Ukraine Military Helicopter Shot Down; 14 Dead


Ukraine General among those killed

SLOVYANSK, Ukraine (AP) — Rebels in eastern Ukraine shot down a government military helicopter Thursday amid heavy fighting around 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 bring down the helicopter. He said Gen. Serhiy Kulchytskiy was among the dead, according to the Interfax news agency, which earlier gave the wrong first name for the general.

Slovyansk, 100 miles (160 kilometers) from the Russian border, has become the epicenter of fighting between pro-Russia insurgents and government forces in recent weeks. Its residential areas have regularly come under mortar shelling from government forces, causing civilian casualties and prompting some residents to flee.

An Associated Press reporter saw the helicopter go down amid a trail of black smoke. Gunshots were heard in Slovyansk near the crash site and a Ukrainian air force jet was seen circling above. It was too dangerous to visit the site itself.