SLOVIANSK, Ukraine, June 24 (UPI) -- A Ukrainian military helicopter carrying nine people was shot down Tuesday near Sloviansk on Ukraine's eastern border with Russia, a government spokesman said. The Mi-8 helicopter was brought down with a shoulder-held missile, and all nine aboard are believed to have died, Vladislav Seleznev of the Ukrainian anti-terror operations said, adding those suspected of firing the missile escaped to Bylbasovka, a nearby village.
The incident came days after Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko announced a unilateral cease-fire in the battle against pro-Russian separatists. His overture for peace was approved by Russian President Vladimir Putin, along with several leaders of the anti-government movement who have led unrest in Ukraine's Luhansk and Donetsk provinces.
Poroshenko's cease-fire proposal expires June 27, and includes the closing of the Ukraine-Russia border and constitutional modifications to allow more autonomy to provinces.