Moscow :  Russia is all set to conduct military exercises this week near the Ukrainian border, BBC reported Monday. The Russian defence ministry announced that the military exercises will involve 100 aircraft in the west of the country near the Ukraine border.

Fighter jets, helicopters and the latest bombers would take part in the operation, a spokesperson said. The Russian official, however, did not mention Ukraine in his announcement.

The exercise is the first in a series aimed at improving the unity of the air force. It would involve Sukhoi Su-27 and MiG-31 fighter jets, Mi-24 and Mi-28 helicopters and Russia’s newest frontline bomber, the Sukhoi Su-34, the official told the Interfax news agency.

Russia has previously been accused of boosting its troops and weaponry along the border with Ukraine.

Meanwhile, pro-Russian rebels of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) have shot down a Ukrainian Su-25 fighter jet, officials said.

The jet was found Sunday between the towns of Yenakiyevo and Makiivka in Donetsk region in eastern Ukraine, Xinhua reported.

According to Ukrainian authorities, the search for the pilot is still on.

Ukraine’s National Defence and Security Council spokesman Andriy Lysenko said that two Su-25 jets of the Ukrainian Air Force were shot down in eastern Donetsk region July 24, by missiles fired from the Russian territory.

On the other hand, more than 400 Ukrainian soldiers on Monday crossed the border into Russia and deserted the Kiev government, news agency Interfax quoted a border security official as saying Monday. Ukraine confirmed the crossing but said the soldiers were forced into Russian territory by rebel fire.

(To receive our E-paper on whatsapp daily, please click here. We permit sharing of the paper's PDF on WhatsApp and other social media platforms.)

Free Press Journal