Rebels shoot down Ukraine military helicopter; at least 12 dead including a general

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Associated Press

Posted on May 29, 2014 at 12:04 PM

Updated Thursday, May 29 at 12:34 PM

SLOVYANSK, Ukraine (AP) — Russia's Foreign Ministry is denouncing Ukraine's use of aircraft and artillery against the rebels and demanding that Kiev end what it calls a "fratricidal war."

The statement comes after rebels shot down a Ukrainian military helicopter today amid heavy fighting around Slovyansk (SLAHV'-yansk).

Acting President Oleksandr Turchynov (oh-lek-SAN'-dur tur-CHY'-nahv) told the parliament in Kiev that rebels used a portable air defense missile to bring down the helicopter. He says 14 Ukrainian soldiers, including a general, were killed. Ukraine's National Guards put the death toll at 12 including the general.

Russia says it will be impossible to restore peace in Ukraine without the government ending its military action against the rebels and withdrawing troops from the east. And it's calling on the West to use its influence with Kiev to "stop Ukraine from sliding into a national catastrophe."

Slovyansk has become the epicenter of fighting between pro-Russia insurgents and government forces in recent weeks. It's in the Donetsk (dah-NETSK') region, one of the two provinces in eastern Ukraine that have declared independence from the central government in Kiev.

The separatists have pleaded to join Russia, but President Vladimir Putin has ignored their appeal.

%@AP Links

149-c-11-(Peter Leonard, AP correspondent)-"to its crew"-AP correspondent Peter Leonard reports an AP colleague witnessed the Ukrainian military helicopter fall from the sky, but there's no word on the whereabouts of the chopper's crew or any survivors. ((watch for dating)) (29 May 2014)

<<CUT *149 (05/29/14)££ 00:11 "to its crew"

148-c-11-(Peter Leonard, AP correspondent)-"by rebels there"-AP correspondent Peter Leonard reports a Ukrainian military helicopter has been shot down by rebels over Slovyansk in the troubled east. ((Slovyansk is pronounced SLAHV'-yansk)) (29 May 2014)

<<CUT *148 (05/29/14)££ 00:11 "by rebels there"

150-c-08-(Peter Leonard, AP correspondent)-"and deploying flares"-AP correspondent Peter Leonard reports a Ukrainian air force jet flew over Slovyansk following the shoot down of the helicopter, although it's unclear if a more robust response is planned.((Slovyansk is pronounced SLAHV'-yansk)) (29 May 2014)

<<CUT *150 (05/29/14)££ 00:08 "and deploying flares"

APPHOTO NC104: AP10ThingsToSee- A pro-Russian armed militant wearing a shirt bearing an emblem of a former Ukrainian special force police unit sits behind a camouflage net as he guards a checkpoint blocking the major highway which links the Russian city of Rostov-on-Don, and Kharkiv, outside Slovyansk, Ukraine, Monday, May 26, 2014. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko) (26 May 2014)

<<APPHOTO NC104 (05/26/14)££

APPHOTO XEL106: A Ukrainian soldier guards a checkpoint outside Slovyansk, Ukraine, Thursday, May 29, 2014. Rebels in eastern Ukraine shot down a government military helicopter Thursday amid heavy fighting around the eastern city of Slovyansk, killing 14 soldiers including a general, Ukraine's leader said. Acting President Oleksandr Turchynov told the parliament in Kiev that rebels used a portable air defense missile Thursday to down the helicopter and said that a General was among the dead. (AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky) (29 May 2014)

<<APPHOTO XEL106 (05/29/14)££

APPHOTO XEL105: Ukrainian soldiers patrol on a checkpoint outside Slovyansk, Ukraine, Thursday, May 29, 2014. Rebels in eastern Ukraine shot down a government military helicopter Thursday amid heavy fighting around the eastern city of Slovyansk, killing 14 soldiers including a general, Ukraine's leader said. Acting President Oleksandr Turchynov told the parliament in Kiev that rebels used a portable air defense missile Thursday to down the helicopter and said that a General was among the dead. (AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky) (29 May 2014)

<<APPHOTO XEL105 (05/29/14)££

APPHOTO XVG103: A pro-Russian gunman stands by coffins of those killed in fighting with Ukrainian troops for control of the city's airport at a morgue in Donetsk, Ukraine, Thursday, May 29, 2014. The Kiev government condemns the insurgency roiling the east as the work of "terrorists" bent on destroying the country and blames Russia for fomenting it. Russia denies the accusations, saying it has no influence over rebels, who insist they are only protecting the interests of Russian-speakers in the east.(AP Photo/Vadim Ghirda) (29 May 2014)

<<APPHOTO XVG103 (05/29/14)££

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