David Cenciotti on Jun 7
On June 6, a shoulder-fired missile struck a Ukrainian air force An-30 reconnaissance plane during Kiev’s ongoing battle with Russian-backed eastern separatists in Slavyansk.
Some of the crew bailed out—others apparently did not. The An-30 probably carried around eight people. The damaged aircraft reportedly crashed near Svyatogorsk north of Slavyansk.
Russia’s supporters, agents and proxies in eastern Ukraine have succeeded in shooting down several Ukrainian planes and helicopters since the unrest began during Russian’s annexation of Crimea starting in late February.
Moscow denies backing the Ukrainian separatists, but the rebels’ sophisticated anti-aircraft weaponry seems to indicate state support.
Ukraine is pulling old aircraft out of mothballs in order to top off its flying units—and to make good losses that Kiev incurred when Russian troops seized air bases in Crimea.