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  • Ukraine

    Information from the Ukraine is, as one might expect, sketchy at present but multiple sources report the downing of a third Ukrainian helicopter:

    Pro-Russians shoot down two helicopters as 'Kiev forces begin Slavyansk assault'

    Ukrainian government forces have launched an anti-terror operation to retake the rebel stronghold of Slavyansk, with one pilot reported dead and another captured after separatists used grenade launchers against military helicopters surrounding the city.

    Gunfire and blasts were heard early this morning around the eastern city in Ukraine that has become the focus of an armed pro-Russian insurgency, whose leaders claimed that government troops had began a military assault in an attempt to retake control.

    Interior Minister Arsen Avakov said the offensive was answered with heavy artillery, with the rebels using grenade and portable anti-aircraft missile launchers to bring down planes.

    Vyacheslav Ponomarev, the insurgency-appointed mayor of Slavyansk, said self-defence forces had shot down two helicopters, killing one pilot and capturing the other. Details of these claims could not be independently verified.​

  • #2
    Ukraine Ministry of Defence Confirm Helicopter Losses

    The Ukrainian defence ministry has confirmed in a statement that two Mi-24 helicopter gunships have been shot down by shoulder-launched anti-aircraft missiles while on patrol overnight around Slaviansk, a city that rebels have turned into a heavily-fortified stronghold.

    Two airmen were killed and others wounded. The attack helicopter normally has two crew but can carry more.

    Ukraine Army Mi-24P

    Other Ukrainian officials and the separatist leader in Slaviansk had said earlier that one airman was taken prisoner.

    A third helicopter, an Mi-8 transport aircraft, was also hit and a serviceman wounded, the defence ministry said. The state's SBU security service said this helicopter was carrying medics.

    Ukrainian officials said troops overran rebel checkpoints around the city in an operation launched before dawn and it was now "tightly encircled".

    They pointed to the heavy fire that hit the helicopters as proof of the presence of Russian forces, despite repeated denials from Moscow that it has troops on the ground or is controlling the uprising.​


    • #3
      Additional Mi-24 Shot Down in the Ukraine

      A further military helicopter has been shot down near the pro-Russian rebel-controlled town of Slaviansk in the eastern Ukraine today bringing to four the total number of helicopters downed by Russian forces in as many days.

      The helicopter, an Mi-24, came under heavy machine gun fire and then crashed into a river according to Ukraine's Ministry of Defence. The ministry further stated that the crew (who survived) were evacuated to a nearby camp but did provide any details of their condition.


      • #4
        Ukrainian Air Force Mi-24 on patrol this morning:


        • #5
          UN Voices Concerns Over Mi-24 Markings

          The UN has voiced concerns over the apparent use of UN-marked helicopters by Kiev troops in their military operation against Donetsk regional militia. A video of a white-painted Mil Mi-24 strike helicopter with UN logo has emerged.

          When inquired about the United Nations' stance on the use of peacekeeper-marked military hardware in non-peacekeeper operations, the office for UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon's spokesperson said such use would violate UN rules.

          "It is the responsibility of Troop Contributing Countries (TCCs) that provide Contingent Owned Equipment to peacekeeping missions to remove all logos and signage bearing the UN's name once such equipment has been repatriated to the home country or is no longer being used for official UN purposes," the office told RT.

          It added that UN-marked aircraft can be used for missions tasked by the UN and that UN's Departments of Peacekeeping Operations and Field Support is in contact with the Ukrainian authorities to clarify the issue.

          A video of a UN-marked Mil Mi-24 strike helicopter was published on Tuesday by LifeNews television. It said its correspondents covering Kiev's military operation in the Donetsk Region took the video near Kramatorsk. LifeNews said at least three combat Mi-24 and one transport Mi-8 helicopters carrying UN colors were spotted in the area.



          • #6
            UN Helicopter Marking 'Incident' a Russian Ploy to Discredit Kiev

            Russian media have been using images of Ukrainian peacekeeping helicopters in operations which took place two years ago in the Congo, in Africa, and not in Donbas.

            The false propaganda seems to have been part of a Russia slur campaign aimed at discrediting Ukrainian defence operations.

