Ukraine Air Force ‘shoots down four Russian helicopters in less than 20 minutes’

Four Russian attack helicopters were shot down by Ukrainian forces in less than 20 minutes yesterday (Wednesday), according to a news release from Ukrainian Air Force

The aircraft, all thought to be high-performance Ka-52 combat helicopters, carry a crew of two.

Unusually for a helicopter, the Ka-52 is fitted with an emergency eject system, but it is unclear whether any of the aircrew managed to bail out of the aircraft.

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The Ukrainian Air Force's press service announced via Telegram: "From 08:40 to 08:58 on October 12, anti-aircraft missile units of the Air Force destroyed at least four enemy attack helicopters (probably Ka-52s), which were providing fire support to the ground occupation forces on the southern front, in the south of Ukraine ”.

“According to preliminary data, one helicopter fell on the territory freed from militants, the rest behind the front line”.

Two other helicopters were fired upon in the same action, the Ukrainian Air Force said, and it’s probable that they were also damaged or disabled.

The news came as both British and American forces confirmed start they would be stepping up deliveries of anti-air resources to the Ukrainian forces.

The UK's Ministry of Defence said it would be supplying AIM-120 AMRAAM missiles, which can be used as air-to-air weapons by Ukrainian fighter planes or loaded into the US National Advanced Surface-to-Air Missile System [NASAMS] – a weapons system that is known to be on its way to Ukraine.

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In a call earlier this week, US President Joe Biden told Zelenskyy that the US was committed to providing Ukraine the support it needs, “including advanced air defence systems”.

An official White House statement didn’t specify which air defence systems the two presidents discussed.

Jens Stoltenberg, the Norwegian-born secretary-general of NATO, said yesterday that the past two weeks had brought “the most serious escalation” in the conflict since it began.

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Mr Stoltenberg added: “We have seen the speculation about the use of low-yield nuclear weapons in Ukraine and we have conveyed clearly to Russia that this will have severe consequences”.

A national security strategy statement from the White House said that Russia was “profoundly dangerous”.

In the statement, US analysts said: “Putin’s Russia poses “an immediate threat to the free and open international system, recklessly flouting the basic laws of the international order today, as its brutal war of aggression against Ukraine has shown”.

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