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Rebels in Ukraine Claim Air Force Attack

The separatist Luhansk People's Republic in eastern Ukraine claimed on Wednesday that it used a fighter jet to attack Ukrainian government troops for the first time, state news agency RIA Novosti reported.

The Su-25 fighter jet, which the separatist organization said it downed in July and repaired, was reportedly used to attack troops marching over the Artemivsk-Debaltseve highway, the site of major fighting in recent weeks.

However, the official military spokesman for the Ukrainian government, Andriy Lysenko, denied that fighter jets had been used in the fighting.

The head of the Luhansk People's Republic, Igor Plotnitsky, said during a news conference on Tuesday that his forces would proceed if Kiev doesn't negotiate.

"If Kiev doesn't want to give up [the territory of the republic] by means of political negotiations, then we will move forward," he said in comments carried by RIA Novosti.

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