KIEV, Ukraine, July 16 (UPI) -- Ukraine's Armed Forces have resumed flights related to the military's anti-terrorist operation in eastern Ukraine, the National Security and Defense Council announced Wednesday.
According to spokesman Andriy Lysenko, anti-terrorism flights had resumed days after a military transport aircraft was shot down near Luhansk. Defense Minister Valery Heletey blamed Russia for the July 14 incident.
"After the An-26 was shot down, a search and rescue operation was called, and flights by Ukrainian forces were suspended. Although the search operation is continuing," Lysenko told reporters, "flights have been permitted, and they are already supporting our ground forces precisely in the areas where the most bitter clashes are taking place."
Gen. Mykhaylo Koval, deputy secretary of Ukraine's National Security and Defense Council, said in a recent television interview that "Ukraine, as never before, is on the threshold of large-scale aggression by our northern neighbor."
The military's anti-terror operation is part of Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko's military strategy, which he revealed on July 1, to respond to the pro-Russian armed separatist unrest in Ukraine's eastern region.