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Ukrainian government bombs Snizhne flats, killing civilians

NINE civilians were killed today when a Ukrainian government warplane bombed a block of flats in the rebel-held town of Snizhne.

The four-storey block was hit by several missiles, causing the collapse of several tiers, while a nearby house was also destroyed.

Local residents, who counted six large impact craters, were convinced the attack had been carried out by the Ukrainian Air Force.

One resident standing beside a pile of bags said: “My home was bombed to bits.”

She appealed to Russian President Vladimir Putin to send in troops to defend the people of eastern Ukraine.

The Defence Ministry in Kiev insisted that the bombing could not have been carried out by the air force as its planes were not on sorties at the time. 

Security Council spokesman Andrei Lysenko called the incident a “cynical and bloody provocation.”

He said that Snizhne had been attacked by an unknown aircraft with the aim of discrediting Ukrainian government forces.

But this would not be the first time that Kiev has denied the undeniable, searching for an anonymous scapegoat for its own bloody excesses.

The pro-Russian rebels have no access to air power and would have little interest in bombing their own territory, which leaves only Moscow to blame.

Kiev Defence Minister Valeriy Heletey had pointed the finger at Russia on Monday for the shooting down of an Antonov-26 military transport plane, insisting that only its neighbour had the capability of hitting the aircraft flying at its maximum altitude of 6,500 metres.

Rebels had reported downing the plane with SAM-6 ground-to-air missiles.

British defence analyst Charles Heyman, who edits the Armed Forces of the European Union book, pooh-poohed the Kiev line, expressing his scepticism that the transport plane could have been flying so high and backing the SAM-6 hypothesis.

“I doubt the transport plane was flying at 6,500m. That doesn't make sense. The higher you fly, the more it costs and the plane would have had to be pressurised. 

“It was probably shot down using Sam-6 missiles owned by the rebels, which they have quite a few of.”

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