After the tragic death of 298 civilians from more than 10 different nations -- all of whom were murdered when pro-Russian separatists shot down Malaysian Airlines Flight MH17, according to U.S. intelligence officials -- one could reasonably expect rebels in the area to exercise some restraint. It appears, however, that they are only becoming more emboldened (via The Washington Post):
Two Ukrainian warplanes were shot down Wednesday over rebel-held eastern Ukraine in the same vicinity as a Malaysian airliner that was downed last week, Ukrainian officials said.
The planes, both Sukhoi Su-25 attack aircraft, were struck in the vicinity of Saur Mogila, a town just west of the Russian border, said Aleksey Dmitrashkovsky, a spokesman for the Ukrainian armed forces.
The Daily Mail obtained video of what appears to be parts of a Ukrainian military fighter plane on fire and falling from the sky:
And unsurprisingly, Ukraine’s government cannot confirm any survivors at this time, according to Fox News:
The Ukrainian Defense Ministry said two Sukhoi-25 fighters were shot down Wednesday afternoon over an area called Savur Mogila. The planes may have been carrying up to two crew members each, according to Defense Ministry spokesman Oleksiy Dmitrashkovsky.
The pilots ejected from the planes but it is not known if they survived, Fox News confirms. A search party is out looking for them.
Nevertheless, only six days after shooting down a commercial jetliner, separatists in the region are brazenly continuing their surface-to-air missile campaign, or so it seems. They obviously don't fear their hostile actions will merit any sort of concerted or serious response from the West. (Either that, or they just don't care). In any case, President Obama has urged his Russian counterpart to control the separatists (who he claimed exerts “extraordinary” leverage over them), a plea that, as far as I can tell, is going completely unheeded:
The fact that Russian "separatists" feel no constrains on going back to firing missiles in the air... telling http://t.co/HY9zI5yRPe— Josh Kraushaar (@HotlineJosh) July 23, 2014
Be sure to read Noah Rothman’s analysis over at Hot Air about why Russian President Vladimir Putin is so concerned about maintaining supremacy in Eastern Ukraine, and why a permanent cease-fire agreement between Kiev and Moscow is unlikely anytime soon.
Bottom line: Russia, he argues, has much more at stake than we do.