Russian-backed separatists shot down two Ukrainian fighter jets Wednesday in the eastern regions of the country, according to the Ukrainian Defense Ministry.
It was the first reported shootdown of a plane in the area since a Malaysia Airlines jetliner carrying 298 people was downed last week, killing all aboard.
The ministry said on its Facebook page that the fighter jets were among four Russian-built SU-25s that were returning to base after providing air support for Ukrainian troops near the Russian border.
The pilots of both jets ejected from the aircraft, the ministry said. Their condition was not immediately reported.
Vladyslav Selezniov, spokesperson for Ukraine's anti-terrorist operation forces, said Russian militants used anti-aircraft missile systems to hit the planes, the Ukrinform news agency reports.
Despite anti-missile maneuvers and the shooting of heat traps, both aircraft sustained damage, Selezniov said. The pilots ejected.
Defense Ministry spokesman Oleksiy Dmitrashkovsky said the fighters were downed in an area called Savur Mogila in the Shaktersky region near the Russian border.
The site is only a few miles from where the Malaysia jetliner crashed after apparently being shot down by a surface-to-air missile.
A similar SU-25 jet was shot down on July 17, the night before the MH 17 crash, by an air-to-air missile along the country's border with Russia, according to the Andriy Lysenko, a spokesman for Ukraine's national defence and security council.