Russia's President Vladimir Putin speaks with journalists in Itamaraty Palace in Brazilia on July 17. / AFP
A Russian military plane shot down a Ukrainian jet fighter over Ukrainian territory, forcing the pilot to eject, the Ukrainian National Security and Defense Council spokesman said Thursday.
Andriy Lysenko told reporters the "provocation" occurred Wednesday evening. He said the pilot of the Su-25 assault aircraft was not injured and was rescued by Ukrainian military units.
"A military plane of the Russian Armed Forces launched a missile strike against a Su-25 aircraft of the Ukrainian Armed Forces, which performed tasks on Ukrainian territory," Lysenko said, according to the Ukrinform news agency. "Our plane was shot down."
The latest reported skirmish came as Russia hit back at the United States on Thursday following the imposition of a new round of sanctions for its actions in Ukraine.
In televised comments, Russian President Vladimir Putin - who is currently in South America - said the sanctions will ultimately backfire against American companies working in Russia and that they are "driving into a corner" relations between the two nations.
Responding to questions by journalists in Brazil on what retaliatory measures he may take, Putin said late Wednesday that "we will need to look into it calmly, without any commotion."
He also said that "unfortunately, those who plan foreign policy actions in the United States (this is not a recent observation but one pertaining to the last 10-15 years) are conducting an aggressive foreign policy and, in my view, a rather unprofessional one, because whatever they do, there are problems everywhere."
Putin added: "Just look: there are problems in Afghanistan; Iraq is falling apart; Libya is falling apart. If General el-Sisi had not taken control in Egypt, Egypt would probably be in turmoil now as well. In Africa, there are problems in many countries. They touched Ukraine, and there are problems there as well."
Separately Thursday, Russia's foreign ministry described the fresh sanctions - which target Russia's largest oil company, Rosneft, among others - as "bullying" and a "primitive attempt to avenge events in Ukraine that do not follow a script developed by Washington."
President Obama said Wednesday that the sanctions were "significant but also targeted" and designed to minimize "spillover effects" on U.S. businesses.
"We have to see concrete actions and not just words that Russia is committed to trying to end this conflict along the Russia- Ukraine border," Obama said.
Kim Hjelmgaard is USA TODAY's deputy world editor, based in London. Follow him on Twitter@khjelmgaard
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