On Saturday, rebels used Russian-made anti-aircraft missiles to shoot down a Ukrainian military jet as it tried to land at an airport in the city of Luhansk. Ukraine’s Ministry of Defense said that the plane had been carrying troops and supplies to be used in the eastern part of the country. All 49 people on board — 40 paratroopers and nine crew members — were killed. According to the New York Times, it was the deadliest incident experienced by the Ukrainian military since it began fighting with the pro-Russia separatists.
Representatives from the self-declared People’s Republic of Luhansk confirmed that they were responsible for the attack and told reporters that they planned to continue targeting Ukrainian aircraft in the area. Ukraine’s new president, Petro Poroshenko — who pressed for peace talks last week — promised an “adequate” response to the deaths. “All those involved in cynical acts of terrorism of this magnitude must be punished,” he said. Reuters reports that Poroshenko “later consulted with his security and defense chiefs but gave no details of how they would retaliate.” Meanwhile, on Friday, the United States State Department confirmed the Ukrainian government’s claim that Russia sent tanks and other weapons to the rebels this week.