Source: Ukrainian military plane with at least 49 aboard shot down

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Ukraine after the election — An elderly woman casts her vote May 25 as a mobile Ukrainian election committee visited Orane, a village north of Kiev. A large separatist rally was held in Donetsk around lunchtime. The protesters chanted pro-Russian slogans as they were addressed by separatist leaders. Ukraine after the election — A man prepares a ballot at a polling station in the eastern Ukrainian town of Dobropillya on May See the crisis in Ukraine before the election.

An Ilyushin military transport plane is shot down near Luhansk More than 30 separatists have been detained in Mariupol, says Interior Ministry official City's residents are no longer blocking Ukrainian security forces, official says 3 Russian tanks cross border, go to Donetsk, he says; Russia denies this claim to BBC.

A Ukrainian military plane with at least 49 passengers was shot down overnight Friday, a source said, making it the latest and likely one of the bloodiest single events in that nation's current period of turmoil. The Ilyushin military transport plane went down while approaching an airport in the eastern Ukrainian city of Luhansk, a source with the Ukrainian Anti-Terror Operation of the Ukrainian military forces told CNN.

It was not immediately clear how many of those aboard died or survived. The incident came hours after Ukraine's Kiev-based government -- which is trying to regain control of the country's restive south and east -- deemed successful an operation targeting pro-Russian separatists in the city of Mariupol. Anton Geraschenko, adviser to acting Ukrainian Interior Minister Arsen Avakov, said more than 30 "terrorists" had been detained and their base destroyed.

Other separatists are hiding in homes and basements for safety, he said. Where unrest has occurred in E. Residents of the southeastern port city may in the past have blocked Ukraine's security forces, he said, but "today, not one resident of Mariupol protected terrorists.

According to the Interior Ministry, the yellow-and-blue Ukrainian flag is flying once again over the main municipal building in Mariupol. The city has changed hands several times in the course of hostilities over the past several months.

A week of bombardment. A week of bombardment Battle for Slovyansk intensifies Crisis in Ukraine Obama warns Russia over Ukraine Meanwhile, three Russian tanks that Avakov claimed had crossed the border into Ukraine on Thursday, prompting a skirmish between Ukrainian and Russian forces, are now in the Donetsk region, Geraschenko said.

He said Ukrainian intelligence indicated that the tanks' drivers were Russian citizens. The Russian Foreign Ministry told the BBC on Thursday that the claim its tanks had crossed the border was "another fake piece of information.

The United States also believes tanks and heavy weapons have crossed into Ukraine from Russia after moving from a deployment site in southwest Russia, a State Department spokeswoman said Friday.

Internet video has shown what we believe to be these same rocket launchers traveling through Luhansk," said Marie Harf. Geraschenko urged the tank drivers to leave their vehicles, warning they would soon be "destroyed from the air. Video posted online appeared to show the tanks in the Donetsk area. CNN was not able independently to verify the footage.

According to Avakov, the tanks crossed the border at a checkpoint controlled by separatists in the Luhansk region of eastern Ukraine. Armored vehicles and artillery were part of the columns, the minister said Thursday, citing Ukrainian intelligence. Two of the tanks split off and were attacked by Ukrainian military forces, Avakov said. Part of that column was destroyed, he said. CNN has not independently confirmed the incidents. Estimated Earnings & Revenue

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