Participants attend a rally supporting the pro-Russian people living in Ukraine's eastern regions, and the self-proclaimed People's Republics of Donbass and Luhansk, in Moscow, June 11, 2014. REUTERS/Sergei Karpukhin
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Pro-Russian separatists shot down a Ukrainian army transport plane with an anti-aircraft missile as it came in to land early on Saturday in the eastern city of Luhansk, killing all 49 military personnel on board.The toll is the highest suffered by government forces in a single incident since they launched a military operation to halt the rebellion in east Ukraine against the country's pro-European leaders in Kiev and to try to prevent the country splitting up. The rebels also said the Ukrainian air force had fired on the industrial town of Horlivka, just north of region's main city, Donetsk.Rebels also shot down a military cargo plane last week, killing three people, and a general was among 14 killed when they hit an Mi-8 transport helicopter on May 29 . The U.S. State Department said on Friday, however, that Russia had sent tanks, heavy weapons and rocket launchers to Ukraine in recent days in support of separatists.Harf told a briefing earlier that a convoy of three T-64 tanks, several MB-21 "or Grad" multiple rocket launchers and other military vehicles had crossed from Russia into Ukraine in the last three days.
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