Pro-Russians in Slaviansk claim three civilians died from Ukrainian government shelling while Kiev announced the three pilots died after pro-Russians shot down their An-26 plane. The plane carried humanitarian cargo for people in the war-torn east.
According to The Kyiv Post, the headquarters of the Dontesk People’s Republic told Interfax-Ukraine the deaths occurred late Friday night and early Saturday morning.
“A howitzer round last night hit Svobody Street, which is the central street of Sloviansk. Two people who were at the place at the moment were killed and several others suffered fragmentation wounds,” the statement read. “The city’s residential neighborhoods are being pounded, and therefore it’s impossible to stay there. A lot of civilians have been injured.”
The third death was at Cherevkivka early Saturday morning and two houses were destroyed. Other residents said the neighborhoods are being shelled from Mount Karachun, which Ukraine managed to retake from the pro-Russians.
Vladyslav Selezniov, the spokesman for Ukraine’s anti-terrorist operation, said three pilots in the An-26 died after it was shot down by rebels in Slaviansk. From The Kyiv Post:
He said that “three people were rescued, they have already been taken to hospital, two more pilots are being looked for, and a rescue operation is continuing.”
Selezniov recalled that the plane was carrying non-military goods. Separatists shot it down with MANPADS. The An-26 began to fall on residential neighbourhoods of Sloviansk, but the pilots managed to get it away from the city.
A YouTube video shows the attack and people on Twitter posted pictures of the plane on fire as it headed to the ground. Slaviansk’s self-proclaimed mayor Vladyslav Selezniov claimed it was an An-30, which is a surveillance plane.