June 14, 2014 - 10:52 AMT
PanARMENIAN.Net - Pro-Russian activists have shot down a military transport plane in eastern Ukraine, reportedly killing 49 Ukrainian service personnel, BBC News reported.
Ukraine's defence ministry said the Il-76 transport plane crashed after coming under anti-aircraft fire over Luhansk.
Military spokesman Vladislav Seleznov said all 49 military personnel on board were killed.
The plane was carrying troops and military equipment and was about to land at the city's airport.
This is thought to be the biggest loss of life suffered by government forces in a single incident since Kiev began the operation to try to defeat the insurgency in east Ukraine.
A statement from the ministry said that "terrorists" had "cynically and treacherously" fired on the aircraft. The ministry offered its condolences to the families of those who died.
The incident came less than a week after pro-Russia activists launched a series of attacks on Ukrainian forces at Luhansk International Airport. The airport has been under the control of government forces but the rebels hold most of the rest of the city.