Morning Mika had to pivot to real news for a few minutes this morning, when the AP confirmed reports that two fighter jets were shot down in the Eastern Ukraine Wednesday morning.
If two fighter jets are indeed confirmed to be downed by Ground-to-air missiles, days following the tragic shoot down of Malaysian Air Fight 17 last week and hundreds of civilian deaths, the pressure on Putin mounts immeasurably with this latest violence on the ground.
This is a notable escalation.
From Reuters by way of the UK Globe and Mail, earliest reports on the latest violence were reported at about 7:30 a.m. EST.
Pro-Russian rebels have shot down two Ukrainian fighter jets, a spokesman for Ukraine’s military operations said on Wednesday.
The spokesman said the two were downed near Savur Mogila in eastern Ukraine. No details were known about the pilots.
The move comes less than a week after the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, which Ukraine and Western nations are blaming on pro-Russian rebels. Senior U.S. intelligence officials said Tuesday that Russia was responsible for “creating the conditions” that led to the crash, but they offered no evidence of direct Russian government involvement.
Early reports also say that two crew members were aboard each fighter jet. For more details on the ground game of the past few days, Reuters went on to describe separatist activity and more rebel goals.
Residents said the rebels, who rose up in April demanding independence from Kiev in the mainly Russian-speaking east, had dug trenches in downtown Donetsk outside the main university, where they have been living in student dormitories.
Ukrainian government forces have pushed the armed rebels back to their two main strongholds, in Donetsk and nearby Lugansk, taking back control of villages and suburbs around them.Heavy fighting raged in the Lugansk region for a second day on Wednesday, said officials in Kiev and the rebels.
The discussion turned quickly to the European rift that exists because of their energy-dependency on Russia, Putin's bent on what appears to be more isolationist policy and the need for the West and President Obama to implement sanctions that have result.
Follow updates here at MSNBC throughout the day. They had done some reporting about a center near the Ukraine border getting a notable increase in activity that may prove that Putin continued to fund and support the rebels following the downing of MH17.