KIEV, August 17 (RIA Novosti) – Independence supporters have downed a Ukrainian Air Forces MiG-29 fighter in the Luhansk region early Sunday morning, the pilot successfully catapulted and managed to escape, Ukrainian Defense Ministry spokesman Leonid Matyukhin told Ukrainian Channel 5.
"The pilot ejected and was transferred to a safe place once the search and rescue measures have been taken," Matyukhin said, noting that the MiG-29 was shot down in the Luhansk region.
In April, the country’s Defense Ministry said several mothballed Mikoyan Mig-29 Fulcrum fourth-generation fighter jets were returned to combat service in western Ukraine. Soon after that, Kiev started a military operation against the southeastern regions of Ukraine that had refused to recognize the legitimacy of the new government after February coup.
Since the start of the operation, a total of 1,367 people have been killed and another 4,087 wounded in the region, including 2,589 civilians and 29 children, according to a report by the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA). At least 117,000 people have been forcibly displaced.
Russia has repeatedly condemned Kiev’s actions and urged for peaceful dialogue with representatives of Ukraine’s southeastern regions.