            A Ukrainian Defence spokesman sad: "Russia have accused us of using helicopters painted with United Nations markings. These allegations are completely untrue and the footage being showed in Russian State television is showing our involvement in the Congo from 2012. This is just one of the many examples of Russia's deceitfulness. They are bullies who simply wish to take whatever they want when they want it and if anyone attempts to resist them, then they do anything to attack and discredit that opponent. We are dealing with a new dictator in Moscow, one who will do anything to get what he wants." – said the statement.


            • #7
              Ukrainian Air Strikes Launched Against Donetsk Airport

              Ukrainian government forces have launched an air strike on pro-Russian rebels and sent in paratroopers today after the separatists seized Donetsk airport amidst violent scenes.

              Government jets and an Mi-24 attack helicopter struck against the militants, who arrived at the airport in the eastern city and then demanded the withdrawal of government patrols.

              A Ukrainian Air Force Mi-24 made an air strike against pro-Russian separatists who captured Donetsk Airport

              The air strikes appeared to be the most visible offensive by the Ukraine since they began a crackdown on insurgents last month



              • #8
                Ukraine Army Helicopter Shot Down Near Sloviansk

                Pro-Russian rebels in eastern Ukraine have shot down a military helicopter near Sloviansk, killing 14 people, the country's outgoing president says.

                Olexander Turchynov said the rebels used a Russian-made anti-aircraft system, and an army general was among the dead.

                The town of Sloviansk has seen fierce fighting between separatists and government forces in recent weeks.

                President-elect Petro Poroshenko has vowed to tackle "bandits" in the east.

                Meanwhile, Russia has reiterated calls for Ukraine to stop its military campaign against the pro-Moscow rebels and "start a real national dialogue".

                In a statement, the Russian foreign ministry also urged the United States and European Union "to use all their influence on Kiev to stop Ukraine's slide into national catastrophe".



                • #9
                  Ukrainian Forces Kill Rebels Behind Helicopter Attack

                  Ukrainian military forces Thursday killed the armed activists responsible for the deaths of Ukrainian soldiers in a military helicopter crash near the eastern town of Slavyansk, the National Guard Force said.

                  "In response to the actions of terrorists, the forces of the anti-terror operation made artillery and air bombardments, which resulted in liquidation of a group of criminals involved in shooting at the helicopter," Xinhua quoted the National Guard as saying in a statement.

                  Earlier in the day, a Ukrainian military helicopter, which was carrying soldiers for troop rotation, was shot down by rebels.

                  Ukrainian acting President Alexandr Turchynov said 14 troopers, including an army general Sergei Kulchitskii, the head of combat and special training for the National Guard, were killed in the attack.

                  Later, the National Guard press service said 12 Ukrainian soldiers died and one serviceman was seriously injured in the incident.

                  According to the BBC, the militants said Thursday's attack was in response to the deaths of 100 rebels when the army Monday tried to seize the Donetsk airport from them.

                  The rebels Monday abducted four Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) monitors in Sloviansk.

                  But the self-proclaimed leader of Sloviansk, Vyacheslav Ponomaryov, announced Thursday that the four were safe and could be released soon.


                  • #10
                    Ukraine Launches Major Offensive with Helicopter Gunships Against Rebels in Eastern City of Slavyansk

                    Ukrainian troops on Tuesday launched an offensive against pro-Russian insurgents in the eastern city of Slavyansk and advanced through the city’s outskirts, the nation’s interior minister said.

                    Arsen Avakov said that government troops broke through rebel positions around the village of Semenovka on the eastern fringe of Slavyansk. “An active offensive stage of the counterterrorist operation is underway in Slavyansk,” he wrote on his Facebook page.

                    Local residents said that several Ukrainian combat jets and helicopter gunships attacked rebel positions on the eastern outskirts of Slavyansk, and heavy artillery barrages have continued throughout the day.

                    An AP journalist heard sustained gun and artillery fire and saw plumes of black smoke rising over the city. Ukrainian combat jets could be seen flying over the city.

                    ​Russian helicopter gunships similar to those deployed by Ukrainian government forces

                    Avakov warned residents in Slavyansk and the nearby cities of Kramatorsk and Krasny Liman to stay at home.

