Two Ukrainian Su-25 attack jets were reportedly shot down over a rebel-controlled area in Eastern Ukraine early today, according to the Ukrainian Defense Ministry. The jets were returning from a mission near the town of Dmytrivka when they were struck by anti-aircraft missiles.
The pilots fired flares before being hit, and managed to eject, however there is no word on their condition.
It's not clear what missile system the Russian separatists used to shoot down the Su-25 "Frogfoot," though it may have been different from the Sa-11 "Buk" used by separatists to shoot down Malaysia Airlines MH17. The Su-25 is normally used in an attack role to eliminate ground positions, and the pilots may have been flying close enough to the ground to be targeted by smaller systems.
About a dozen aircraft have been shot down by rebels and Russian militia since the Ukrainian conflict began several months ago, including an Su-25.
The Ukrainian government blamed the last Su-25 shootdown on a Russian MiG-29, an allegation which Russia denied.
UPDATE: Courtesy of reader NIGHTMAREuki comes video of the aftermath of the shootdown:
Photo credit: Dima Sergienko