KIEV, June 14 (Xinhua) -- At least 49 Ukrainian troops were killed after a military transport plane was shot down by anti-government militants in the eastern city of Lugansk early Saturday.
The Il-76 aircraft carrying "military personnel, machinery, equipment and supplies" was approaching the airport in Luhansk when it came under attack by "anti-aircraft and heavy machine guns," the Ukrainian Defense Ministry said in a statement.
The statement did not specify the number of the casualties, but military spokesman Vladislav Seleznyov said at least 49 had died.
"Now we are checking the list of people onboard. Exact details will be released based on the results of the search and rescue operation," he told reporters.
Local media reported earlier some 30 people were aboard the plane.
Violent confrontations between insurgents and government troops have continued in the mostly Russian-speaking Lugansk and Donetsk regions since mid-April. So far, the unrest has killed more than 200 people.
The Soviet-made Il-76 can carry up to 167 soldiers with ammunition and seven crew members.
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