Just hours after it was confirmed that pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine had been given tanks and weapons by Russia, the rebels brought down a Ukrainian military transport plane. All 49 military personnel aboard, including 40 troops, are dead.
The plane, Russian-built Il-76, went down early on Saturday as it approached the airport in Luhansk, a central point in the rebellion near the Russian border. Reuters reported:
Charred debris was scattered for hundreds of metres over the sloping wheat field where the plane came down overnight near Novohannivka, a village 20 km (12 miles) southeast of Luhansk."
Newly installed Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko promised a swift response:
All those involved in cynical acts of terrorism of this magnitude must be punished. Ukraine needs peace. However, the terrorists will receive an adequate response"
By midday, it had already become the bloodiest day between Ukrainian troops and pro-Russian separatists in the entirety of the rebellion.