While most news coming out of Ukraine regarding the ongoing civil war are merely propaganda designed to make Russia look bad, and hence irrelevant (and vice versa from Russia of course – the only news that matters re: Ukraine is i) what happens with gas deliveries to Europe via Ukraine and ii) the fate of the South Stream pipeline; the rest is mostly noise), it is perhaps a testament to how the global media will observe Russia’s response to the latest US sanctions, and hardly improve risk appetite, that as Reuters reports a Russian jet shot down a Ukrainian SU-25 fighter plane that was on military operations over the east of Ukraine.
While we have yet to receive the official Kremlin denial of this major escalation in hostilities between the two countries, and one which would otherwise be grounds for war by Ukraine and thus essentially denies the report (since Ukraine did not declare war on Russia for rather obvious reasons), here are the alleged details:
It was the strongest Ukrainian allegation to date of direct Russian military involvement in the conflict. Russia’s defence ministry declined to comment on the report. The plane was brought down on Wednesday night by a rocket strike and the pilot safely ejected, Andriy Lysenko, a spokesman for Ukraine’s national Defence and Security Council, told journalists. It was the third reported incident this week in which a Ukrainian plane has been hit by a missile. Kiev has said that an An-26 military transporter was brought down last Monday probably by a missile fired from Russia, either from the air or from the ground. Two out of the eight people on board that plane were killed, the Ukrainian military said. On Wednesday, another SU-25 was hit by a rebel missile but the pilot brought the plane down successfully with relatively slight damage. Kiev did not allege Russian involvement in that case.
Cue stern Russian denial in 5… 4… 3… even as Kiev continues to quietly syphon off transiting gas destined for Europe. And speaking of Russian gas heading toward Germany, keep a close eye on it – it may start to fluctuate in the near future.