herman van Rompuy.
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