SLOVYANSK, Ukraine — Rebels in eastern Ukraine shot down a government military helicopter Thursday amid heavy fighting around Slovyansk, killing at least 12 soldiers including a general, officials said.
Acting President Oleksandr Turchynov told the parliament in Kiev that rebels used a portable air defense missile to bring down the helicopter. He said 14 died, including Gen. Serhiy Kulchytskiy, according to the Interfax news agency, which earlier gave the wrong first name for the general.
Ukraine's National Guards put the death toll at 12, including Kulchytskiy, and said that one soldier was badly wounded, but added that the information is still being clarified.
Slovyansk, a city of 120,000 residents 100 miles from the Russian border, has become the epicenter of fighting between pro-Russia insurgents and government forces in recent weeks. Its residential areas have regularly come under mortar shelling from government forces, causing civilian casualties and prompting some residents to flee.
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