Ukraine forces appear to shoot down a Russian military helicopter
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Vladimir Putin’s military is facing a surprise counter-attack from Ukrainian armed forces, with Russia being pushed out of several previously-seized areas of the country. The defiant fightback was evidenced in a dramatic video today showing Ukrainian forces reportedly shooting down a Russian Mi-28 attack helicopter. Video shared online today shows the helicopter being blasted out of the sky near Holubivka in the Luhansk region of eastern Ukraine.
Luhansk is part of the disputed Donbas region which Russia is understood to have turned its attention to following its failure to take the capital Kyiv.
Prior to the invasion, President Putin announced that he was recognising the independence of the Luhansk region.
The video also marks the first visual combat loss of a Mi-28 type helicopter during the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
The elite helicopter, which NATO nicknamed Havoc, is an “all-weather, day-night, military tandem, two-seat anti-armour attack helicopter,” according to Defence Blog Media.
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The video surfaced when Eastern European media outlet Nexta tweeted: “#Ukrainian Armed Forces shot down a #Russian military helicopter in the Luhansk region using a portable anti-aircraft missile system.”
In the clip, a Russian helicopter can be seen firing rockets at a low altitude over Luhansk.
The helicopter then receives a direct hit from a Man-Portable Air Defense System (MANPAD) missile that blows off its tail and causes it to crash to the ground.
Later footage appears to show the crashed helicopter, with eyewitnesses reporting that the pilot ejected from the aircraft.
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Mike Yeo, from Defense News, tweeted screenshots from the attack, adding: “Missile (MANPADS?) makes an appearance, impacts Mi-28, small fire where fuselage meets tail boom, tail boom breaks up.”
Military experts claim that the Russian military helicopters were deliberately varying their position between high and low altitudes to “remain outside of the MANPADS target range”.
The Ukrainian army has been extensively utilising MANPADS to counter Russia’s dominance in the sky.
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The video is also another sign that Ukraine has shifted its tactics from being defensive against the Russian attack to an attacking strategy.
The strike comes hours after Russia accused Ukraine of sending attack helicopters across the border to strike an oil storage facility in Belgorod.
The Russian governor of the border region said that two Ukrainian Mi-24 helicopters crossed the border at low altitude before firing rockets at the depot.
Such a strike would be the first raid on Russian soil since the outbreak of the war.
However, Ukraine’s Security Council secretary has denied the accusations.
Oleksiy Danilov told national television: “For some reason they say that we did it, but according to our information this does not correspond to reality.”
Also today, Oleksiy Arestovych, a political adviser to Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelensky, praised Ukrainian troops for “chasing” Russian forces “away from Kyiv”.
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