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Ukrainian Air Force helicopter shot down, 14 people dead

Fourteen Ukrainian servicemen were killed in a special operation conducted against federalization supporters in eastern Ukraine on Thursday, parliament-appointed Acting President Oleksandr Turchynov told a parliament meeting.

A general of the Ukrainian Armed Forces is among those killed, he said. "Our servicemen were in the helicopter that was shot down. They were to replace other servicemen in rotation," Turchynov said.

Militiamen claim 2 helicopters shot down

Earlier, a self-defense forces' representative stated that the people's militia fighters had shot down the second helicopter of the armed forces controlled by Kiev authorities.

The first helicopter was shot down by the militiamen on the south-eastern outskirts of Sloviansk, Donetsk Region, near Chervony Molochar settlement.

"Violent shooting can be heard in this area, and dense black smoke is seen," the militia representative said. In addition, according to latest reports, fight is underway near the Semyonovsk locality.

Mercenaries involved in military operation

About 300 Ukrainian mercenaries who fought in Syria on the opposition side against Bashar Assad returned to Ukraine in March-April and are now participating in the punitive operation of Ukrainian government forces in the southeast of Ukraine, according to a source in the General Staff of the Russian Armed Forces.

After returning from Syria, they joined the battalion of Right Sector radicals participating in the government forces' punitive operation against residents in southeastern regions of the country. Most of the mercenaries are from western regions of Ukraine. Among them are snipers and soldiers of Special Forces known for their cruelty. They fought in more than one "hotspot", including in the North Caucasus where they participated in fighting against federal forces, the source said on Thursday.

[Source: Itar Tass, Kiev, 29May14]

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