Pro-Russia rebels shoot down Ukraine military plane, killing all 49 aboard

NOVOHANNIVKA, Ukraine (AP) — Ukraine’s president has declared tomorrow a day of national mourning after pro-Russia separatists shot down a military transport plane in the country’s east, killing all 49 crew and troops aboard.

The incident is the deadliest for the Ukrainian military in the four-month-old conflict. It comes just a week after President Petro Poroshenko spoke about a peace plan in his inaugural address. Poroshenko has called an emergency meeting of Ukraine’s national security council.

Ukraine’s prosecutor general says the plane went down this morning as it approached the airport in Luhansk, near the border with Russia. Separatists there have seized government buildings and declared independence. However, Ukrainian forces still control the Luhansk airport.

The U.S. government is reiterating its support for Ukraine’s government and rejecting Russia’s statements that it’s not arming the rebels. The U.S. says Russia clearly has sent tanks and rocket launchers to the rebels, making sure the unmarked tanks were of a type not currently being used by Russian forces.

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121-c-16-(David McHugh, AP correspondent)-“including a general”-AP correspondent David McHugh reports even after reported gains of recent days, the deaths of dozens of troops reflects the Ukraine military’s struggle to stem the tide of the pro-Russia militants. (14 Jun 2014)

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119-c-19-(David McHugh, AP correspondent)-“a large airplane”-AP correspondent David McHugh reports there’s been a major loss of life for the Ukrainian military as it tries to quell pro-Russia militants in the eastern part of the country. ((watch dating, casualty numbers)) (14 Jun 2014)

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120-c-19-(David McHugh, AP correspondent)-“supplying the rebels”-AP correspondent David McHugh reports the militants who are said to have shot down the airplane seem to be in possession of significant military hardware. (14 Jun 2014)

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APPHOTO XAZ118: Pro-Russian fighters collect ammunition from the site of remnants of a downed Ukrainian army aircraft Il-76 at the airport near Luhansk, Ukraine, Saturday, June 14, 2014. Pro-Russian separatists shot down the military transport plane Saturday in the country’s restive east, killing all 49 service personnel on board, Ukrainian officials said. (AP Photo/Evgeniy Maloletka) (14 Jun 2014)

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APPHOTO XAZ117: A pro-Russian fighter collects ammunition from the site of remnants of a downed Ukrainian army aircraft Il-76 at the airport near Luhansk, Ukraine, Saturday, June 14, 2014. Pro-Russian separatists shot down the military transport plane Saturday in the country’s restive east, killing all 49 service personnel on board, Ukrainian officials said. (AP Photo/Evgeniy Maloletka) (14 Jun 2014)

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APPHOTO XAZ116: A pro-Russian fighter collects ammunition at the site of remnants of a downed Ukrainian army aircraft Il-76 at the airport near Luhansk, Ukraine, Saturday, June 14, 2014. Pro-Russian separatists shot down the military transport plane Saturday in the country’s restive east, killing all 49 service personnel on board, Ukrainian officials said. (AP Photo/Evgeniy Maloletka) (14 Jun 2014)

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APPHOTO XAZ115: Pro-Russian fighters collect ammunition from the site of remnants of a downed Ukrainian army aircraft Il-76 at the airport near Luhansk, Ukraine, Saturday, June 14, 2014. Pro-Russian separatists shot down the military transport plane Saturday in the country’s restive east, killing all 49 service personnel on board, Ukrainian officials said. (AP Photo/Evgeniy Maloletka) (14 Jun 2014)

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APPHOTO XAZ110: Pro-Russian fighters walk at the site of remnants of a downed Ukrainian army aircraft Il-76 at the airport near Luhansk, Ukraine, Saturday, June 14, 2014. Pro-Russia separatists shot down a Ukrainian military transport plane Saturday, killing all 49 crew and troops aboard in a bloody escalation of the conflict in the country’s restive east. (AP Photo/Evgeniy Maloletka) (14 Jun 2014)

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