UK & World News

  • 24 June 2014, 23:47

Nine 'Dead' As Ukrainian Helicopter Shot Down

Nine people are feared dead after a Ukrainian army helicopter was shot down near the town of Slaviansk, a government forces spokesman said.

Dmytro Tymchuk, a military analyst, said the helicopter had been brought down by a missile fired from a shoulder-held launcher.

He confirmed nine people had been killed, according to preliminary information.

The incident took place just hours after pro-Russian separatists announced a ceasefire until June 27.

That matched a week-long truce by government forces which has been ordered by President Petro Poroshenko.

Russian President Vladimir Putinsaid that the week-long ceasefire should be extended and accompanied by talks between the government and the rebels.

During a trip to Vienna, Mr Putin said that the seven-dayceasefire was not enough.

Earlier, in a surprising turnabout, MrPutinasked politicians to revoke a resolution allowing him to invade Ukraine.

Kiev immediately hailed the move as Mr Putin's "first practical step" towards helping defuse the crisis.

The surprise reversal from the Kremlin comes amid the threat of tougher Western sanctions against Moscow.

It could help spur fragile peace initiatives to end fighting in eastern Ukraine.

The town of Slaviansk has been controlled by separatists since April and on May 30 rebels there brought down a military helicopter killing 14 servicemen.

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