Ukraine’s Security Council says two Ukrainian jets shot down in the eastern portion of the country Wednesday may have been brought down by missiles fired from Russia.
The Sukhoi-25 fighters were shot down at 1:30 p.m. local time Wednesday over an area called Savur Mogila, about 20 miles south of the site of the Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 wreckage.
Defense Ministry spokesman Oleksiy Dmitrashkovsky said the planes may have been carrying up to two crew members each.
The pilots ejected from the planes but it is not known if they survived, Fox News confirms. A search party is out looking for them.
The separatist group Donetsk People's Republic said in a statement on its website that one of the pilots was killed and another was being sought by rebel fighters.
The planes were shot out of the sky at an altitude of around 17,000 feet. Ukraine's Security Council said, according to preliminary information, that the missiles were launched from Russia, Reuters reports.
Separatist fighters have claimed responsibility for shooting down the jets but the council’s spokesman was skeptical if they had the weaponry to do so.
"They were shot down very professionally. The terrorists do not have such professionals," said Andriy Lysenko, according to Reuters.
A message posted on a social media page associated with a rebel leader said the jets were shot down by rebels using MANPAD shoulder-fired, surface to-air missiles, The Wall Street Journal reports.
Video posted on a social media page appeared to show planes burning in grassy fields.
Meanwhile, in fighting on the ground Wednesday, rebel leader Pavel Gubarev wrote on his Facebook page that 30 rebels were injured and his men retreated Wednesday from the villages of Chervona Zorya and Kozhevnya, on the Russian border about 30 miles from the scene of the Malaysia Airlines crash.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.