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Ukrainian military helicopter shot down during patrolling over Sloviansk

The Ukrainian Defense Ministry said on Monday, May 5, its helicopter had been shot down while patrolling the skies over the eastern Ukrainian city of Sloviansk.

It said the Mi-24 helicopter had fallen into a river, the crew survived.

The Defense Ministry also used aircraft against the local militia in Sloviansk. Its press service said the aircraft had been used to destroy coal railway carriages which the militia allegedly planned to convert into an armored train.

Denis Pushilin, co-chair of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic, said Ukrainian law enforcers had used up to 20 helicopters in their punitive operation. Militia downed three of them. "The injured pilot was left behind," he said, adding that militiamen had taken him to the city's central hospital.

The Ukrainian Defense Ministry said the pilot had been handed over to military medics. "The officer is in a military medical clinical centre in the Northern region. Doctors are assessing his condition as 'satisfactory'," the ministry said.

It said Captain Yevgeny Krasnokutsky's helicopter had been downed in the Sloviansk area on the night to May 2 while patrolling the area.

Meanwhile, the Ukrainian army has resumed a punitive operation in Sloviansk, killing two civilians and wounding dozens.

The Interior Ministry said four military personnel had been killed and about 30 wounded in armed clashes in Sloviansk.

Alexander Maltsev, a spokesperson for the Donetsk People's Republic, told ITAR-TASS that a fight between Ukrainian army units and militia had occurred on the highway that links Sloviansk and Donetsk. Four army vehicles opened fire at militia's roadblocks near a village. As a result of the attack, 20 civilians were injured.

Militia also said that the Ukrainian army in Sloviansk had killed two civilians.

[Source: Itar Tass, Kiev, 05May14]

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