                    A Ukrainian military officer, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he wasn’t authorized to speak to the media, said one serviceman was killed and 13 others were wounded when their vehicle came under rebel fire near Slavyansk.

                    The Interfax news agency quoted Vyacheslav Ponomarev, the leader of insurgents in Slavyansk, as saying that his men downed a Ukrainian jet and a helicopter gunship. The information, which was denied by the Ukrainian military, couldn’t be independently confirmed.

                    Ukrainian authorities have repeatedly announced an escalation in armed operations, only to eventually back down.

                    Government forces have in recent days been noticeably reinforced to the north of Slavyansk, however, and deployment of air power over the past week has signalled increased determination.

                    Slavyansk, which sits on a strategic highway, has seen daily fighting between government forces and the rebels, who have seized government buildings and set up checkpoints around the eastern provinces of Donetsk and Luhansk that form Ukraine’s industrial heartland.

                    The fighting has escalated following the May 25 presidential election won by billionaire candy magnate Petro Poroshenko, with rebels launching an attack on Donetsk airport and shooting down a government helicopter over Slavyansk.

                    On Monday, hundreds of rebels armed with automatic weapons and rocket-propelled grenades mounted a daylong siege of a border guards base on the outskirts of Luhansk that co-ordinates the protection of Ukraine’s border with Russia. Border guards said they killed at least five rebels in repelling the attack.

                    Rebels in Luhansk said that eight people were killed and another 28 were wounded Monday when a Ukrainian jet fired rockets at the regional administration building that the insurgents had turned into their headquarters.

                    The Ukrainian military denied launching the attack and said that the building was hit by a rebel rocket that misfired, but an observer mission of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe said Tuesday that the building was hit by an air raid.

                    Ukraine’s acting chief prosecutor, Oleh Makhnitskiy, said Tuesday that 181 people, including 59 Ukrainian servicemen, have been killed in fighting in eastern Ukraine and another 293 have been wounded. With the insurgents controlling several cities in the east, the death toll released by Makhnitskyi is likely to be incomplete.


                    • #11
                      Mi-8 Down: Ukraine

                      Ukrainian media sources have reported the crash of an Mi-8 helicopter which was involved in a troop re-supply flight in the Chuguevsky district of the Kharkov region of eastern Ukraine. The three persons on board the helicopter were killed.

                      Ukraine Mi-8

                      The helicopter apparently crash after dropping-off its cargo.

                      It is unclear at this stage as to whether the helicopter was shot down or whether it suffered a mechanical fault.


                      • #12
                        Second Mi-8 Down in Ukraine

                        A second Mi-8 helicopter has been downed in the Ukraine just two days after an Mi-8 crashed in the Chuguevsky district of the Kharkov region of eastern Ukraine killing three.

                        Nine Ukrainian servicemen were killed on Tuesday 24th June when pro-Russian insurgents shot down a Ukrainian Mi-8 helicopter in the separatist east just a day after a top militia leader ordered a temporary ceasefire.

                        A Ukrainian Mi-8 helicopter has been shot down today killing all on board

                        "There were nine people on board the helicopter. According to preliminary information... everyone on board died," said Ukrainian defence spokesman Vladyslav Seleznyov.

                        The news comes a day after Pro-Russian rebels announced a ceasefire with Kiev following talks with Russian officials, several Ukrainian figures, and the OSCE.
                        Mr Poroshenko had ordered security forces to observe their own ceasefire last Friday, as part of a 15-point peace plan.

                        Observers hope the truce, which expires on Friday, will create space for further talks to end over two months of fighting in the east of the country.




                        • #13
                          Russian Mi24's Attack Ukrainian Border Killing Four and Injuring Three

                          Ukrainian military spokesman Andriy Lysenko said on Tuesday that Russian Mi-24 helicopters had attacked a border post in Luhansk region the previous day, killing four border guards.

                          Russian Mi-24's have killed four people during an attack on a Ukrainian border post

                          "Yesterday, during the day, at the border post of Krasnatalovka, Russian Mi-24 helicopters attacked Ukrainian border guards. As a result of the attack, four guards were killed and three were injured," Lysenko told Reuters.