Ukraine military helicopter downed by rebel fire, 9 feared dead-military spokesman

by Reuters
Tuesday, 24 June 2014 15:19 GMT

(Adds military analyst, background)

KIEV, June 24 (Reuters) - A Ukrainian helicopter used for carrying military cargo was brought down by rebel fire near the town of Slaviansk in eastern Ukraine on Tuesday and nine people were feared dead, a government forces spokesman said.

Asked about reports that a helicopter had been shot down, the spokesman, Vladyslav Seleznyov, said: "Yes. It was brought down".

Asked about dead, he replied: "There was a three-man crew, in all nine people (on board)."

Dmytro Tymchuk, a military analyst known to have good sources in the armed forces, said the helicopter had been brought down by a missile fired from a shoulder-held launcher.

He confirmed 9 people had been killed, according to preliminary information.

The incident took place just hours after pro-Russian separatists on Monday night announced a ceasefire until June 27 to match a week-long truce by government forces which has been ordered by President Petro Poroshenko.

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, including one general. (Reporting by Pavel Polityuk; Writing By Richard Balmforth; Editing by Alessandra Prentice)

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