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Ukraine army helicopter shot down in Slavyansk

361435_Mi-24-helicopter

A military helicopter has been shot down in the volatile eastern city of Slavyansk, Ukraine’s Defense Ministry says.

The ministry said in a statement that an Mi-24 helicopter crashed into a river in Slavyansk at 14:30 local time (11:30 GMT) after it came under fire from a heavy machine gun.

The ministry also added that the pilots of the chopper have survived.

Meanwhile, Slavyansk city hospital reported that out of seven injured people admitted to the medical center, two of them with gunshot wounds have died.

Pro-Russian activists say they have lost more than 20 members while Ukrainian officials say four government troops have been killed during the Kiev forces’ renewed crackdown on the pro-Moscow stronghold of Slavyansk.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has offered to mediate in the worsening Ukrainian crisis and called on all sides involved to help resolve the turmoil peacefully.

“I am urging these four parties (the US, the EU, Russia and Ukraine’s interim government) to solve this problem through peaceful means and I’m ready to provide my own role if necessary,” AFP news agency quoted Ban as saying on Monday.

On May 2, the Kiev authorities expanded their controversial military operations against pro-Russian protesters in the eastern and southern parts of Ukraine.

Pro-Moscow demonstrations gained momentum in Ukraine after Crimea declared independence from Kiev and formally applied to become part of the Russian Federation in a referendum in March.

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