Thursday, May 29, 2014

Ukraine army helicopter shot down near Sloviansk

May 29 (BBC News Ukraine) Pro-Russian rebels in eastern Ukraine have shot down a military helicopter near Sloviansk, killing 14 people, the country's outgoing president says. 
President Turchynov said the 14 dead included Maj Gen Serhiy Kulchytskiy, head of combat and special training for Ukraine's National Guard. It is one of the worst losses of life for government forces in the conflict. Last week at least 14 soldiers died in a rebel attack on an army checkpoint near Donetsk, some 130km (80 miles) from Sloviansk. Earlier this month, separatists shot down two army helicopters, also near Sloviansk, killing a pilot and another serviceman. Mr Poroshenko has called the separatists "terrorists" intent on maintaining a "bandit state". After Sunday's election he vowed to tackle them "in hours", not months.

Obituary: Major General Serhiy Kulchytsky

Major General Serhiy Kulchytsky, who led the combat training department in Ukraine's National Guard, was among more than a dozen people killed when pro-Russian separatists shot down a military helicopter near the eastern Ukrainian town of Sloviansk. The attack has been described as one of the worst setbacks for Ukraine's government forces since they began an offensive against the rebels in April. Gen Kulchytsky was appointed head of the military and special training directorate at Ukraine's National Guard after President Viktor Yanukovych was ousted in February 2014. He had been promoted to the rank of major-general by Mr Yanukovych six months earlier.
Born on 17 December 1963 in Weimar, in the former German Democratic Republic (DDR), General Kulchytsky had a military upbringing. His father served with the Soviet forces stationed in the region. He graduated from the Ussuriysk military college in the Soviet Far East in 1981 and went on to train at the Far Eastern Higher Military Command School in the city of Blagoveshchensk, attaining a distinction in 1985. His military career began with the role of marine platoon commander at the Soviet Northern Fleet in the northern Murmansk region.
After Ukraine became an independent state, Gen Kulchytsky moved to the west of the country and became deputy commander of a National Guard battalion in Ternopil in 1992. Moving up the ranks, he became the battalion's commander in 1994. And in 2010 he was appointed deputy commander of the Western Command of the Ukrainian Interior Ministry's troops. Gen Kulchytsky was married with a son. He was travelling with soldiers to a base near Sloviansk when their helicopter was shot down.