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Ukraine’s military suspends combat aviation flights in offensive area

July 15, 2014, 16:14 UTC+3 KIEV
Ukrainian military aircraft involved in the operation have been at their permanent bases since July 14
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A Ukrainian fighter jet seen in eastern Ukraine, Apr. 2014

A Ukrainian fighter jet seen in eastern Ukraine, Apr. 2014

© ITAR-TASS/EPA/KONSTANTIN IVANOV

KIEV, July 15. /ITAR-TASS/. The Ukrainian armed forces conducting a military operation in the country’s embattled southeast have suspended combat aviation flights in the area to investigate a recent crash of a military plane, the operation’s press center said on Tuesday.

“Aviation flights have been suspended until a special order due to the investigation of Ukrainian Armed Forces' An-26 military transport plane crash in the Luhansk Region on July 14, 2014,” the press center said on its Facebook page.

Ukrainian military aircraft involved in the operation have been at their permanent bases since July 14, the statement said.

These measures have been taken to establish the causes of the An-26 plane crash and carry out an operation to find the plane’s six crew members, the statement said.

Meanwhile, the press office of the Luhansk People’s Republic reported on Monday that self-defense militia had shot down a Ukrainian combat aircraft near the town of Lisichansk and an An-26 military transport plane in the area of the Izvarino settlement. On Monday evening, the self-defense fighters confirmed the information that there had been eight crew members aboard the plane and five of them had been captured.

Troops loyal to Kiev and local militias in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions are involved in fierce clashes as the Ukrainian armed forces are conducting a military operation to regain control over the breakaway regions, which on May 11 proclaimed their independence at local referendums.

During its military operation conducted since mid-April, Kiev has used armored vehicles, heavy artillery and attack aviation. According to Ukraine’s Health Ministry, 478 civilians have been killed and 1,392 wounded in the armed stand-off. Many buildings have been destroyed and tens of thousands of people have had to flee Ukraine’s embattled southeast.

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