April 2014 – UKRAINE – A Ukrainian military helicopter exploded at a base near the eastern town of Kramatorsk on Friday after being hit by a rocket-propelled grenade, officials in Kiev said. The helicopter was hit in the fuel tank and exploded. “An army Mi-8 helicopter has exploded at the Kramatorsk aerodrome,” the defense ministry in Kiev said in a statement. The chopper was on the ground when it was targeted and that the pilot managed to escape but sustained injuries. The development came as the International Criminal Court’s (ICC) chief prosecutor opened a initial probe into crimes committed before and during the fall of Ukraine’s ousted president Viktor Yanukovych. “The prosecutor of the ICC, Fatou Bensouda, has decided to open a preliminary investigation into the situation in the Ukraine to establish whether… the criteria for opening a (full) investigation are met,” a statement said. “The prosecutor shall consider issues of jurisdiction, admissibility and the interests of justice. If there was a reasonable basis for an investigation, it is then up to her (Bensouda) to ask the court’s judges for authorization.” Arseniy Yatsenyuk, the country’s prime minister, accused Russia of wanting to start “a third world war” and called for for international help against “Russian aggression” after it emerged that Russian troops were on exercises less than a mile from the border.
“The aggressive efforts of the Russian military on Ukraine’s soil will lead to a conflict on European soil,” he said in a televised cabinet meeting. “Russia’s support for the terrorists in Ukraine constitutes an international crime and we call on the international community to unite against the Russian aggression.” John Kerry warned that President Vladimir Putin is running out of time to comply with an accord to ease tensions in Ukraine, as Russia’s military began new exercises on the countries’ border. Kerry accused Russia of using the “barrel of a gun and the force of a mob” to impose its will on Ukraine. He said it’s failed to live up to commitments it made a week ago in Geneva to de-escalate the situation, and continued lack of cooperation would bring consequences. President Barack Obama plans to call European leaders to discuss sanctions today. –Irish Independent
Filed April 23, 2014 – (c) ABC News